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Why I Chose a Clean and Sober Life (at 22 Years-Old): In Photos


February 2015

IMG_6522 IMG_6507 IMG_6543 IMG_6395 IMG_6410 IMG_6300 IMG_6162 IMG_6128 IMG_6311 IMG_6202 IMG_6268 IMG_6317 IMG_4653 IMG_5389 IMG_6181 IMG_5168 IMG_6399Rewards of Sobriety

Nobody wants to admit defeat to something as innocuous as a bottle of beer when they’re just 22 invincible years old – I didn’t. The truth was though, if I wanted to make anything of myself my lack of control once I took a drink was going to have to be dealt with. I chose the Twelve Step method because it works, no matter what detractors might say. Or more technically correct, it works if you work it. I spent the next half of my life trying to be the best, most useful person I could be, to God and my fellow members of “the program”.

I managed to pick up along the way, a most amazing wife, two glorious daughters, have a decent couple of vehicles that I can be fairly sure won’t break down tomorrow (they’re both new and under warranty), I have a great house with a wonderful two-acre yard and live in the country where cycling is exceedingly safe, easy and tolerated. I am fit, active and healthy. The promises, a guarantee if they’re worked for, have far exceeded my expectations and even my dreams.

At the heart of the program’s (and ultimately my) success is a simple truth: If you sober up a horse thief, a horse thief you still have. If I were to simply quit drinking, cold turkey, no help, at 22… I still would have been a mess with only my best thinking as a guide (my best thinking at the time sucked, in the event you didn’t get that already). The Twelve Steps, worked, are a path to betterment and the people in the program are a part of that as well – imagine a course at a university where the professors outnumbered the students six to one. That’s AA.

Of course, it’s not always perfect, not much in life is, but it sure beat trying to go at this alone.

The photos above were taken just from the last couple of years, they don’t come anywhere close to encompassing all of the awesomeness I’ve experienced over the last 22 years, it would take a whole lot more photos than I could fit in one simple blog post to cover that but sobering up young, and learning how to be a productive member of society comes with rewards too great to quantify.  It’s a reverse country song, and for that I am grateful.  What was once loneliness, misery and hopelessness, with time and a whole lot of work, has become happiness, joy and giving.

For anyone who would wonder, “Why choose to sober up young?”, put simply, it’s like cheating.  I’ve had 22 years to right a sinking ship, I’m in the beginning of my most productive years on this planet and I have all of the tools necessary to make the best life I can.


  1. Kecia says:

    Those look like a LOT of really good reasons to me 😉

  2. whiskeyj says:

    Well done on making the choice at such a young impressionable age. There are so many great reasons not to drink

  3. Sue Slaght says:

    That sums it up beautifully.

  4. You picked great motivation! In a way, what you chose was life over death. That would sober me.

    • bgddyjim says:

      You’re right, and way more than this post lets on… My doctor gave me till I was 30 before my liver gave out completely. I’ll be able to live till old-fart-dom now though.

      Thanks man.

  5. Amazing stuff Jim. Well stated and congrats on a wonderful 22 years!
    I wish I was 22 instead of 40 to hit that wall, but at least i got there. Not all do. Some go the gates of insanity or death, as they say. And you nailed it about working it. Taking a seat and hoping to get the message via osmosis doesn’t work – taking the suggested steps is what did it for me.

    thank you for all that you share here. I get a lot out of it.


    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks Paul… I’m a fortunate guy to have accepted my alcoholism when I did, there’s no doubt about that but I’m also a firm believer in the truth that I’m not special for choosing to do so – we all have to go through whatever it is that gets us to our bottom so we can be done. That you made it at all is awesome – and at 40, you were still a young buck walking through the door. Your home group is lucky to have such a positive guy.

  6. Good for you! It looks like you have a happy, clean life.

  7. louvic says:

    Your photos look amazing and clearly very healthy!

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