5 Sobriety Social Media Influencers
Social media is an undeniably powerful force of our modern culture. From geopolitical governance to trending makeup tutorials, social media has been proven able to shape, shift and shake our collective consciousness. When it comes to recovery-oriented or sober lifestyles, social media has increasingly become a beacon for many – both for “sober curious” individuals and those in recovery. Similar to trends in wellness and fashion, legions of sobriety “influencers” now connect with their followers through hashtags like #SoberisSexy and #SoberLife. As of this writing, the hashtag #Sobriety headlines nearly 1.4 million posts!
While experts continue to debate the efficacy and safety of social media’s role in addiction and recovery, these seven sobriety influencers are gaining thousands of followers and quickly altering the traditional ideas of peer support, sober lifestyles, treatment regimens, and recovery communities.
Holly Whitaker @holly
Author of “Quit Like a Woman” and founder of Tempest (formerly known as Hip Sobriety), a subscription-based recovery support network, Holly Whitaker has over 95,000 Instagram followers. In recovery since 2012, Whitaker personally considered AA as a “non-starter” and treatment as financially unfeasible when seeking recovery. Today, her abstinence-based recovery network, Tempest, provides three tiers of membership, which offer subscribers access to a private 24/7 online community, virtual support groups, as well as live lectures, workshops, and Q&A’s.
Laura McKowen @Laura_McKowen
Another blogger turned author, Laura McKowen penned the memoir “We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of Sober Life,” which was published in January of 2020. Although McKowen is a newly published author, her social media presence has garnered McKowen over 63,000 followers on Instagram throughout the years. She’s founded The Luckiest Club, an online subscription-based recovery community and offers gender-specific recovery courses for women. In addition, McKowen co-hosts the HOME Podcast with Holly Whitaker to discuss various issues related to addiction recovery.
Russell Brand @RussellBrand
Unquestionably the most visible sobriety influencer, with 2.1 million Instagram followers, Russell Brand is a comedian, actor, and writer with a well-documented history of substance abuse. Sober since 2002, Brand utilized the 12-Steps to overcome his addictions to alcohol and heroin. Brand now operates Commune, an online recovery course that interprets the 12-step process and supplements its principles with guided yoga, meditation workshops, and lectures. According to its website, Commune now has over 1.6 million subscribers. Brand has also written the books “Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions” and “Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped,” as well as hosts the weekly podcast “Under the Skin.”
Annie Grace @thisnakedmind
Author with nearly 63,000 Instagram followers, Annie Grace is a sobriety influencer who helped define the notion of “sober curious.” After writing the book “This Naked Mind” in her recovery, which offers insight to Grace’s own psychological and social struggles with alcohol, she created The Alcohol Experiment, a 30-day alcohol-free challenge. According to her website, The Alcohol Experiment is intended to assist individuals who wish to control their alcohol consumption without necessarily abstaining from it.
Austin Cooper @soberevolution
Austin Cooper is an evidentiary case of how popular “the style of sobriety” has become in recent years. After three years in recovery, Cooper began sharing inspirational quotes and funny memes regarding sobriety on his Instagram page in 2016. After a short time, his Sober Evolution page gained thousands of followers, and he parlayed the popularity of his social media presence into the Sober Evolution brand and website, which offers free recovery resources, blogs, and podcasts. Visitors to the Sober Evolution website will also find links to recovery programs, recovery-oriented merchandise, and other sobriety influencers’ pages.
Sobriety Social Media Influencers and Recovery
Without question, a cultural celebration of sobriety and the destigmatizing of addiction are good things. However, many behavioral health experts cite the danger of social media’s ability to conflate the ideas of sobriety and recovery. In other words, addressing the symptom (substance abuse) without addressing any underlying causes through clinical treatment, therapy, and other traditional hallmarks of recovery.
Social media will continue to influence millions online, especially when it comes to lifestyle, and it’s hard to argue that living in recovery isn’t a type of lifestyle. However, considering the seriousness of addiction, let’s hope that substance and style can coexist in the social media ecosystem. Let’s hope that recovery isn’t merely trending.