Marina Sachs is sick of hearing that they don’t sound like a drug addict.
The creator of SOBERBABY identifies as an alcoholic and a drug addict, but when they talk about their experiences they are often faced with contemptuous disbelief – they don’t appear to be an addict because they don’t have one. air.
The truth, Sachs said, is that there is no particular “look” for an addict, but the stereotypes run deep. Sachs, a UF graduate student in the Masters of Fine Arts program, said the perception of drug addicts is a product of society-wide stigma, a concept evidenced by their conversations with drug addicts and non-addicts.
SOBERBABY, Sachs’ Instagram Live talk show, was born with the goal of erasing that stigma. The show debuted on February 12 with an Instagram post captioned “where it all begins.” Lasting just under an hour, the first episode featured Sachs flying solo, offering their own experiences with addiction and everything that led to the creation of the series.
Every Friday at 5 p.m., Sachs opens both his home and his heart to the featured guest of the week and leads a conversation about his individual experiences with drug addiction. The relationship between Sachs and the guests of SOBERBABY is evidenced by the shared space they sit in in each episode, which they believe is key to putting the series in context.
“These conversations don’t take place in a vacuum,” Sachs said. “These conversations are real and with real people.”
The talk show / livestream hybrid is often initially mistakenly classified as a strictly auditory experience by guests and listeners. But the show is not a podcast, Sachs said. Despite the misnomer, SOBERBABY is currently only available through IGTV.
But every post has a purpose. In candid conversations with friends and family affected by drug addiction, Sach aims to shatter stereotypes of the disease, one episode at a time.
Sachs’ inspiration for the show came from their sobriety journey, which began three years ago and was accompanied by three years of honest talking.
“I had a sort of idea where having honest, unfettered conversations with people, things that were generally private and whispered, things that you are not supposed to talk about in public are placed very publicly,” he said. Sachs said.
SOBERBABY started out with just Sachs and their cell phone, but the show is gearing up to expand. Custom products inspired by the own creations of Sachs and other local artists are in the works. A Patreon page is up and running and episodes should be available on Spotify and other platforms by the end of the month.
With the addition of sound engineer Jenny Alpaugh, SOBERBABY moves from its humble beginnings to a more advanced setup. The show now works with a range of professional audio equipment, preparing the content for broadcast on more platforms.
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The partnership between Sachs and Alpaugh was forged by chance when the two met in a pop-up Swamp City Gallery Lounge, where Alpaugh was selling his custom crochet creations. Alpaugh already knew Sachs from their art, and when Sachs mentioned SOBERBABY, Alpaugh said she was immediately intrigued.
Alpaugh said the technical improvement is the first step in the show’s conceptual growth. Multimedia, live episodes, international audiences – SOBERBABY seeks to break down barriers.
“We’re aiming for the moon, the stars, whatever the next step,” Alpaugh said.
Even in its early days, SOBERBABY is already tackling topics beyond addiction. Sachs begins each episode by providing the context for the show with “broadcast notes” – a recap of global issues that they believe deserve the audience’s attention.
While SOBERBABY is a light affair, Sachs said heavier topics are intrinsically linked to conversation. Race, class, gender, sexuality and other factors are not separate from addiction, Sachs said. Rather, they’re an integral part of an individual’s experiences with addiction, and Sachs said the issues around them are essential to address on their show.
SOBERBABY’s casual conversations aren’t entirely representative of the darker moments of the sobriety journey, Sachs said. Incorporating these external factors is their way of adding context to SOBERBABY’s more cavalier approach to substance abuse.
As SOBERBABY grows up, Sachs has stated that they grow up with him. While still touching on the traumas of the past, Sachs said their art, full of vivid colors and eclectic designs, is now an exercise in professionalism and unbridled joy.
It is this enthusiasm, along with the deep-rooted desire to make a difference, that drives SOBERBABY’s future – a future, according to Sachs, is limitless.
“I have no choice but to aim as high as possible.”
SOBERBABY is available on Sachs Instagram page @ marina2mp3. The show airs every Friday at 5 p.m. and past episodes are available through IGTV.
If you or someone you know suffers from addiction or mental health, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1 (800) -273-8255 or the Central Florida Intergroup Alcoholics Anonymous Hotline at (407) -260-5408
Contact Heather at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @hgrizzl.
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