Recovering alcoholic shares transformation to mark five years of sobriety

At the height of his alcohol addiction, Kenny Dunn would go into the family bathroom, lock the door and down wine.

The father-of-one also admitted that it was a time in his life when he was ‘waiting to die’.

However, Kenny, 39, has since managed to kick his alcohol addiction and is now sharing his stunning transformation to celebrate being five years sober.

Kenny, who used to drink up to 20 beers a night, began documenting his journey online when he gave up alcohol in 2016.

To mark his latest sobriety milstone, he shared a photo of himself 24 hours after he decided to stop drinking next to pictures of him today, flexing his muscles and looking happy and healthy.

‘It’s that time of year again! Five glorious years of sobriety!’ he wrote in the post.

‘I would like to thank my family for all of their support this year! I would also like to thank all of the people here on IG who have inspired me to take my life far above and beyond my wildest dreams!’ 

Kenny, from Vancouver, Washington, got into fitness after he gave up alcohol with the help of a 12-step programme.

He has since taken to sharing and celebrating his sobriety milestones on social media.

He told BoredPanda that he doesn’t just share the pictures for himself, but for the people he hopes to encourage and inspire as well.

He said: ‘I have decided that my yearly pictures and progress are now no longer about my own recovery but about the need to share the message of hope to addicts all over the world.

‘I don’t have all of the answers, but I can connect them with people like me in their own community. It’s kind of exciting, making calls and writing emails to connect people with others in recovery.

‘A few months ago I even helped connect an alcoholic living in Liberia with recovering alcoholics in South Africa.’ 

Since getting sober, Kenny got into yoga and kettlebells, and said he gets on an exercise bike three times each week

‘If you had told me five years ago that my life would have this much joy and meaning as it does today, I wouldn’t have believed you,’ the locomotive engineer admitted.

‘I was just waiting to die while I was drinking. [The] biggest difference between that man five years ago and me today is my attitude.

‘I wake up every day excited about what comes next. Even in the seemingly mundane parts of my life, I can find satisfaction in what I do, that’s the real gift that’s been given to me.’

Kenny revealed that he started drinking heavily when he was in university. Weighing 350lbs at the time, he discovered he had a high tolerance owing to his size.

When his drinking became a daily occurrence in 2009, his wife Julie, who he’d met two years earlier, begged him to get control over his addiction.

By then, not only was Kenny downing around 20 beers a day, but he’d also taken to hiding wine in the bathroom and locking himself in there to drink it.

It was after another night spent drunk in November 2016 that Kenny finally decided he’d had enough and reached out to a friend who was also a recovering alcoholic for help.

He said: ‘I kept drinking without intending to get drunk. I usually set out only to have one or two, but I always ended up drinking closer to 20, and I would always have to go out to get more.

‘I had a compelling desire to get drunk and I had no control over it.

‘I remember one night I had 19 beers in three hours, but I had no intention of drinking that many, it was almost as if someone else was driving my actions. I knew then that I had no control and I needed help.’

The last night he got drunk, Kenny filmed himself saying he had a ‘sickness’ what was preventing him from being a good parent and husband, and vowed then and there that he’d stop drinking for good.

He’s still got the footage – which he kept private until two years ago – and admitted that although it’s ‘hard to look at’, he still watches it occasionally.

‘Now I’m the father and husband I always wanted to be,’ added Kenny. ‘My family isn’t afraid of me like they used to be.

‘I was unpredictable and I would have a temper when I was drunk — I would yell and black out.

‘That was the hardest thing to handle because I didn’t have any control over my own behaviour, but I was still responsible for my actions.

‘I never got into any trouble with the police, but I would wake up from a blackout to my wife weeping.

‘I would wake up in the bathroom or on the floor in the house or even on the stairs and have no idea what had happened. It was horrifying.’

To this day, Kenny still attends meetings for the 12-step programme he enrolled in five years ago.

Since then, life has improved massively, and he says he feels ‘so proud’ of his son and all the things he does which, if Kenny was still drinking, he feels he wouldn’t be able to support him with.

He also believes he’s saved more than $36,000 [close to £27,000] by no longer spending so much on alcohol. 

‘I intend to never drink again, but we take each day at a time,’ Kenny said. ‘My entire life revolves around recovery and because of that I believe I won’t do it again.’    

‘I still can’t believe the change in myself. It’s the hardest thing I have been through in my life, but it’s also the most rewarding.’

For those who feel like they’re hitting rock bottom with their addictions, Kenny asks that they please reach out to a trusted loved one.

‘A friend, a family member, a co-worker, anyone,’ he said. ‘Just tell them you need help and get the ball rolling.

‘I tried to stop on my own, and it was nothing but a lesson in futility. And if you want to stop, and you don’t know who to reach out to, you can even reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram.

‘I’ll help connect you to people who can help you, no matter where you are there is help for you nearby. But you have to have the courage to reach out.’

Need support for your mental health?

You can contact mental health charity Mind on 0300 123 3393 or text them on 86463.

Mind can also be reached by email at [email protected].

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