Success Stories

Personal Stories of Recovery


For Kelvin Butler, Hope is Real

Stairways' HOPE is Real award-winner conquered addiction and embraces his position of role model to others

Kelvin Butler grew up in Crawford County as one of seven children, assuming at a young age the responsibility of male role model for the entire family. Unfortunately, along with the responsibilities of an adult decision maker came adult pressures and expectations. At the age of 13 Kelvin took his first drink of alcohol and discovered its power to make him feel better about himself. Kelvin never thought that drinking was a problem. After all, he watched his family and everyone else drink with no consequences. But as high school turned to college, alcohol took more of his time than his studies, and Kelvin was forced to drop out.

Kelvin got his first DUI in 1988. Two more followed. During these years of his life, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia,and Kelvin found himself drinking to stop the voices and hallucinations.

When I finally met Kelvin, he was just coming out of the hospital. His years of alcohol abuse were causing major medical issues. Kelvin talked with me about being so tired of his life. He did not have good relationships with family or friends. A real veteran of failed attempts at sobriety, Kelvin had been through 13 rehab programs and 21 detox facilities. He was involved with the CROMISA (Community Reintegration of Offenders with Mental Illness and Substance Abuse) program, but was profoundly unhappy with his life and straining to find direction.

Kelvin has been a client at the Stairways Forensic Outpatient Clinic for two and a half years. It has been my great pleasure to assist him in setting and pursuing the goals of learning more about his mental health diagnosis and proper medication – and to watch him blossom into the role model he always knew he could be.

Kelvin has graduated from the CROMISA program, and continues to make great strides in our weekly therapy sessions. He is 19 months sober, and active in his recovery. He is involved in Alcoholics Anonymous, has begun to sponsor other members, and does service work at the Alcanon Club to promote its mission. Kelvin has served as a group leader at the Stairways Dual Diagnosis Clinic, and continues to promote recovery on a daily basis.

Kelvin gives hope to many of his fellow clients at our clinic, showing that with hope you can overcome many obstacles in your life. No longer does he let his mental health or addiction control his life. He now has his own apartment, pays his own bills, and is able to live a productive life in the community.

It is breathtaking as a clinician to see a client excel before your eyes and do extraordinary things to make his life better. I am happy to nominate Kelvin, and know that he is a great example of someone who put hope into action, achieving success from his determination and drive. - KARI THOMPSON, MS, Forensic Outpatient Therapist

(Photo above, L-R: Supporter Vanessa Norton-Booker, Stairways Case Manager Frankie Rodriguez, Kelvin Butler, Stairways Therapist Kari Thompson)



"Stairways helped me to work on recovery, one step at a time." -Ron S

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