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Recovering alcoholic shows off incredible transformation as he celebrates five years of sobriety

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A recovering alcoholic who used to drink nearly 20 beers a day has shared his incredible physical transformation while celebrating five years of sobriety. 

Kenny Dunn, 39, from Vancouver, Washington, took to Instagram on Wednesday to share a throwback photo of himself one day after he quit drinking alongside some recent images.

The photo collage featured a shot of him posing in the mirror five years ago versus one of him posing in the mirror now. It also included a snap of him flexing his back and arm muscles without a shirt on, revealing his newly chiseled frame. 

‘It’s that time of year again! Five glorious years of sobriety!’ he captioned 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!’ 

Then and now: Kenny Dunn, 39, from Vancouver, Washington, shared a collage of photos of himself 24 hours after he quit drinking (pictured) and now, five years sober

Then and now: Kenny Dunn, 39, from Vancouver, Washington, shared a collage of photos of himself 24 hours after he quit drinking and now, five years sober (pictured)

Then and now: Kenny Dunn, 39, from Vancouver, Washington, shared a collage of photos of himself 24 hours after he quit drinking (left) and now, five years sober (right)

He is pictured in August showed off his newly chiseled frame

He is pictured in August showed off his newly chiseled frame

New man: The dad-of-one, pictured in April, has become passionate about working out after starting a 12-step program that ultimately changed his life

New man: The dad-of-one, pictured in April, has become passionate about working out after starting a 12-step program that ultimately changed his life

He likes to document his success online so that he can 'share the message of hope to addicts all over the world.' He is pictured in April

He likes to document his success online so that he can 'share the message of hope to addicts all over the world' He is pictured in April

He likes to document his success online so that he can ‘share the message of hope to addicts all over the world’ He is pictured in April

The dad-of-one has been marking his sobriety milestones with annual photos. And it turns out, there’s an important reason why he posts them every year.

He explained that ever since he started sharing his journey online, he has been ‘flooded’ with messages from people who need help getting sober. He said he likes to document his success online so that he can ‘share the message of hope to addicts all over the world’

‘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,’ he told Bored Panda.

‘People see my pictures or read my interviews and they decide they finally want to stop.

‘As always, I simply tell them that 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!’ 

As for what advice he has for people who are struggling, Kenny explained, ‘If you feel like you are absolutely at your rock bottom and you cannot go on living with addiction, please reach out to someone you trust.

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

‘It is my experience that the best way to recover from addiction is to reach out to other people who are in addiction recovery.

Start of it all: Kenny, who used to drink nearly 20 beers a night, gave up drinking in November 2016. He is pictured 24 hours into his sobriety

Start of it all: Kenny, who used to drink nearly 20 beers a night, gave up drinking in November 2016. He is pictured 24 hours into his sobriety 

One day at a time: Kenny is pictured at 30 days sober

One day at a time: Kenny is pictured at 60 days sober

One day at a time: Kenny has been marking his sobriety milestones with photos. He is pictured at 30 days sober (left) and 60 days sober (right)

‘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!’

Kenny lost a lot of weight early on in his recovery when he switched to a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet. He has since incorporated healthy carbs back into his meals, but he eats them sparingly with lean protein and vegetables.

He also recently joined the DDP Yoga community. Plus, he lifts weights and rides an exercise bike three days a week. 

He added, ‘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.

‘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.’

During another interview with the publication last year, he described his journey with exercise as ‘one of the most spiritually enlightening experiences’ of his life. 

‘My journey with exercise this year has been one of the most spiritually enlightening experiences of my entire life,’ he said.

‘I once was a man who couldn’t do more than a single push-up let alone a pull-up. In the month of October 2020, I racked up 1,500 pull-ups and 7,000 push-ups. On Halloween alone, I pushed out 575! 

‘I remember being able to do five push-ups in a row and believing it was a miracle. I could never have gotten into the best shape of my life at 38 years old if I hadn’t been consistent.’

Getting there: Kenny, pictured 90 days sober, says he has become a better father and husband since he quit drinking

Getting there: Kenny, pictured 90 days sober, says he has become a better father and husband since he quit drinking

Progress: Kenny, pictured six months sober, lost a lot of weight early on in his recovery when he switched to a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet

Progress: Kenny, pictured six months sober, lost a lot of weight early on in his recovery when he switched to a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet

Kenny began drinking heavily when he was a 350lb college student, but he didn’t initially feel the effects of the booze because of his size. That all changed when he lost 147lbs – nearly half of his body weight. 

Two years after meeting his wife Julie in December 2007, Kenny’s drinking started to become a daily habit, and she pleaded with him to get a handle on the addiction. 

The railway engineer would spend every day getting drunk, polishing off at least 20 beers a day. Sometimes he would even hide boxes of wine in his family bathroom and lock himself in there to drink it.

But in November 2016, after waking up from another night spent blind drunk, Kenny swore to change his ways. 

‘I kept drinking without intending to get drunk,’ he recalled. ‘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.’

On his final drunken night, Kenny filmed himself vowing that he would stop drinking, saying he had a ‘sickness’ that was stopping him from being a good father and husband. He kept the footage private until two years ago.   

‘I sometimes still go back and watch that video, and it’s hard to look at,’ he said.

‘Now I’m the father and husband I always wanted to be. 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 behavior, but I was still responsible for my actions.

Transformation: Kenny is pictured two years sober

Transformation: Kenny is pictured three years sober

Transformation: Kenny is pictured two years sober (left) and three years sober (right)

He described his journey with exercise as 'one of the most spiritually enlightening experiences' of his life. He is pictured four years sober

He described his journey with exercise as ‘one of the most spiritually enlightening experiences’ of his life. He is pictured four years sober

‘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.’

After reaching out to a friend and former alcoholic, Kenny enrolled in a 12-step program that he still attends today. 

Kenny said that not only is he a better father and husband now, but he looks and feels like a completely different person. He also saved more than $36,000 that he would have spent on booze. 

‘It’s completely different now, I’m a completely different person,’ he said. ‘The recovery has changed my life.

‘My relationship has improved so much and I’m so proud of my son. He’s so good at everything he does and everything he tries to do. He does all these things and if I was still drinking I wouldn’t be able to be there for him and support.

‘I intend to never drink again but we take each day at a time,’ he added. ‘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.’

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