Musician Matt Butler visited Hope Academy on May 6 to play some of his songs and share his story of recovery.
The Manhattan native celebrated six years of sobriety in April. He wrote a song for the documentary film “Generation Found,” about a movement in Houston to address an addiction epidemic among the city’s youth. Through that project he met Mario Diurno, who now serves as his tour manager.
“The song really took off and allowed us to go on the road. Since then we’ve done some really cool things,” said Diurno, including playing the Warped Tour last year.
During off-days and free time while on tour, Butler and Diurno, who celebrates five years of sobriety this year, bring their message of recovery to a variety of places, including prisons and treatment centers, through the Just One Foundation. They’ve visited other recovery high schools like Hope Academy, including Archway Academy in Houston, which is depicted in “Generation Found.”
Butler noted that when he was asked to write a song for “Generation Found,” he didn’t know that recovery high schools existed.
“I was amazed by that fact, and really moved to contribute to that film because of being someone in recovery as well,” he said. “I had a lot of problems when I was in high school and really struggled through that time in my life.”
In fact Butler said he was drinking heavily by his early teens and throughout his early days in music playing with a variety of punk bands. One song he played at Hope Academy was about the rat race he found himself in while abusing drugs, continually letting the people closest to him down and glimpsing the dim future he was racing toward. His old neighborhood has a mission that he’d walk past after many nights of substance abuse and see everyone lined up for help.
“It would strike me at that moment, that’s probably where I’m headed,” Butler said. “For a time I wasn’t going anywhere else but that.”