AFTER years of getting into trouble with the police and being in and out of prison, Jamie Butler gave up alcohol, but soon the father-of-four found other ways to escape.

“I decided enough was enough and put the drink down but I couldn’t really live sober as there was no structure in my life, so I turned to drugs.”
Cannabis, cocaine and diazapam turned into “heavier drugs” for the 36-year-old, who recognised he was on the road to becoming another statistic.

Mr Butler was “brought to his knees” after around six months of heavy drug use which saw him live a “false life outside the home” while his wife held down a good job and looked after their children. But his wife, whom he has been with since he was 15, “saw something” in him and stayed by his side supporting him in his recovery.

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It was a seizure that left Mr Butler, from Glasgow, with no feeling in his legs that represented his turning point after his best friend persuaded him to attend Alcholics Anonymous.

“I was worried about the damage I’d done so even though at that time drugs was my problem, he came to see me and said he’d take me to a meeting.”

Knowing what he stood to lose, Mr Butler attended daily meetings. “When I went I met guys who had walked the path I’d walked and they changed my life completely,” he said.

The first time he went to prison, he was 18. He served four years before having eight months added for escaping from Polmont Young Offenders Institution when he was drunk.

He said: “When I drink I can’t control my actions and before you know it I woke up in my own house and I don’t know how I got from Falkirk to Glasgow.”

After losing his father in 2009, Mr Butler’s life spiralled out of control. The two were close and worked together in the family building firm.

“After he died there was a void in my life and I didn’t know how to cope with my feelings. That’s when I started going downhill and taking drugs and overdoses. Before I knew it I was on my knees begging for help.”

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Now a recovery worker for drugs charity Addaction, Mr Butler set up Maryhill Milan football team in 2017 to help others in recovery. The team that is “more like a family” is reaching people, but without funding it won’t be able to continue its good work.

It has been through the team that some of  the players have been able to admit to problems with substance abuse.

Since starting the club with no funds it has climbed from the bottom of Division 3 to challenging for the Division 1 title. Last month it lifted the League’s Brothers in Arms Vase Cup with a 3-0 victory.

Mr Butler wants drug users to know that, “if you push through those fears, a life lies on the other side. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and before you know it you’ve got happiness in your life.

“The biggest thing I ever got in recovery was peace. In my home, my kids are all happy, my wife’s happy. It’s not just been my own recovery but all of my family’s.

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“I came from a good home, there was nothing up with my childhood. It was more the area. For me I just wanted to do what other people were doing. 

“It’s very easy in Glasgow to get mixed up in it. You’ve got choices in life and you’ve just got to hope you make the right choices.”

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