Man celebrates 40 years of sobriety by walking from Butte to Anaconda

Posted at 2:09 PM, Feb 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-01 16:39:50-05

BUTTE — "Well, look at that beautiful creek,” said Jim Fay, as he walked a path near the town of Rocker.

Fay enjoys a nice walk every now and then. But, on this day, he’s walking from Butte all the way to Anaconda. This is how he wanted to celebrate his 40th anniversary of sobriety.

“It’s a chance for meditation, and to think, and to kind of takes some time away, and be at peace, and be by myself and achieve some serenity in my life,” said Fay.

He decided to make the nearly 25-mile walk to mark the place he decided to get sober 40 years ago. It happened when Fay was stopped by another motorist that noticed he was driving poorly after a party. Jim decided to sleep in car, and the next morning he quit drinking for good.

“I attribute it to angels or a higher power, because I don’t know, it’s like God picked somebody and put them in that place to flag me down and I don’t know how that every happened,” said Fay.

As a retired counselor for Montana Chemical Dependency Center, Fay enjoys helping others recovering from alcoholism.

“Some people think when they quit drinking they’re going to lose all their joy in their life, but you only lose your joy if you give it away,” he said.

They say that when you’re trying to stay sober you take it one day at a time, and Jim’s walk is almost a metaphor for that same journey – one step at a time.

“Sobriety is a life-long process and it’s a journey. They say life is not an event, it’s a journey and a journey is walking, it’s taking what you need and leaving behind what you don’t need,” said Fay.

The walk took him about eight hours to complete, and he and his wife were expected to celebrate the feat with a steak dinner.