LUKE DUTTON: My Enthusiasm, My Smiling Face

LUKE DUTTON:

My Enthusiasm, My Smiling Face

Saturday was Luke Dutton’s 36th birthday.

And when I spoke with him earlier this week, he told me, “My mother had my funeral planned before I was 30.”

Contrast was clear to me, though, when he said, “my main message is where I am today with my hope, my enthusiasm, my smiling face, and my character shining through.”

Luke is indeed a shining example of transformation.

Four years ago he jumped off a high rise apartment building. He meant to end his life. His survival started his transformation, but it wasn’t without lots of bumps. He still planned his death “many times,” and always while under the influence of alcohol or some kind of drug.

Luke says, “I have quite a hyper personality.” He says that with his hands waving about. “I’m just very passionate and enthusiastic about this sort of stuff,” referring to his ongoing recovery from severe depression and substance abuse.

“I say that with such a buzz, a light of fire,” at least that’s what I think he said. I struggled to understand his “broad northwest” British accent with which he pronounced “everything” as “every fing” and “brother” as “bruhver.” And it endears him to me even more.

“But ultimately, I only elected to change because I wanted to. Because I accept myself for who I am, and every day, I wake up grateful!”

Ask For Help

As a personal recovery coach and licensed psychotherapist, I help men every day who make truly courageous decisions.

Unfortunately, they got to places that were so bad that they had no other choice but to ask for help. Some still wouldn’t ask and only grudgingly accepted it.

“Yes, I wish I did get help [much earlier]. I wish I did speak out at the time. But because I was embarrassed . . . there’s a stigma about mental health. There’s some sort of pride, you know, insecurity about speaking of mental health.”

But Luke got over that, and he got over it with a vengeance.

“I’m quite proud to share my story and to give an honest assessment of where I’ve been and where I’m at today.”

The literature Luke was shown to help him rework his life includes this promise:

You will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

“I don’t regret my past because . . . I actively help and contribute to saving lives. When I do, then I’m sending a message of hope.”

And hope is what Luke Dutton is full of!

He posts on his Facebook account multiple stories of encouragement and inspiration every day.

Twelve years ago, Luke was a champion bodybuilder in the UK. He was ultra strict in his training regimen.

But that was because he wanted to stand out and get positive attention. It had little to do with true fitness. He had a dysfunctional childhood, was bullied in his early teens, and didn’t feel loved or even accepted. He said, “I never, ever had arms around me from my dad and heard, I love you, son.”

He’s quick to say none of that justified his getting into drugs and drink, but I didn’t take it as such.

Explanation vs. Justification

There’s a difference between justification and simple explanation.

I took it as an explanation of why Luke made choices that nearly cost him his life. We risk sounding like we’re defending and justifying ourselves when we try to explain why we did something.

We can fall into the justification trap when we answer what sounds like an honest question.

“Why did you do that??” a wife questions her husband after he’s only been merely thoughtless or when he has seriously injured her trust in him. The confusion is in his wife not actually wanting an answer to her question, “why.” She more than likely only wants to feel heard that his behavior really hurt her.

I regularly encourage my clients to respond to such questions as if they were statements (such as, “I’m very hurt that you did that.”). If he gives an explanation, it’s almost certain to sound like a justification. He’s better off saying something like, “you must be very hurt by what I did. I was completely thoughtless, and I’m very sorry.”

I’m not suggesting you ignore your wife if she actually wants an answer about “why.” If that’s the case, just make it clear that you’re about to give an explanation, which might sound like a justification, but that is not your intention.

Alternatively, you might simply share your hesitation about answering directly, “I hesitate to say why I did that because the explanation is likely to sound like a justification, and that’s not my intention.”

In Luke’s case, I didn’t feel he was justifying his use of drugs because of his life circumstances. Instead, it illustrates for me how fragile we all are, and how I can be more alert to treating people with understanding and encouragement.

You’ll see below how naturally Luke is developing this character trait.

How to Prevent Your Own Defensiveness

Recently, one of my grad students voiced concern about future clients making hurtful or objectionable comments. She asked how we, as therapists, can stay understanding and not get rattled by clients.

I told her that if we think about ourselves in that moment, we will become defensive. But if we think about the client, their experience, their pain, their questions, their losses, their personal world, then we will more naturally accept them compassionately. This is summed up in the popular quote,

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

People like Luke Dutton are learning this from actual experience.

“I’ve felt hopelessness. I’ve felt worthlessness.” When he hears despair in someone, then he says they’re reaching out to him, “and there’s hope in that right there, isn’t it?”

