Jesse Hawkins, the Sober Voyager, founder of A.D.R and the S.V. Foundation

I was once a lost 25-year old individual who did not understand there was hope to live the life I do today. I lived my life without a purpose or meaning.  I was your typical kid that grew up on the little league field during the weekdays and the soccer field on the weekends.  I was blessed to have countless childhood friends and the ability to idolize my big brother. I excelled in sports, and most would say hung with the popular kids in school. On the surface, I had nothing that could have held me back from living the life I always dreamt of living.  

I'm thankful that unlike so many individuals that come from broken families I never once had to experience what it was like to arrive back home to just one parent. I can proudly call my parents both my hero's and my best friends. The brutal truth of my story was that live a double life. I lived in a jumbled up, confusing web of lies. A life that seemed more like a fiction story that it did my real life. On the surface I was a happy go lucky kid, living my life, but like so many other individuals who stay silent their entire lives, I can relate to the #METOO movement.

Although I didn't fully understand what my cousin had done to me at such an early age, I was completely aware of how it made me feel inside.  Scared and ashamed of what had transpired, it was at the age of 13 that I discovered it was possible to escape from my inner feelings behind the bottle. In the following years, I became a habitual liar and refused to allow anyone into my life. I spent the better part of my young life running from my story, powerless to my disease. Afraid to ask for help I lost sight of the fact that I was the author of my life, not my disease. With friendships and employment opportunities lost, ongoing legal troubles piling up, and terrified to move in any direction, I landing at rock bottom shovel in hand, desperate.

By the time I was in my early 20's my disease had made me completely powerless over my own choices. In five short years, I was arrested for multiple DUI's and spent countless nights behind the bars of different jail cells.  My downward spiral towards rock bottom took me nearly ten years for me to accept that I had a problem.  

On the morning of April 16th, 2014 I woke up on the cold concrete floor of the Hamilton Co. jail cell, confused how I got there that was the last day that I would have a drink. Depressed, broke, lonely and scared, I walked into my first AA Room only 24 hours after being released from jail. I finally accepted that I needed professional help. As fate would have it, it was a complete stranger that walked into my life at this time to help guide me towards the tools I would need to regain back my life. It was his story, his years of sobriety that opened up my eyes towards the life that I didn't know was possible to live.

I don’t know how this sobriety thing works; I  just know that it does for me. Now more than three years in active recovery I am living a life I never thought was possible without having a drink in my hand. I wouldn't wish my story on my worst enemy nor would I trade it for the life of me.

Each day I am blessed to have a new opportunity to do something great. Each day is a reminder to myself that my most challenging obstacle I will face is avoiding my very first drink.

They say knowledge is power and I learned both what rock bottom feels like and what got me there. I now view my story, my disease, as my greatest asset in life, not a weakness.

On April 16th, 2017 coinciding with three years of recovery I walked away from the life that I had reclaimed through my sobriety. Once terrified to live my life, I am now traveling 50 states in 50 weeks to inspire others that recovery is possible. They say not all those who wander are lost, well I was lost, but through my friends and family, my higher power, and a lot of recovery work, I am now on a path to live out the best years of my life.

I am just one man in a van, traveling across the country, visiting different recovery events, walks, and meetings, including a few bucket list items. My life's mission is now to inspire others who are currently walking down the same path that I once walked, and I do that best through my company, A.D.R and my foundation's movement, THE MOCKTAIL PROJECT.