Name: Jesse Hawkins
Location: Louisville, KY
Recovery date (turning point for substance use and/or mental health challenges): 4/16/2014
Creative niche: Entrepreneurship
If applicable to your story, drug of choice: Alcohol
Recovery story in a nutshell:
After years of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, I made the personal choice to become a non-drinker at the age of 25.
I can remember having my first drink as a young child, a warm beer at a Fourth of a July party. By the time I was a teenager, I became a weekend blackout [drinker]. As a child, there were certain events that drastically changed my outlook on life. I found myself escaping, deflecting, lying. By the time I left for college I was already a full-blown alcoholic.
After years of being lost, chaos, giving up on the life I wanted to live, legal issues, loss of friends, I woke up on a cold jail cell on 4.16.14, it was my third DUI. I was broken, tired, had no other choice but to ask for help.
Three years to the date of my last drink, after regaining back so much that I had lost, I walked away from the life I had recreated to start the Sober Voyager & The Mocktail Project. On my sobriety anniversary of 4-16-17, I sold my home, cashed out my retirement, purchased a van and started traveling all over the seeking out adventures I never thought was possible prior to my last drink. I wanted to show myself and others that you can go out and do anything and everything you want in life without a drink in your hand if you're in active recovery.
Almost two years into my adventure, and nearing five years since my last drink, I am still growing The Mocktail Project full time. A grassroots movement started to create a safer, more inclusive drinking culture. My goal is to ensure that one day, all social environments provides access to high-quality, non-alcoholic options on their beverage menus. To help normalize where a recovering, sober individual can socialize, and not feel uncomfortable with the drink they prefer in their hand. Through The Mocktail Project, I am able to provide and give back to the community that helped me regain back the life I want to live. As a non-profit, at each event we host, the money raised through our foundation goes directly back towards providing recovery tools & resources in local communities.