The pattern for Lee Butler in his cocaine-fuelled years, he would start his binges on a Friday night through till Tuesday, still snorting everything he could get his hands on, drinking and generally feeling “paranoid and weird and wired”, all too familiar for many in today’s society.
Lee would be on a comedown by Wednesday or Thursday, telling himself this was the last time, and then Friday rolls around, and a few pints later, the vicious cycle would start all over again.
Thankfully for Lee, he has kicked the habit for four years now, all the while helping others kick their “cocaine beasts”, referring to the Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT), which he attributes to him beating his demons.
Before AVRT, Lee tried programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous, which is tried and tested and has helped millions of people worldwide, but the 12-step approach just wasn’t working for Lee. He was determined to beat the addiction, not as the first step says feel powerless to your addiction and battle it every day.
When this didn’t take with Lee, he stumbled across a charity. We Are With You, where he met Chris Farrell, who introduced him to the AVRT, which was created by an American ex-alcoholic Jack Trimpey, the technique he says is;
“effortless thinking skill that permits anyone to recover immediately and completely from alcohol or drugs”.
AVRT recognises two parts of you are battling one another; these are the rational voice and the addictive voice, the real you and the beast. Although this technique is not well known in rehab circles, Lee and his friend Marcus, another former addict, say 91% of people they help with AVRT stay clean.
Through the power of social media, the two of them have documented their journeys and unassumingly become role models for those seeking a clean life. Along with Marcus and a life coach called Wal, Lee called their service “three lads with three phones”. The rise in popularity of their informal service helping others has inspired them to make the service more binding, resulting in the three of them forming a community interest group called ‘Break Free’.
Lee dreams of building a place where former addicts can feel safe with a dry bar away from intoxicants, a place where professionals can give great advice, a chill-out café, pool table, live music so people can have a safe haven where they know support is available.
However, before they are eligible for government funding, they must first raise their own funding, which has begun with setting up a Just Giving page. Lee says;
“We have been doing it for free, but it’s not fair to ask other people, counsellors, people like that, to work for free.”
“The one message I want to get out there is one of hope. We talk about the pain, and that’s important, but it’s important for people to see that’s not all of it. There’s a way to break free from it for good.”