Man celebrates sobriety with hike across U.S.


FORT MITCHELL, Ala. — Tuesday, a man who suffered from addiction for more than 30 years is walking across the U.S. in an effort to promote awareness.

He’s celebrating 16 months of sobriety Tuesday and he happened to make a stop in the Chattahoochee Valley.

“Here I come Columbus!”

Meet Jim Downs of Florida. We caught up with him in Fort Mitchell as he was headed towards Columbus. He began his walk across the U.S. February first in Panama City, Florida and it’s all in an effort to promote awareness about addiction.

“It started when I was 12-years-old…well eleven: smoking, stealing, my parents cigarettes, which immediately graduated to stealing beers. At the age of 14 I did my first line of methamphetamine,” says Downs

Downs say addiction in his adult life started to take a turn for the worse.

“Never been particular. If somebody put any drug in front of me I would do it. I would try it. You put it in front of me, it would be like a buffet to me, I didn’t care,” says Downs.

Downs says, his life changed forever in 2015.

“Went in to recovery October 19th, 2015. I don’t know why.I was not a believer in God. I was God-hater and the only program that would accept me was a free faith-based program,” says Downs.

Downs says during his recovery he met a man who became his best friend. Sadly the friend relapsed and eventually died of an overdose.

“I’ve learned how to surrender and listen to that voice and I realize that I knew the beginning process, the during process of addiction through myself, but I didn’t know what the end process was… The end result..and that was death,” says Downs.

Downs says he’s walking across America to prove that with the help of God, every one can overcome any thing.

Downs is expected to complete almost 300 miles ending his addiction awareness hike in Canada. He says he’s slated to finish some time this summer.

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