“Now I have a brand new life…not just the old one polished up”

Now in recovery from addictions to gambling, alcohol and drugs, and having completed professional training, former Buttery resident John Kerr is helping other people choose a life of recovery over addiction. He is now a counsellor at The Buttery. John says he uses insights he gained as an addict during his late teens to his mid-thirties and what he learnt about his own recovery from addiction to help others.

“I drank, drugged and gambled for 20 years with many periods of trying to control or stop. A second bout of drug induced psychosis had brought me to my knees. I feared I would soon kill myself or someone else in the insanity. At 35, I was financially, emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. I had been beaten into a state where I became teachable and vowed to do whatever was suggested to lead me to recovery.

As it turned out, a counsellor suggested I go to The Buttery. The timeout of the day-to-day world I knew and fulltime immersion in a world of recovery was priceless.

The Buttery’s therapeutic model of living with other addicts supported by caring, dedicated staff, I believe, is without parallel. Facing the vast array of methods employed to daily challenge how I communicated and behaved in the world was confronting and revelatory. Over time, I learnt to feel again.

That such a place even existed and is widely supported by a conscious and caring local community was a balm to my wounded and toxic view of the world. I completed the program nourished and prepared for a brand new life, not just the old one polished up. I decided to stay in the Northern Rivers area and give back by way of volunteer work for a while. Having gained the necessary tertiary qualifications I am now in paid employment with The Buttery, now as a counsellor and team coordinator for The Buttery’s gambling counselling service.

I feel I have finally found a place in the world and have a full and fulfilling life. Thank you to everyone who contributes to the work of The Buttery in any way. Lives are saved and transformed by such kindness.”