Three years ago, Kenny D was drinking 12 to 24 drinks every single night and blacking out three to four nights a week. He felt horrible and helpless when he made the decision to stop drinking once and for all.
He’d tried to quit before, but it had never lasted more than a year. This time around, he decided to document his journey through photos – starting with his very first 24 hours of sobriety.
Three years later and the photos speak volumes about addiction and just how powerful the saying ‘one day at a time’ truly is. You may not see changes every day, but over the course of months and years, so much is changing.
This was the first picture he took at 24 hours sober
“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,” Kenny told Bored Panda in an exclusive interview.
At 30 days sober, he was already looking and feeling a lot better
“The day I got my 30-day coin, I thought my look had changed drastically so I took another selfie.”
Kenny, who works as a railroad engineer in the American Pacific Northwest, enjoyed showing his friends and family the dramatic difference 30 days of sobriety made on his outward appearance.
Regardless of his month of sobriety, his loved ones remained skeptical. After all, “I had spent the last several years terrorizing my family and friends while I was drunk.”
So, Kenny ended up keeping most of the photos he took to himself, but with every coin he earned at his Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, he took another selfie.
On his one-year anniversary, he posted a side-by-side picture on Reddit and titled it ‘The Progression of Sobriety.’
“I thought it would just be something uplifting for people to see, I had no idea I would get the kind of response that I did. The post was flooded with comments from people asking me about alcoholism and how I stopped drinking.”
Kenny now posts a transformation photo every year on his sobriety birthday, which is November 2. He always takes the photo in his bathroom to keep up with tradition.
Kenny has been open and honest about his battles with drinking. While he started consuming alcohol in college, it didn’t become a real issue in his life until around 10 years ago.
At this point, he was drinking in excess and couldn’t control himself once he started. “I could not drink without getting drunk. So I decided to quit.”
It wasn’t instant success the first time he made the decision to quit.
Many times, he’d quite for a few days, or even a few months, once for an entire year, but then he’d go back to it.
In 2016, Kenny was drinking 12 to 24 drinks every single day and blacking out 3 to 4 times a week.
“I knew I had a problem but I didn’t know what to do. I used to stand in the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror and wish I wasn’t a drunk. I would wonder how I got this way.”
When he was at his lowest of lows he admits not caring if he lived or died. “I just wanted it to be over and didn’t care how.”
Right before he made the decision to quit for good, Kenny bought a case of beer in preparation for a week of vacation. His plan was to ration the beers, drink three to four a night, and make the case last throughout his holiday.
“The first night after I put my son to bed, I opened my first beer. That was at 8 p.m. By 11 p.m., I had drunk 19 beers. Something inside me said, ‘Kenny, your life is no longer manageable.’”
Kenny reached out to a friend who had gotten sober the year prior. He told her he had a problem and needed help.
“The next morning, she picked me up and drove me to my first 12-step meeting and I’ve been sober ever since.”
Kenny has been able to stay sober thanks to help from his 12-step program, fellow AA members, and support from his loved ones.
“All I wanted to do was to stop drinking and to get my life back. I had no idea that I would get a whole new life that was full of more joy, happiness, and freedom than I could have possibly imagined.”