In the digital age, “influencers” have become a hot commodity. You’ll see them on social media outlets like Instagram and YouTube; broadcasting messages to a large and dedicated audience. Now, it appears, influencers are emerging within the recovery space, using their massive followings to spread the word about sobriety and clean living.
The website Vox recently did an expose on the “Sober Influencer” movement, touching on some of the key players across the web. Austin Cooper is one such figure they chose to highlight. His Sober Evolution handles have now earned over 50,000 followers with positive messages and creative videos that embrace recovery. Cooper even organizes and promotes events with his channels, as referenced below…
Cooper actually spoke with Vox about his growing presence and the new virality surrounding the term “sober.”
“I think ‘cool’ is a good word,” Cooper told the site. “It’s almost rebellious in a sense because of how glorified alcohol and drugs have been for so long.”
Jennifer Gimenez is another prominent “Sober Influencer” featured in the article. A previous reality TV star, she now regularly shares the #SoberLife and #SoberIsSexy hashtags. Gimenez also uses her Instagram channel to tout her recovery milestones (all of which get thousands of “Likes”).
Interestingly enough, many of these influencers are turning their recovery advocacy into a business. It is not uncommon for celebs in this set to sell sober-branded merchandise through their social media networks. They can also use it as a way to book speaking engagements.
While most in the recovery community praise the actions of these influencers, professionals do continue to emphasize the benefits of proper treatment. Of course it is good to find online support from people you follow, but it is just as important to take action if you think you may have a problem.
“You really need to go through a recovery program with a trained professional, and it’s certainly best one-on-one,” psychologist and trauma specialist Dr. Nancy Irwin told Vox. “It’s impossible for these sober coaches and influencers to do their jobs remotely; that relationship has to develop in person.”
We too agree with that sentiment. Finding support through influencers is a fantastic thing, but it can certainly not halt a serious addiction. If there is still work to be done, please reach out to those who can help.