A recovering alcoholic from Vancouver, Washington, is celebrating four years sober. After making the decision to quit drinking, the man underwent an epic mind and body transformation that has resulted in a new lease on life.
On Nov. 2, Kenny Dunn shared incredible side-by-side selfies on Instagram in a bid to celebrate his progress and motivate others. “The Progression of Sobriety, 24 hours vs 4 years,” he captioned. “One day at a time.”
When he entered recovery in 2016, Dunn, now 38, was drinking up to 24 drinks a day and blacking out weekly. The addiction took root back when Dunn was a 350-pound (approx. 159-kilogram) college student but spun out of control in 2009.
Dunn’s drinking and wild mood swings became too much for his wife, Julie, to handle. She begged him to quit, but even after reaching a year sober, Dunn would relapse.
Due to his addiction, Dunn would say hurtful things to his wife and not even remember the next day what he said that would lead her to weep.
“I was remorseful, but I didn’t even know what I did,” Dunn, a railway engineer, told Best Life. “It was almost as if another person was controlling me.”
However, in 2016, Dunn felt desperate until a wakeup call stirred him into drastic action. One night after putting his son, Parker, to bed, Dunn decided to not drink more than three beers but instead ended up drinking 19 beers in three hours.
The next day, sick, shocked, and riddled with guilt, Dunn then reached out to a friend who had become sober for a year and asked for her help. The friend drove him to a 12-step meeting, where he found hope for the first time in years.
At meetings, Dunn gained the support he needed to understand his addiction and the tools he needed to problem-solve without resorting to alcohol.
To complement the program, Dunn threw himself into a radical diet-and-lifestyle overhaul. Early into recovery, he began following a ketogenic diet, which made him lose a lot of weight. He began understanding how carbs were beneficial when eaten in smaller quantities.
“I spent most of my life battling a sugar addiction and like most Americans, I was obese as a result,” Dunn told Bored Panda. “Once I had detoxed myself from sugar and carbs, I was able to see more clearly which carbs were good for my body and which ones were bad.”
Additionally, Dunn has also been doing Yoga workouts, dumbbell lifting, kettlebell lifting, and riding an exercise bike. Dunn’s workout routine is the antithesis of his previously sedentary drinking days.
Uniting with six other men on their own fitness journeys, the group coined itself a nickname: “Team Savages.” Dunn described his exercise journey as one of the most “spiritually enlightening” experiences of his life.
“I could never have gotten into the best shape of my life at 38 years old if I hadn’t been consistent,” he reflected. “Being held accountable to my workouts every single day was a major obstacle at first, but today it feels as natural as waking up and making breakfast.”
“I once was a man who couldn’t do more than a single push-up let alone a pull-up,” Dunn added. “In the month of October 2020, I racked up 1,500 pull-ups and 7,000 push-ups.”
“I’m sure it sounds like a lot,” Dunn reflected, thinking of his diet and exercise overhaul, “but it will never add up with the amount of time I wasted drunk on the couch.”
The husband and father of one also saved more than US$36,000 since 2016 that he would have spent on alcohol, according to the Daily Mail.
In addition to all the changes he experienced, he also wishes to help others achieve their sobriety goals, and he thus decided to start a podcast.
The former addict’s “What’s Next? Evolving in Recovery Podcast” has one published episode to date. Dunn is on the lookout for future guests who are living their best lives and wish to share their stories.
“Now I’m the father and husband I always wanted to be,” Dunn told the Daily Mail. “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.”
“I intend to never drink again but we take each day at a time,” he reflected. “My entire life revolves around recovery, and because of that I believe I won’t do it again.”