"Sober Movement" Is Creating Something Special
Posted on 20 September 2016
A few years ago I noticed this new Instagram handle, the handle was called "Sober Movement." I have a notorious tunnel vision so I don't pay attention to much outside of my scope but over the next coming months it was clear that Sober Movement was something worth paying attention to.
Their Instagram handle jumped up to nearly 40,000 followers. They posted pictures of beautiful people in recovery with a little message behind it. The movement was really starting to take hold.
Last week, I asked teh boys at SM if I could interview them. We have gone back and forth a few times through Instagram but this was really the first time we could have a real conversation and I could get to know them.
*NOTE - Some of the conversation has been edited to more easily format to written word. All edits were made with permission of the interviewees.*
Hey guys. First off thanks so much for your time. Let's jump right in. What are your names, where do you come from?
Kevin: My name is Kevin, I’m from Santa Clarita, CA, near Los Angeles. I will have 5 years clean and sober in December.
Darren: My name is Darren and I’m from Santa Clarita as well. I will have 5 years clean and sober in November. Kevin and I grew up with each other, got loaded with each other, and got clean around the same time. We are the founders of Sober Movement nonprofit.
Where did the idea for Sober Movement come along? Tell me your journey from then until now.
Kevin: One day I was bored at work and the idea for a recovery-based Instagram page popped into my head. I always saw fitness inspiration stuff on Instagram, and I thought it would be awesome to do something like that, but with sobriety. It originally began as Sober Society, and I had people send in pictures of them in sobriety, or before and afters. We started to get a pretty big following, so of course, I turned to Darren.
Darren: Kevin came to me and said we should try to do something with this, as another way of giving back. Immediately I was on board! We got so encouraged about our lives turning around, we wanted people to get constant encouragement that they, too, can change their lives around, no matter their situation. Our pages show that people from all different backgrounds, with different stories, do recover and gain life back. We changed the name to Sober Movement, created a Facebook and Twitter page, and formed it into a nonprofit.
Kevin: It made sense to us to turn it into a nonprofit since we just wanted to give back and try to show people that it’s possible to live and have fun in sobriety. Obviously working and focusing on yourself is a huge factor, but for us, learning to live and have fun again was critical as well.
Darren: Our nonprofit is focused on raising awareness for addiction and recovery. A major way we are trying to do that is through events and activities. We put on fundraising events for people in sobriety to come out and have fun with other like-minded people. Once we gain more momentum, our next phase is to take sober living homes out to do certain activities. There is always more room for growth!
Kevin: We also have our Sober Gear as a way to further the nonprofit, as well as get people to embrace the sober lifestyle. We just launched our new website which we hope to keep building and expanding to give people in recovery, and people searching for recovery, more resources.
Darren: It’s so exciting to see all the people in sobriety who follow us, support us, and are so inspiring to us. It has been a long process getting the nonprofit going, especially because we both work full-time jobs, but it has been so worth it. We are so excited for things to come and to create more volunteer opportunities.
It’s clear that people get a lot of value from your program, but tell me what you have learned from the experience? I’ve found that New Lyfe has taught me so many lessons, I’m interested to hear what yours are.
Kevin: It all started with an idea. We felt that it was only right for us to pursue it. We have learned so much along the way, from making business decisions, legal stuff, social media, ecommerce, retail, and so much more. There have been some people along the way who try to bring us down or don’t agree with us, which can be disheartening, but at the end of the day, we know our hearts are in the right place.
Darren: The amount of people who thank us for what we are doing and inspire us on a daily basis definitely outweighs the negatives. We didn’t start Sober Movement expecting anything in return, we just felt like it was the right thing for us to do. At the end of the day, if we can help one person stay sober, it makes everything worth it.
Where do you see Sober Movement going? What’s up ahead?
Darren: We just launched our new website, which we want to continue to build and add more resources. We are in the beginning stages of planning a couple upcoming events. We also aim to launch the sober living activity outings soon.
Kevin: Again, it has been a long process on getting everything going, and we thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for all the support and inspiration. It truly means so much to us seeing so many people living and enjoying their lives in sobriety. We hope to keep building and expanding from here. We want to get as many people involved as we can.