Rod Butterss is beginning to open up about his past struggles with alcohol and the inner turmoil he experienced even during his tenure as president of St. Kilda Football Club in Australia. He had suffered from alcohol abuse for a decade until he found the strength in 2009 to enter into recovery from alcoholism.
Now five years sober, Butterss has started to discuss the masks he wore as an addict and how he has finally broken free from those masks to reveal his true self. He spent years in shame, self-loathing and denial while drinking but sobriety has given him the opportunity to finally escape his selfishness and pain.
Alcoholism in St. Kilda
As president of St. Kilda, Rod Butterss reveled in the nightlife and enjoyed the bars, clubs and restaurants in the area to the point of excess. After years of abuse, Butterss is finally speaking out through his first interview with the Herald Sun.
Butters was invited by his son, Campbell, to speak for his Inside Out Program which is a project to offer people an environment to deal with issues while discovering their passion and purpose. Butterss discussed his alcoholism for the first time publicly for the program.
He said that he became aware of his alcoholism about 10 years before he actually got clean. His awareness did not stop him from continued abuse because of a big problem with denial that stayed with him for years.
Butterss realized that everything in his life revolved around drinking and every mood he had called for a drink. He got involved in other substances but alcohol was his main problem that led to more abuse. In 2009 when Rod Butterss realized he needed to end his addiction, he went overseas to experience the kind of solitude that would help him work through the problem.
Hitting Rock Bottom
Butterss became president of St. Kilda in 2000 as a rich, confident, intelligent young man but his alcohol problem began to affect his work in the club. He knew his ability to function was less than optimal with such a tormenting problem that he dealt with every day.
He was still able to work and perform his job but ultimately he became swallowed by his alcoholism in 2007 when he was overthrown as president of the Saints, his second marriage ended and his business world suffered. The years from then until his recovery were very dark and full of turmoil.
He sold a business for $100 million in 2008 and he lost his mansion in Brighton valued at $25 million. He admits now that chasing after wealth and possessions never fulfilled him and as he grew unhappier in spite of his money he continued to drink.
His children loved him but were concerned about him in the years that he dealt with alcoholism. Being sober has improved his relationship with them making it more honest, deeper and more authentic. They have been empathetic towards him but at times were worried and afraid because of his unpredictable behavior.
At age 55, Butterss is comfortable in his newly sober lifestyle. He is beginning to rebuild his business and is involved in a non-profit organization working with others suffering from addiction.
He hopes to help and support others who are going through the denial and shame that he experienced in his alcoholism. His work in football has ended after losing the presidency but he has come to terms with the move away from football which he calls a small chapter in his life. He is ready to move on and enjoy his sober life free from the torment of the past.