A photo of a man before and after his alcohol addiction is going viral for his impressive transformation — both inside and out.
"One year of no alcohol has changed my life," wrote "Klamsykrawl" on Reddit. "I lost 53 pounds and I'm 1000 times happier. I tried to recreate my bloated pic."
Love What Matters picked up his story and posted the images to its Facebook page, where his photo garnered over 1,300 comments. In his Reddit post, he revealed how he went about the change — and how it was much more than a physical transformation.
He explained in the post that when he was drinking, "every day sucked," and one day he decided to quit. "The first week was hard," he wrote. "I wanted to drink, I couldn't sleep and I hated my body. I replaced all my drinking with eating whatever I wanted, but at least I wasn't drinking."
But, eventually, he replaced his eating with running: "I thought about Forrest Gump and how one day he just started running. Well one night that happened, it was a warm night and I felt like I was going to break through my skin, it was burning so bad with anxiety. I reached down pulled up on my laces and bolted out the door." He wrote that he was 33 years old at the time with "no running experience."
"From that moment," he wrote, "that's how i dealt with my anxiety. The next day I started the couch to 5k program that lasts 8 weeks." Klamsykrawl goes on to describe how he essentially replaced his alcohol addiction with fitness:
"Now I'm annoying and talk about being sober, and fitness and calories all the time. I turned into that guy, but at least I'm not drinking."
Overcoming addiction is not easy. Klamsykrawl mentioned it was hard for him, with his initial hurdle getting over replacing drinking with overeating.
ATTN: spoke with Erica Spiegelman, addiction and wellness specialist and author, about the hidden dangers of not dealing with the root of an addiction and how it can simply translate into another addiction — even if it's a healthier one, like exercise.
"First of all, it's called cross addiction," Speigelman explains. "Crossing an addiction is finding something else to distract [from the root of the addiction]. A lot of people get sober and then distract with food, exercise, shopping, chocolate, even a person — like if you get into a relationship and it becomes your main focus.
"So you have the find the core issues so we can heal those, so we don't mistakenly or subconsciously distract with something else. That is something that is very much real. Exercise addiction is something we see a lot, because it provides natural endorphins and you feel good, you feel clear, it's such a great meditation — but you just have to be really mindful."
Speigelman currently works at a treatment center, and is working with patients on an out-patient level, meaning those who have completed their in-patient rehab and are in the beginning of recovery. "A lot of them start running or exercising or going back to the gym, and they start really overdoing it," she says. "So to really hold them accountable and hold a balance, I teach them time management skills. [Like] 'only 40 minutes at the gym.' To make sure this doesn't get out of control."
As this man's transformation shows, sobriety doesn't begin with just stopping the addiction.
"It's stopping a negative habit and then building awareness. Awareness of behaviors, and creating healthy habits and healthy patterns. A healthy habit could be going to the gym," Spiegelman explains. But that's when accountability needs to come in because, "going to the gym for three hours — that's not going to serve you, that's going to deplete you, that's going to create more stress for you on your body. It's about creating awareness and honoring that. I always tell people, 'every day do something that honors your mind, body, and spirit, no matter what it is.' To do so is being aware."