Before the Thrive Challenge, I pretty much hid behind alcohol. I basically went to work, came home, drank, and kept to myself. I lost connection with my family and friends. I was just a recluse. Getting sober and starting the Challenge came together at the same time. My wife and I realized that if we wanted a better life, we were going to have to make some changes. One day, I was sitting in the break room and behind me were the Thrive Challenge books. I grabbed one, took it home, and started reading it. There’s a lot of inspiration in people’s stories. So I decided to try it. 

I started by drinking a lot more water. 

It’s had a big impact. The majority of our body is water, so why not give some back? I also started eating more salads. We got ourselves an air fryer, and I’ve been wearing that thing out. I never knew I could be such a good cook! One of my favorites is cooking salmon in the air fryer, along with a Caesar salad — so good!

I work out three to four times a week.

I have my fitness app set for 10,000 steps a day, but typically get 15,000 to 20,000. I feel more energetic. I am ready to rock and roll from day to day.

July 30 was 18 months’ sober for us. 

We got married in June 2020, but unfortunately because of COVID, we couldn’t have a ceremony, so we pushed it off. But because we stopped drinking and started making better choices, we were able to save up enough money to have a wedding ceremony and spend two weeks in Hawaii for our honeymoon. We’re a month away from closing on our first home, and we have a baby on the way.

If it weren’t for us deciding to make changes in our lives, there is no way we would be able to do any of this. 

Now we’re having dinners together, chatting every day, and doing favors for each other. I’m happy at my job, I’m loving my wife, and every day is a blessing. I’m more aware of things. I get to spend time with my family, and actually be there.

Back in May, my nephew died in a car accident, and I’ve been helping his mom and his brother go through the grieving process. It’s taught me that you just don’t know if you have tomorrow, so you can’t take things for granted. I have so much more appreciation for the little things, just having a great job and having the ability to provide for my family. I have learned to appreciate the life I have.

—Thomas Thompson, Sam’s Club #8222, Johnson City, TN; $5K Winner

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