'From Addiction to the Kitchen': How a Former Drug Addict Cooked Every Day to Stay Sober and Find Viral Success


"Eventually it got into my head — if I didn't cook I'd relapse." This was the urgent realization that Patrick "Patt" McMenemy aka SouthernVibin needed to motivate him to use cooking and food content creation to stave off the lethal dangers of drug addiction.

His tagline, 'From addiction to the kitchen', is all parts triumphant redemption and perpetual motivation, something that he shares as a beacon for anyone else who's battled through the same struggles he faced as an addict.

"My best friend died on the couch next to me — he overdosed and died. That made me want to get clean. I knew I had to get help. So I started going to these N.A. (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings. When I was leaving [one of] the meetings, an older man grabbed me and said, 'Hey man, I can see it in your eyes what you're going through, you need to find a hobby. You need to find something that you can look forward to everyday — or you're going to end up relapsing.' He challenged me, said 'I want you to cook dinner every day for seven days and I want you to take a picture of it and send it to me so I know you're doing it.'"

However at that point, McMenemy had no idea how to cook, even admitting that he "didn't even know how to use a fork the right way" then.


"I accepted the challenge because I wanted to get clean that bad."

He started with simply cooking eggs, even burning them at first. But with each day that McMenemy cooked, he fell in love with it more and more, chiseling into his mind that if he didn't cook, he'd relapse. "I eventually got to the point where I didn't even want to be at work. It became so fun that all I could think about was going back home and cooking. I felt the passion of wanting to cook every day."

This love affair for cooking developed slowly, smoldering for about a year, cooking each day throughout. Then 2020 happened. Coronavirus shut everything down. Many people turned to content creation at home, with McMenemy counting himself among the countless folks who started developing recipes to help pass the time and cope with the uncertainty and angst that we all felt throughout that year, sequestered and quarantining at home.

"When COVID hit, I started filming content and shooting [my recipes]. It was so much fun to me. I posted a video every day for almost a year. Eight months into it, I thought that people didn't like me, because I was at around 3,000 followers. I wasn't seeing the growth. But I went back to thought of me just loving it, tapping into how it was never about the followers and engagement."


Around 10 months into posting his recipes online, McMenemy had his viral moment that became the launchpad of SouthernVibin.

"It was the crab boil video. That was big. It blew up on TikTok."

The specific video was a blue crab boil video that drew 1.6 million views. There, McMenemy's fiery Bayou energy shined as he put everyone on to a proper crab boil done his way.

Soon after, more and more people became caught the appeal of SouthernVibin and the unique recipes that they were getting put on to, whether it be a one of a kind Crawfish Cheeseburger recipe that was shot in the middle of a tornado warning (sirens and all) or a how-to on Country Fried Steak Nuggets. "A lot of the recipes are traditional Louisiana dishes that I put my own twist on," McMenemy shared.

When you tap into a SouthernVibin recipe video, you're immediately drawn by McMenemy's infectious and undeniable Cajun drawl that sounds like McDonald's Sprite poured into a glass of gravel, followed by hilarious one-liners that could make a statue crack a smile. And once you hear that "Yessirr!" know that you're about to be put on to some Southern Louisiana goodness.

"From addiction to the kitchen, baby! The kitchen saved my life! I want to keep encouraging those struggling, those battling addiction. I tell them that you need to find something that you love — you need to find your 'kitchen'. Find your 'kitchen' and you'll be able to overcome your addiction."