The Story of Mike F. from SoberPress

Real men, real stories.

What’s up, sober owners? Mike III here, hope this finds you kickin’ ass in the sober life. Do you realize that we’re nearly a month into spring already?? I’d love to hear what kind of spring projects and goals you have... hit reply to this email and give me the scoop!

This issue features a spotlight on a man many of you may know or recognize… Mike Ferrer, a stalwart in the sobriety community and founder of SoberPress. I wanted to share Mike’s full responses to my questions here because his story is captivating and relatable. Plus, he’s allowed so many people to share their stories on SoberPress… it’s time to shine the spotlight on his story for a change.

Now let’s get to it and, as always, thank you all for your support! 🙏

🔆 Spotlight: Mike, founder of SoberPress

What is your name & sobriety date?

My name is Mike. My sober date is April 9, 2019.

Give us a glimpse of what life looked like in active addiction…

I started my career in advertising in December 1992 in Portland, OR. Before that, I finished College and Art School in Atlanta and lived at home with my folks. My parents were very supportive and I excelled in school. I was very dedicated and I rarely drank or used marijuana.

When I took the leap and moved to start my career in Portland, I found myself completely out of place and on my own. The anxiety I experienced as a kid fitting in kicked in as I navigated my way into a new career. I started right off as an Art Director. So I also experienced the high pressures of that job right off—deadlines, creating, photoshoots, etc.

Real life was hitting me hard. I was so young. I struggled to get respect from some of the professionals I was supposed to be directing. Often, I would come home after a shoot for instance, and have an anxiety attack about what I just shot with a well-established, well-known photographer. I felt beat up and disrespected sometimes along the way.

Back then, the industry was so unforgiving and a bit brutal. However, I got better at it and my confidence grew. I earned the Bill Bernbach Award after my first year. It was an honor to be recognized as the best young creative in the Northwest. But more, I won other awards that year.

Along with that, I celebrated with my colleagues. Yes, we all got wasted together. It was trial by fire and then baptized by fire water. It was the free-flowing of drugs and alcohol at any time, at any occasion that fueled my thirst and affirmed my confidence.

Later, the depression of living in the Northwest got to me. SADS is very much a thing. The long winters meant short days of sun and 40° of pissing rain. Days were always dark and depressing. Like 9 months out of the year. About 2 years in, I started drinking heavily in the evenings.

After 7 years of that, I moved to Austin where I got recruited by a very high profile Ad Agency. By then, I had built a reputation as a hard-working, award-winning creative. The culture was the same but on a grander scale. It’s like I switched to a bigger high school with even more money.

I found myself working incredibly long hours and traveling all the time. At first, it was fun being wined and dined on someone else’s money. I used to get blackout drunk sometimes and I would get to hear about our shenanigans the next morning with clients and coworkers in tow. It was always a celebratory laugh at first. But when it came time to film the commercials, tensions got super high because so much money was at stake. My anxiety went through the roof.

At the end, we’d wrap and do it all again the next day. It was an insane cycle that would follow me throughout my career.

Sometimes, it would mean weeks of shooting overseas. That quickly got to be a grind. I drowned in alcohol and weed every night. I smuggled weed on airplanes everywhere. I never got busted.

I worked like this for almost 20 more years. I never got laid off, but it was also a fear that it would catch up. I was driven by working even harder. I lost my identity completely. I was depressed again. In my final years, it finally did catch up, I found myself having to be hospitalized sometimes for my hard drinking. I still got away with it. But I ran out of excuses and lies.

I had to go to rehab when I finally had enough and wound up in ICU for quitting booze abruptly. I experienced DT’s for the first time. It was bad.

I got a sponsor, went to meetings, and worked the steps. I spent about a year sober from booze but still got high every day. I had committed to be transparent about it all to my peers at work to stay sober. Everyone knew.

However, after a while, everything fell by the wayside again and it got way worse. I started drinking heavily again. This time I was drinking in the mornings to just get rid of the shakes. I had also been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. That only made things even more complicated. My health deteriorated. I started having seizures. I lost a lot of weight. I spent more time in the hospital, but somehow managed to hide it by just calling in sick.

I did this for about 2 years and slid by unnoticed until I started ghosting at work.

Finally, HR got ahold of my best friend to do a welfare check on me as I had missed an important client presentation. Luckily, it was during a major remodel and the contractor let him in the house. He discovered me passed out on the bed.

