We all know someone in our lives that has stepped outside of the social norm. They seem to swim against the tide, walk the road less traveled, is it to be purposefully different, or just to be themselves? 45 days after attending my first event, the Kentucky Derby, I have driven more than 10,000 miles, visited countless states, marked off several items on my own bucket-list, and ultimately, I’ve started to realize just how impactful this social movement can become with each new story that is shared.
The Sober Voyager is a Pay It Forward Lifestyle that focuses on helping individuals who have been touched by addiction issues. This post is not about my journey, but rather a re-introduction to the social movement behind the Sober Voyager. Just a little over three years ago I decided to personally have my last drink of alcohol. I was lost, hopeless, living a life in darkness and hiding my depression behind each drink that I consumed. My good days were followed by downward spirals of recklessness due to my inability to manage my own life. Unlike many things in our lives that is dictated by our skin color, neighborhood we grew up in, social class, education level, or religious beliefs, addiction is linear.
With each new state that I visit I personally seek out a new A.A. meeting with the goal to connect with other individuals fighting the good fight. I have visited multiple homeless shelters, recovery centers, attended recovery walks, and with each new person I speak with the messages are linear. The stories that are being shared with me are of two separate lives lived by the same individual. A recovery story filled with joy and happiness, simplicity and life goals all followed by a story and life once filled with recklessness, uncertainty, anxiety, depression and a life filled with actions and emotions triggered by their inability to cope with their own struggles. At my worst, I had accepted that my life would never get better, a feeling that I hope no one ever experiences. With each new day on this journey I find myself connecting with new friends and family members looking for a way to help a loved one that is currently suffering with their own battels. Although each situation is different the underlying message of feeling helpless, followed by frustration with their own inability to relate or show support is linear.
My personal journey, 50 states in 50 weeks, is a testament to my own recovery. A story that is being written to hopefully inspire other individuals that is currently walking down a path of lost dreams, depression, and hopelessness. A story line that will hopefully encourage other individuals to live a life worth living, addiction free. A story that will hopefully help the 25-year-old me realize that anything in life is possible with the help and support from others. The concept of this company is so much larger than one individual, myself, (The Sober Voyager.) When I took my last drink on April 16th, 2014, I didn’t yet realize that I was already becoming the Sober Voyager. Your support, and the social movement behind the S.V is to support individuals who are currently lost in their own battle to find (themselves.) Our society needs to start accepting the fact that we cannot out run addiction issues. For this reason, I wanted to go against the social norm, I wanted to start wearing my addiction, not hiding from it.
Each week if you continue to follow the Sober Voyager’s movement you will read post about how I am currently living my own life in recovery. A life that I am personally trying to live to the fullest. At the age of 25, living my life at rock bottom, I had no desire to ever become the individual that I always wanted to become life. Each week when I travel to a new state, I am pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone and to participate in different events, connect with different social groups, say hello to strangers, try new foods, and ultimately live a life that will hopefully help to inspire a friend, family member, or stranger into living the life they truly want to live, addiction free. Our social movement is about showing your support, not hiding behind a text message or in the privacy of your home. Each time you wear a piece from our collection you are making a conscious decision that you want to show your support to help fight this disease together. Because I believe in the anonymity of A.A, N.A, and all the other organizations and groups that is designed to be behind closed doors, I will never share stories or the names of the individuals that I meet on my journey. This part is up to you! The Sober Voyager was created for the other 23 hours in the day for when individuals are not living behind closed doors, but rather living their daily lives amongst friends and co-workers, family members and strangers.
My goal when I started the Sober Voyager was to create a forum of stories, messages of hope and inspiration that can be shared by you, on our home page. I wanted to create a landing page that individuals suffering from addiction issues could go and read words of hope and encouragement from friends and family members, co-workers, and strangers around the world that have all been touched by addiction in different ways. You don’t need to look far to find a friend or loved one that has suffered due to alcoholism, narcotics, eating disorders or all the other addiction issues individuals battle daily. I wanted to create a common thread between the individuals who are currently battling an addiction issue, and the individuals in their lives that are trying to understand how to show continuous support, even when they don’t fully understand the why behind the addiction problem. Throughout our page, you will find one simple message, we encourage you to support a story, and then Pay It Forward by sharing a few words of hope, inspiration, and encouragement. When I express the words (Pay It Forward,) it is encouraging you to set an example for others that it is possible to live a life of happiness. Paying It Forward is the ability to show others that you care without ever expressing a single word. Paying It Forward is understanding that with each story you support you are directly helping to offset the cost of rehabilitation for an individual in need. Paying It Forward is about creating a lifestyle worth living for our next generation.
My name is Jesse Hawkins, the founder of this movement, and I am the Sober Voyager. A name I chose to both represent who I have become in my own life and a message based around inspiring individuals to live a life worth living addiction free. A movement to show continuous support and to provide the resources needed to help individuals take their first steps towards living a life worth living while in recovery. I chose the name Sober Voyager because for one year of my life I will be on the road sharing my message of hope, life, and encouraging individuals to take their first step towards becoming the individual they want to be in life. The message behind the Sober Voyager will always stay the same, but the name behind the company will eventually evolve over time, much like my own life did when I decided to have my last drink.
Many people have asked how they can get involved, or what a direct donation goes towards. Becoming involved is as simple as gaining enough courage to go against the social norm and show your support towards addiction awareness by wearing your support daily. Together we can no longer hide from showing our support for individuals suffering from addiction issues behind closed doors. The time of feeling lost and hopeless needs to end now. This is my story, and because I personally lived a life trapped from my addiction to alcohol I can admit, that when I was at my lowest point in my life, I felt alone, trapped in a world that I thought I needed overcome by myself. The truth was I just needed to know that the people in my life where accepting and supportive of me. I didn’t always need to be reminded by a phone call or a conversation, a simply acknowledgment of someone showing their support, like wearing our support bracelet, would have made all the difference when I was at my lowest of lows. Together, if you are willing to talk about this ugly epidemic in our society, to make it known that there is hope and support all around us then I do believe we can help to change the lives of so many individuals that is currently lost and hopeless. With each dollar that you donate to the S.V. Foundation we Pay It Forward by offering to help offset the cost of rehabilitation while helping to create a lifestyle worth living addiction free. Through the S.V. and the S.V.F when you make a purchase or donate to our movement you are taking a stance and joining me and our efforts to create a lifestyle worth living in recovery.
I ask that if you have ever been touched by an addiction problem in your own life that you help me take a stance in helping others that are currently lost and hopeless. Spend a few moments in your downtime to visit our landing page, www.sobervoyager.com and leave a few words of hope and inspiration. Get involved, and start wearing your support and Pay It Forward by becoming the inspiration that a loved one, friend, or stranger needs to take their first steps towards managing their battle with an addiction issue. 10% of all items being supported is Paid Forward towards helping to offset the cost of rehabilitation.