A Clean Start


Motivated by his childhood experiences, Christian Butler seeks to help addicts come clean at New Start Recovery in Southern California.

You walk into New Start Recovery a broken person. Your addiction—to prescription painkillers, or maybe heroin—has scrambled your thinking and burned your bridges.

The staff stays close by to keep you safe and on track even as withdrawal has you hallucinating. Post-detox, the hotel-quality facilities host you and your unwanted guests—guilt and shame—for a month’s stay. Through family therapy, you find a way to apologize for what your disease made you do. After you leave, you may experience the darkest days of your life, but New Start has taught you strategies to cope. You’re ready to be on your own.

You return months later to say I’m clean.

And it’s that moment, says Christian Butler ’12, that keeps his staff coming back.

Butler began as a clinical supervisor at the Orange County, California, chemical dependency treatment program in 2016 and was promoted to program director last year. He oversees staff therapists, planning and community outreach, and makes time to golf alongside clients at a nearby course run by a man who is in recovery.

Butler’s motivation is personal: As a child, he witnessed the devastating effects of substance abuse when his father became addicted to drugs and lost everything.

“You don’t know what to make of it as a kid; my dad was still the same guy who took me to my baseball games,” says Butler. “I understand what addiction does to the person and to the family. I want to put a stop to generations of turmoil.”

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