Participant Stories: Meet Dan

dan ward the buttery

A man who lives by The Buttery’s motto: Community as Method

Aged 47, Dan started using drugs at age 18 and operated in the world as a high-functioning addict for many years. Dan’s addiction issues were impacted further by a head injury and several dramatic life experiences. During his many travels & growing up overseas, Dan found himself in the throes of several natural disasters, including tropical cyclones while living the South Pacific in (1986), major earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand in (2011) and riots in Vanuatu in (1986).

While Dan managed to hold down high-profile jobs, held positions on boards and travelled extensively, he knew that he needed to make significant changes to how he was living. In 2019, Dan entered The Buttery’s Residential Therapeutic Community (TC) – a long-term rehabilitation program for adults addicted to drugs and alcohol.

“I got to a point where I needed to break the cycle and work out what was going on for me. I’d heard about The Buttery through the local community in Byron Bay and knew it was a long-term rehab program, which I felt I needed to break down and get to the centre of the issues.”

Dan completed a seven-month residential program and subsequently moved to a transition house for six months, where he eased back into work in a part-time capacity.

“I transitioned to working three days per week for approximately five months so that I didn’t overwhelm myself.”

The length and breadth of The Buttery’s Residential Therapeutic Community program and transition house allow you to transition back into society in a manner that is gentle in its journey and sets you up for a long and sustainable life without drugs.

Participating in The Buttery’s Residential Therapeutic Community program completely redefined the way Dan lives.

Dan is currently a volunteer driver for The Buttery and helps to fundraise money for different Buttery programs. He is also significantly involved with fellowship and holds a service position to facilitate a weekly NA meeting.

“I’m actively involved with The Buttery in many ways. I go to the Monday night meeting at Bangalow to meet with the participants, who get to know me and through my volunteer work as a bus driver. It’s about keeping in touch with The Buttery so that I can give back.”

Dan used his community contacts to help raise funds for the Therapeutic Community’s annual camp. His fundraising efforts also extended to collaborating with his employer to donate a BBQ valued at $1500 for The Buttery’s Outreach programs. Participating in The Buttery’s Residential Therapeutic Community program completely redefined the way Dan lives.

“The residential program is a small incubator of the wider community. You’re challenged to own your behaviour and to consider how you relate and communicate with people. While addiction is isolating, the residential program teaches you to connect to people and situations again and allows you to stop and look at certain behaviours.

“I now live by The Buttery’s motto, ‘Community as Method’. After leaving the program, I’ve continued to live by the ethos of giving back to the community in general and the NA community. This type of behaviour sets you up for life.”

In the future, Daniel plans to become a professional therapist to help other people experiencing mental health and alcohol and other substance abuse disorders.



The Buttery relies on the generosity of the community to fulfil its life-changing mission

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