Interview: Sober Influencer Austin Cooper of Sober EvolutionNovember 5, 2018 Life in Recovery
Have you ever noticed the lack of male sober influencers? I have. So I did some digging.
“Drinking per se and high-volume drinking were consistently more prevalent among men than among women, but lifetime abstention from alcohol was consistently more prevalent among women. Among respondents who had ever been drinkers, women in all age groups were consistently more likely to have stopped drinking than men were.”1
Interesting, right? Men drink more than women but women are more likely to stay sober. They also tend to be more outspoken about their sobriety or recovery overall – especially on social media.
I couldn’t shake this idea off so I reached out to sober influencer Austin Cooper, to ask him what he thought about all this. We also talked about his story as a sober dude and how he made the decision to be outspoken about his own recovery.
Lindsey (LW): Have you noticed a parallel between men sharing in closed-door meetings (AA, NA, or other support groups) versus sharing in the social sphere?
Austin (AC): When I took part in the 12 step program, very few of the men I became friends with shared about their sobriety on social media. From my knowledge, they were open about their addictions to close family and friends, but it was rarely on their agenda to become social media influencers regarding recovery. Today, the male influencers that I know of who utilize closed-door meetings typically work for treatment programs so I guess you can say that’s the parallel I see.
LW: Why aren’t there more male sober influencers?
AC: In my experience, it was challenging for me to decide to become open about my going to rehab and addictions. The reason it was so difficult, is because it was ingrained in me that men don’t ask for help or openly talk about their problems either because of how I viewed society or how I was raised, or both. I guess that the same mindset is what keeps more males from becoming influencers regarding addiction and recovery.
LW: Who are your favorite sober influencers right now?
LW: Why do you think men are generally quieter about sobriety and recovery and what are the implications of that?
AC: I remember growing up and seeing men never ask for things as simple as directions when they were lost. I always saw female figures in my life be willing to ask for help whenever they needed it. I guess that made an impact on my life and told me that men don’t ask for help. It’s a sort of false masculinity concept that I can only explain from what we see in society. I believe that’s the reason why men don’t want to stand out as people who ask for help. Same goes for men talking about their problems openly.
LW: As a sober man – what moves and inspires you?
AC: What inspires me most, is seeing people set goals and accomplish them. I used to be a very jealous person until I realized that supporting others motivated me to do the same. Seeing others achieve something way bigger than themselves, shows me that I too can accomplish things that seem impossible. The fact is that we become the person capable of accomplishing anything during the pursuit of achieving our goals.
LW: How has an openness about recovery helped you in your journey?
AC: Absolutely! When I [went] all in and became open about my sobriety, it was like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I was always a shy and reserved person because of my low self-esteem. I cared too much about what other people thought which is what held me back most in life. When I decided to become open, I also decided to not care about different peoples opinions. It allowed me to learn to love myself fully. It also showed me that my fears were only a figment of my imagination. Not only did it help me in those regards, but it helped me find true friendship. The icing on the cake with that was I realized how much my story was assisting others to break free from [whatever was] holding them back. Seeing other people decide to make changes in their own lives after seeing my story felt incredible.