Hello and welcome to Sober Evolution!
My Name is Austin Cooper and I created Sober Evolution back in 2016.
I started it on Instagram as a means of writing out the various aspects of my recovery so that I could reflect back on them when I needed to.
Lo and behold, other people from around the world began finding a common bond between their own lives and the things I was talking about. Soon after, Sober Evolution became more of a community.
Today, Sober Evolution has transformed into many different things including a blog page as well as a resource page.
My favorite thing about creating such a community, is getting to make new friend and to see others overcome obstacles in their own lives. If SE has changed just one life for the better, then it was well worth putting it together.
If you have a story you would like to share on my blog, please contact me here.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Sober Evolution and myself throughout this journey!
Austin Cooper's Bio
I am Austin Cooper and I am the creator of Sober Evolution. I have been in recovery from alcohol and other mind altering substances since April 10th, 2013.
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio with an amazing family and a large group of friends. Life at one time seemed to be going flawlessly, other than a few broken bones, concussions and various other common childhood norms. I continued through my elementary days one day at a time without worry or concern.
Around middle school age, I went through a period of time where I was picked on. This took me from being an overly confident kid, to someone with low self esteem.
For some reason or another, this made me feel ashamed. My large group of friends turned small and suddenly I had issues with socializing. I stayed mostly to myself and my core group of friends for years after that.
One of the things I started noticing was that my friends began dating. My anxiety went through the roof, wondering if I would ever be able to muster up the courage to ask a girl out myself.
When the age of 15 rolled around, the next life changing experience gave me every bit of that courage I prayed for, but it would ultimately lead to my demise.
I got my first buzz from alcohol.
This is when my self esteem rose and my inhibitions dwindled. I fell in love with alcohol from that very first moment.
Suddenly, I knew that alcohol was my ticket towards socializing once and for all.
Partying became my main priority after that. My group of friends started to grow exactly how I wanted it to. I had no fear when it came to talking with girls. I began dating and becoming "cool"! I thought I was in heaven each time I drank.
As much as I loved the alcohol, everything else in my life fell to the wayside. All of the things that once seemed so important: school, family, sports, the activities that I was involved in, they all shot down to the bottom of my priority list.
I managed to get through high school unscathed for the most part, but as soon as college hit, I felt free from responsibility and nearly every day became a party. I was trying new drugs, wrecking cars, failing classes, ruining friendships, nearly getting arrested time after time after time.
I remember getting cheated on and that’s where I started self-medicating. After a four year relationship, I found out that my girlfriend had been cheating on me with my best friend for the two previous years. I was crushed and resentful to say the least. I began drinking heavily to forget about that, but it ultimately lead to deep depression and heightened anxiety. I started isolating and feeling bad for myself day in and day out. I couldn’t afford my bills because I was spending everything on alcohol and various drugs. I ended up moving back into my parent’s house at the age of 23 with my tail between my legs. I eventually became a stranger living in their house. I would avoid them at all costs because I feared their confrontation.
My thoughts became so deep that I began to contemplate suicide. I hated my life at that point. I only prayed to God out of anger for giving me such a terrible life. I was a complete victim, or so I felt.
My parents weren’t sure what to do for the longest time. Each time they would try to confront me about my alcohol use, I would become enraged in order to defend myself. Then I would go and drink more.
Around that time, I had seen an old friend of mine who happened to be my drug dealer at one point, post about going to rehab on Facebook. I had never witnessed anyone become that vulnerable and courageous before. I followed him for months seeing an incredible amount of progress in his life. He started accomplishing some of the same goals that I once had. I wondered to myself, if I too were to cut out drugs and alcohol, could I also start accomplishing my goals? Although this wasn’t enough for me to spontaneously decide to go to treatment, it sparked something in the back of my mind which ended up leading to me going.
Not long after that, at 25 years of age, I was at work one day and my boss asked me to go to a work meeting with him. I agreed to do so, but was surprised because I hadn’t been to a meeting with him for years. I was also a terrible employee, so I was a bit confused as to why he would ask me to come with him. We drove to an unfamiliar building and walked up to a door. A woman answered and asked if my name was Austin. My red flags were through the roof thinking I was being sued for wasting company resources, but I kindly said yes and walked with her. She took me to another door and I will never forget what happened next.
As the door opened, it seemed as if everything was moving in slow motion. I looked up and saw my mother sitting there. As it opened more, I could see my entire family. I knew something was either incredibly wrong, or I was in an intervention. My life flashed before my eyes. I don’t know how I was able to think so quickly as the door still hadn’t opened all the way, but I thought to myself, “If this is an intervention, this is my chance to gain back my life. Let’s do this!” and I also told myself in that moment that if I didn’t go through with it, I would be throwing my life away.