He urged me to go to the ER with him. So I did. A lot happened that night. I remember telling the Doctor after asking me why I was drinking, I responded; “I hate my life” Before I knew it, I was being interviewed by the APD Suicide Squad, a Social Worker, a Counselor, and another doctor. It got real. I never really thought of suicide. I learned that it was all a precaution.

I promised to seek help and go to detox the next day, then start rehab again. I knew then, that I wanted to be well again. Sober. It was a defining, pivotal moment for me.

While in IOP, I was urged by my counselor, a social worker at rehab and another counselor at rehab to quit my job. My sponsor did not agree. He told me not to make any serious life changes while newly sober. I did it anyway. I knew what I needed to do. He was just looking out for me.

What does living a sober lifestyle mean for you?

Living in freedom, peace, and clarity allows me to work through my troubles and feel them for what they are without having to numb them down. I have learned, reflecting on my addiction, that numbing the pain only postpones it and makes it worse.

I have also found grace for myself. Acceptance, allows me to forward freely and make improvements along the way. None of us are without fault, however, it’s our choice to be a better person and do the next right thing.

If I catch myself doing otherwise, I try to make amends, or if I have a resentment happening, I take inventory, find my fault, and make a correction. I know now that we are only in control of ourselves–how we react, how we act, and how we resolve. It makes easier to carry on with life and all of its difficulties. Self-evaluation is key for me. I am a work in progress, and I know how to forgive myself and others. That is where our power and freedom develop.

These are basic principles that working the steps in AA helped me. I feel strongly about find your path to fit your unique personality and preference. AA is not the end all be all. However, I do recommend starting there. You owe it to yourself to start somewhere.

What do you do to maintain your sober lifestyle?

Connection is key for me. I have found my tribe in real life and online. I check in and interact as much as I can every day. I try to maintain balance. I try not to work as much as I used to, but it’s not always possible. I maintain a healthy routine. My goal is to go to bed early so I can wake early and feel refreshed. I love my mornings and coffee. I need quiet to time to ease into my day. I am at my most productive this way.

I go try to go to AA meetings weekly. Either online or in person. It affirms and reinforces my dedication to sobriety. This is an additional connection I make for myself. It helps to hear how others deal with their own struggles. It gives me much-needed perspective.

I try to avoid stress. I create boundaries if I need to. We must realize that, sometimes, certain people do not mesh well. They can affect our energy by presenting chaos or expecting way too much. They simply take up too much space in our lives. We need to understand that you can only give so much before it becomes a liability to yourself and others.

Tell us about SoberPress & why you started it…

I started SoberPress during the pandemic. I was new to sobriety at the time. It was purely a coping mechanism I created to help me pass the time while in isolation. I needed something constructive, positive, and rewarding to do other than start drinking again.

It started with an idea to build a website where I could feature stories of recovery, but in the process, I was also accumulating inspirational quotes, things I would write, and little designs that inspired me. Somehow it all came together after my girlfriend at the time suggested I start an Instagram page for the website. That’s when inspiration rained upon me. I serendipitously found an amazing sober community on Instagram. I launched my page in August 2020. Launched the website in October of 2020 and launched my Facebook page in November of 2020.

Where can folks follow & contact you?

My Instagram:
@soberpress (Please DM me here)

My Facebook:

Want to share your story or contribute to an upcoming issue of this newsletter?
Shoot me a message and let’s chat about it!

🎙️ Improving Communication Skills

I was recently a guest on the Through The Glass Recovery Podcast. Three other guests and I joined hosts Steve & Julie in a roundtable discussion on improving communication skills in recovery.

Give it a listen or add it to your playlist on your favorite podcast platform. And, be sure to check out the Through The Glass Recovery website for more recovery resources & services including coaching & online zoom meetings.

▶️ Sober Lifestyle Resources

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🔎 III Things

  1. I’m putting the finishing touches on a full website + blog for — aiming to launch this month. 🚀

  2. Of Rare Brew’s six sparkling flavors above, my favorite is Cherry Lime. Though, I can legitimately say that I dig each one! 👍👍

  3. How’d your March Madness brackets do? Being an Indiana Hoosiers fan, I can’t say I’m rooting for Purdue but I do believe that basketball trophies belong in the state of Indiana. 🏀