It is time to smash the myth that Instagram has an age limit. All are welcome!
Long before Instagram, I dabbled with mood-changers. By 13, I was a daily user. From then on, I woke up to notes I’d written in stoned handwriting, “I have to stop drinking.” At 24, sick of the blackouts, I tried Cocaine Anonymous and stayed clean seven days. To celebrate, I went on a three-day bender. After two years of chronic relapsing, I awakened in a Florida drug rehab with no memory of leaving Manhattan.
Now at 59, I’m loving recovery — and especially connecting with others on Instagram. I’ve learned that there is a community for everyone in recovery, regardless of age, and social media makes that community a little more accessible. Here’s my list of go-to IG handles.
Shari Hampton drank and drugged for 30 years. Growing up as a queer teenager in the 1970s, she thought she was the “only one.” When her mother “outed” her at 14, Shari was grateful. She describes her parents as so supportive they’d even end friendships with anyone who wasn’t supportive of their daughter. At 16, she began to frequent queer bars. She was the only Black person there.
Alcohol became her best friend in her 20s. That’s also when she started dabbling with cocaine. In her 30s, Shari became hopelessly addicted to crystal meth and spent her “40th birthday in a closet completely meth’d out.”
Sober since 2015, Shari, now 56, is a Recovery Coach at Tempest who loves to share BIPOC resources. Check out her website to learn more about her work helping women recover from substance abuse, emotional trauma, and grief.
Shari follows: @blackqueertransrecovery, @recoveryfortherevolution, @myleik
When I read Amy Dresner’s memoir, My Fair Junkie, it felt like perfection — especially for a depraved ex-IV user like me. I was hooked and devoured it in two days. Next, I fangirled out and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. What a thrill when Amy followed me back!
Amy interacts with her followers, posting hearts and thumbs-up to them.
“I want everyone to feel seen and heard,” she says. “And, I get tired of navel-gazing.”
Her age? “I’m a very immature and decently preserved 51,” she says. “I make fun of myself a lot — the good, bad, ugly, neurotic.”
Amy hosts sobriety meetings on @theluckiestclub and co-hosts the podcast Rehab Confidential with Joe Shrank.
When I tell Amy her gallows humor is refreshing, she turns me onto these hilarious IGs: @asbillmemesit, @dankrecovery, @sgrsk.
Lawyer Lisa Smith’s memoir, Girl Walks Out of a Bar, is a page-turner. The title is such a fun play on words. Originally a New Yorker, she moved to southern California over a year ago. Thanks to Instagram and Zoom, I can catch up with any transplanted New Yorkers.
Lisa, 55, is candid about her recovery.
“I actively treat my major depression and anxiety orders, (and I) celebrate clean-living with thousands of sober and sober-curious followers.”
With 17 years clean, Lisa is proof that life can keep growing bigger and better when one says goodbye to alcohol and cocaine.
Lisa cohosts the Recovery Rocks podcast with @tawnymlara, the founder of “Readings on Recovery” and the website SobrieTeaParty.com.
Lisa follows: @zeroproofnation, @the_sober_sisters, @thesobergaypodcast
Alysse and Lisa are a devoted sober team. Both in their mid-40s, and they are great reminders that a sober life does not mean a boring life. Their followers are 80% women, approximately half are in their mid-40s, 50s, and older. Alysse said goodbye to getting high in 2006 and Lisa in 2014. Not at all into auto-replies, Alysse and Lisa take the time to write personalized notes to every new follower!
Their topics include Happy Every Hour (alcohol-free recipes), #Quitlit (book reviews), The Daily Llama (easy 1-word meditations), and their Sober Spotlight features sober peeps doing cool stuff.
Both generously share posts from IG accounts they follow: @yana.company @thesoberlush @sobergirlsguide.
Stacey created her IG account in September 2019, two months after her first night in a drunk tank.
She tells me, “When I got out of treatment for alcoholism, I wanted a platform to keep myself accountable to sobriety and to help others know they are not alone.”
When she set up her account, she had no idea how enormous Instagram’s supportive sober community was. Stacey’s IG is my first stop when I crave motivation. Loneliness during COVID-19 has me amping up my efforts to steer clear of mood-changers. Stacey’s posts are positive and loving. And she posts photos of her adorable dog! Stacey praises AA, “It’s where I got my self-worth back.” Her followers are three-quarters women with plenty of mid-lifers. Her memes help remind me that, no matter what, life is better without booze.
Stacey follows: @theretiredpartygirl @the_unbuzzed @africabrooke
Megan Camille inspires women, including many aged 50-plus. Her focus is on healthy reasons to abstain from alcohol. As a self-described “wine-culture survivor,” she describes times of wearing ‘Rosé All Day’ T-shirts, and hoodies that read, ‘Kids Whine, So I Wine!’” Now though, she is done with the “dark sides of Mommy Juice.”
After quitting alcohol, Megan faced stigma and learned that others assumed she must’ve hit rock bottom. Megan’s message is shining light on the positives.
“Living sober is healthy,” she says, “and it’s normal.”
You can check out Megan’s new Instagram store @sobernotsorryshop. No “Mommy wine culture” there. Phrases on clothes, mugs, and hats all include positivity: “Sober is Normal,” “No Hangover” and “Sober Not Sorry.”
Megan follows: @highlightrealrecovery @blacksoberteacher @thisnakedmind
Ursula from London is “unapologetically alcohol-free.” When I asked if she was 50 yet, her reply cracked me up.
“I am most definitely over 50 and then some.”
Finding older women on Instagram delights her. Whether you quit long ago, or you are quitting now, in mid-life or beyond, she welcomes all.
Ursula follows: @oneofmanywomen, @emptying_the_bottle, @alcoholfreediary
Veronica Valli, 48, helps others get clean and stay clean.
“I’ve done it for 20 years,” the self-described sober warrior says.
She got sober in 2000 when “the internet was barely a thing.” Love Soberful celebrates the tremendous changes since then, especially that it’s no longer the shameful secret of being addicted to alcohol. Veronica raves about the multitude of inspiring accounts from women.
“We’re no longer hiding,” she says. She is all about caring, kindness, and support and that’s why Veronica rocks.
Veronica follows: @menopause_doctor, @howmental, @sobersass
Erin Khar, 47, has 18 years in recovery. Her memoir, Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies that Nearly Killed Me, blew me away. Erin and I first connected when she sent me the kindest note after she read my New York Times personal essay about seeing rapists on Facebook. It still means so much to me.
Knowing her can restore anyone’s faith that there are many Americans who have tons of empathy, which is evident on her IG, in her writing, and through her helpful support through her “Ask Erin” syndicated advice column. This is a woman with incredible grace.
Right before her first book tour, COVID-19 came along and shut everything down. After fighting years of chronic relapsing, Erin now practices HOW to stay clean and dry — she is Honest, Open, and Willing. Her candor helps so many of us.
Erin follows: @pickleddragqueen, @shannon_luders_manuel, @wissarae
No matter your age, recovery is for everyone, and there’s a community available to all of those who look for it. Social gives us just one of many places to find that community.