My family came up and gave me a hug with tears in their eyes. The interventionist told me to sit down and explained to me that this in fact was an intervention. One of the first things I said was, “Ok, I’ll go”. I knew that if I thought about the changes that would have to occur in my life, that I would talk myself out of going to treatment. So, I spoke up to solidify the decision before I second guessed myself.
I listened to my family’s heartbreaking letters they had written for me. It was especially tough to hear my sisters. I wasn’t a brother worth looking up to anymore. Everything she said was true as hard as it was to admit.
The next step was treatment. I spent 22 days in a facility in Columbus. It was by no means the best, but this was my time to focus on myself and grow for once. After getting over the withdrawal period, I was ready to take note and learn how to live life without drugs or alcohol. I literally had a pen and notepad with me everywhere I went.
People would come in and speak who had years of sobriety, but more than that, they had patched up their lives and had become successful. Seeing people living these exciting lives in recovery gave me hope and inspiration. I wanted to know how they accomplished their goals more than anything.
As soon as I left treatment, I started doing yard work to make an income. It had been a goal of mine to get my real estate license and work for myself since high school. My next step was enrolling in the three weeklong, 10 hour a day classes to get my real estate certificates. I figured that if I could have the courage to go to treatment and fix my life, I could also go out and accomplish that huge dream of mine.
Before I knew it, I had my certificates and was ready to take the difficult national and state exams in order to get my license.
I failed at both of them my first time around. My old self would have beat myself up over it and would have given up. But this was an entirely new life. I was persistent and before long passed both with flying colors! I was officially a realtor!
Now I could have been complacent with that, but I honestly wondered to myself what else I could accomplish in life.
The next year I decided to get into the best physical shape of my life and win a legitimate athletic trophy. I used my own experiences of sobriety and accomplishing previous goals to push me hard that year. I accomplished both of those things I set out to do.
Not long after that, people were taking notice. Individuals would reach out to me in order to help them in their own recovery. I simply would tell my story and figure out how to relate it to their current circumstance. I was able to witness many people from all walks of life switch things around in their own lives. Through that, I found out something that I was really good at and thoroughly enjoyed doing. I started working hard on my own personal development by reading, being life coached and practicing which later led me becoming a coach myself.
In the year 2016, I decided that I would create something that would help me be able to reflect back upon. I started an Instagram account and called it “Sober Evolution”. The name made sense to me. I began posting my story along with quotes that had changed my perspective on life throughout my recovery.
Sober Evolution exploded on Instagram. People from around the world were reaching out to me in gratitude or for help. National news programs began reaching out, celebrities, business owners, etc. I knew in that moment that I would be making Sober Evolution my career.
I created my first LLC that spring and started selling shirts to help others live loud and proud about their recovery. The feedback I received was amazing!
Not long after that, I decided to do something way outside of my comfort zone. I decided to move out of state to Florida. My entire family for generations lived in one place for the most part. I would be the first to venture out. It was terrifying but it had always been another dream of mine to live where I could drive to the beach when I wanted to and wear shorts and sandals year round. Three months after making that decision and after budgeting my entire life, I made it happen. I first came to Orlando and began networking right away in order to find a business to get involved in while figuring out how to make a living helping people in recovery.
I started working with a tech startup company as their Director of Business Development. I later began working with different treatment centers to help with marketing and business development.
Since then, I have helped create multiple recovery events here in Florida which brought people down from around the country to have some fun in recovery.
Today, I help with digital marketing for various healthcare providers. I am in the process of creating an app that can help people from around the world, day in and day out.
Life is completely different today that I ever could have imagined it as being back in 2013.
I know my short story may seem as if everything has been smooth sailing, but honestly, I have experienced so many failures and hardships along the way. But the most vital piece of information I have learned throughout this journey, is that failures teach us the most. This inspired me to push my boundaries and to take risks. With that said, another key piece in my recovery has been learning that recovery isn’t pass or fail, it is life or death. Recovery is the one thing I can’t fail at. Goal and dreams however inevitably will have their failures along the way. With that understanding, I can’t wait to fail next and see what I learn.
- Austin F. Cooper
"I reached out to Austin in early 2015, after I saw a sobriety post on a social media site. Doing that completely changed my life. Austin encouraged me to seek help for my problem, since then I have been clean. Words cannot explain what this man has done for me, he's a true friend, even though we live on opposite sides of the planet, he's inspired me more than anyone has ever and I know he's inspires so many more each and everyday."
"Austin is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. His vulnerability and positive attitude pushes me to continue to be a better person. Austin uses his past to make him better and is a role model to the recovery community in so many ways."
Liz Bruno, CEO of Soul Stamps
"Sober Evolution is one of the main reasons I am sober today. You clearly proved to me anything is possible. Honestly without your guidance l don't know if i would be sober today. Thank you!"