Austin is what I would describe as a trailblazer in our world. He's got the whole recovery brand thing figured out, but he manages to stay grounded (while looking like a GQ model - seriously...ha). This guy built The Sober Evolution empire, basically, from scrappy beginnings. He doesn't forget his roots and always wants to stay available to help someone who's suffering. Honored to be part of the same community of recovery pioneers.
And to top it off, his girlfriend Lara is a dear friend of mine <3. Get it, boo!
Name: Austin Cooper
Location: Orlando, FL
Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 4/10/2013
Creative Niche: Entrepreneurship
If applicable, drug of choice:
Alcohol & anything I could get my hands on (cocaine, marijuana, ex, hallucinogens, opiates)
Recovery Story in a Nutshell:
I started drinking when I was 15 years old. I was shy at the time and alcohol seemed to be the magical substance that could bring me out of my comfort zone and turn me into the life of the party. Soon after I tried smoking marijuana and was fascinated by the different sensations I would get between alcohol and weed. I knew then that I would experiment with other drugs to feel new highs and lows.
I immediately began prioritizing my life around partying and left everything else behind such as grades and friendships. I dropped out of college twice and could barely make it to work as I fell deeper into the pits of addiction. I became extremely depressed and anxious and used drugs & alcohol to cover the pain. It was no longer about going out and having fun. Instead it was about forgetting my responsibilities in life. I grew resentments towards others and against myself. I was to the point where I no longer wanted to live.
By the grace of my higher power, I saw an old friend of mine be open about getting help for his own addictions. I saw someone who I felt at the time was worse off than me, get help and build his life to where he fully enjoyed living. It sparked something inside of me that would later become a tool that saved my life. On April 10th, 2013 I walked right into an intervention. I immediately looked back to my old friend who built his life from the ground up and realized that this intervention was the door of opportunity for myself. I went to treatment for 22 days in Gahanna, Ohio. I was scared about all of the changes I would have to make, but I was also excited to see what I could make of myself.
I submitted my ego, I listened closely to the tools and the wisdom around me and I applied everything I could to build my life. After treatment, I worked hard to get my life on track. I decided that I wasn't going to go back to school for my degree, but that I would figure out ways of working for myself. I ended up getting my real estate license which was by far the biggest accomplishment I could have imagined at that time. I eventually started a marketing company with incredible entrepreneur mentors. I began reading personal development books which boosted my life forward.
In 2016, I started Sober Evolution on Instagram as a way to reflect on the pieces of wisdom and knowledge I had learned throughout my sobriety. Before I knew it, Sober Evolution was an international movement of positivity and growth. I have been growing it ever since which has opened my life up to even more incredible possibilities. This past January, I started a business with 3 other people called Priority Lab Services which helps substance abuse treatment centers, detoxes and sober living homes get the best drug testing services in the United States. None of this would be possible without my sobriety and none of this would be possible without all of the support and recovery communities around the world. And now I get to write this out for Laura with the Sobriety Collective [Editor's note: hey, that's me!] which is truly an honor. When we focus on ourselves, the more we are able to give back to this world as funny as that sounds.
Thank you for spreading the message!
Top 5 Recovery Tools
1) Personal Development Books
(The Slight Edge, The Four Agreements, Think & Grow Rich, How to be F#cking Awesome, The Magic of Thinking Big)
5) Health & Fitness