Sober October may be over, and there’s some time to wait before Dry January, but there’s no reason to hold off on giving up the booze.
The benefits of sobriety go far beyond a month alcohol-free.
If you’d like some visual evidence, take a look at Kenny D, a 37-year-old railroad engineer who took mirror selfies over the course of three years to show how much sobriety changed his appeance.
Each time he received a new sobriety coin or chip from Alcoholics Anonymous, Kenny snapped a photo – from the 24 hours sober mark to three years on.
Kenny told BoredPanda: ‘I took a picture of myself the day I got my first sobriety coin, 24 hours sober. I felt so ill and I looked so bad, I wanted to remember it so I wouldn’t forget.
‘The day I got my 30-day coin, I thought my look had changed drastically so I took another selfie.’
He’s not wrong – just a month after making the decision to stop drinking, Kenny looks dramatically different.
Kenny shared the photos on Reddit, where he received an overwhelming response from other people struggling with addiction.
He began drinking when at university, but years later realised that he could not control the amount he drank after the first sip of alcohol.
‘I could not drink without getting drunk,’ he explains.
Kenny managed to abstain from alcohol for weeks and months before relapsing, until in 2016 when he reached his rock bottom. He was getting drunk every day, having 12 to 24 drinks a day, and blacking out three to four times a week.
That’s when he decided to take the brave step to go to Alcoholics Anonymous and begin their 12 step programme.
The progress he made prompted Kenny to make changes to his general fitness and health, beginning to exercise as he realised how much freer he felt without booze.
Yes, a lot of the differences between Kenny while using alcohol and Kenny sober are internal, but there are physical changes too – all captured in photographs taken in Kenny’s bathroom mirror.
He’s slimmer and fitter, absolutely – but look at how much happier he appears, too.
‘The biggest difference between myself now and three years ago is that today I live my life by a set of spiritual principles,’ said Kenny. ‘From morning to night, I run all of my decisions through a sort of spiritual filter.
‘I do my best to not be resentful or spiteful or angry, though I am human and I have a tendency to forget sometimes. I’m not a saint.
‘If I have a problem that I can’t tackle with stuff in my normal spiritual toolkit, I get on the phone to my sponsor or another alcoholic-in-recovery.
‘There is always somebody around to help, I just have to reach out.’
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