If you recognize worthlessness “in someone, put your arm around them. Be as approachable as possible. Understanding and empathy make a very powerful world.” Luke thinks men struggle to reach out more than women because “they feel a bit of pride about it, you know. Whether it’s substance misuse, depression, mental health issues, ultimately, there’s help out there on every avenue.

“There are professional counsellors, psychotherapists, support groups, personal coaches,” but Luke turns no one away. He’s the first to admit he’s still learning and growing, but he’s now attentive to others’ needs. He’s mindful to stop and listen . . . and wait until that hurting person says something.

How did Luke become so other-focused?

“Well it’s funny, we chatted the other night.” Luke’s was talking with his recovery mentor. “I’d written the word “integrity” down in my literature,” his notes from his recovery studies, “and he said, Luke, he said, Google that word.” Luke thought it meant something very different.

“So okay, Google dictionary. And it says something along the lines of adherence to moral principles, loyalty, honesty, and all that sort of stuff.

“And ultimately, that’s something I’ve never shown. I’ve never shown it to other people. And, you know, it needs to start with yourself, I believe, Kevin. It needs to start with me.”

What Kind of Lows Did Luke Experience?

“So there was things that was legal. I mean, in the UK, things called “legal highs” had come out.” Around ten years ago, “there was chemical compounds, stimulant-related drugs that was made from fertilizer, and very, very cheap. Synthetic substances that cost very little money and had very big effects.”

From 2010 to 2013, Luke was getting high every week on about $50 for a weekend. “And honestly, I went from Friday night to Monday night without sleeping, high on this legal substance.” Even though they conducted drug tests at work, these cheap drugs weren’t detected.

“I spent about three years not sleeping from Friday to Monday.”

What others were spending on a week’s worth of food, Luke was spending on these synthetic street drugs in a weekend. “But I was still getting by. It’s not like, for example, crack cocaine that cost a lot of money. I was earning quite a low wage at the time, but I was self sufficient.”

Or so he thought.

“But I had a very detrimental habit. And that’s why my mental health depreciated. Sleep is imperative” to good health. “To go two or three years without sleep for sometimes 72 hours every week, you know, it hit mental health real bad.” In addition to this, Luke was training heavily as a bodybuilder taking these substances “in addition to steroids and performance enhancing supplements.

“It was just a massive, massive, burning the candle at both ends.”

And that was a few years before he even first tried to commit suicide.

Yet, today Luke says, “I’ve never felt so strong physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

“I would encourage anybody with any sort of mental health or addiction-related issues, if they’re not happy with life, then that’s when you accept help. Follow what others [who know better] tell you to do.”

Contentment

I asked Luke about his tattoos. He paused briefly and turned to his left forearm. “I say this with great pride, even to tears,” and I heard emotion in his voice as he read to me,

The hardest part is not finding what we need to be. It’s being content with who we are.

Luke got that tattoo about ten years ago when he was arrogant and full of false confidence. “ . . . but I can truly look at this now and say I’m content with who I am as a person.”

Luke has another tattoo across his chest that says, Even the best fall sometimes.

“So my message is that, no matter who you are, what you’ve got, what you’ve been through,” even with “commodities and luxuries . . . you fall down.

“But what you need to do is dust yourself down, get back up, and start again. And no matter how many times you do that, you keep doing it.

“It’s like seeing your children learning to walk, they fall down 1001 times and they keep getting up until they get it. And I think if you put that analogy into life, then I think that’s a good starting point.”

I think that’s a good starting point, too.

It’s a good place to begin making courageous decisions, decisions that will transform your life, just like Luke Dutton did.

  1. LouAnn Jackson

    LouAnn Jackson

    October 4, 2021 at 5:16 pm -
    Reply

    I see that this interview was in February of this year. I read recently on Facebook that Luke had another setback and is in a vegetative state for the remainder of his life. Do you know how he’s doing?! My interest in Luke came from my niece being in an online “relationship” with a guy who says his real name is Luke Dutton but now goes by Jude Ashworth because so many people are “scamming him and using his identity for relationships with other women.” This man is using Luke’s photos and job titles and we all know he’s scamming my niece but we can’t convince her. We live in Indiana USA, where this man also says he lives in the USA.

    1. Kevin

      Kevin

      November 10, 2021 at 4:38 pm -
      Reply

      LouAnn, I wasn’t aware of any of this. Thank you for the information–I was wondering why I hadn’t seen Luke on FB. This is so sad! Do you know if he was in an accident or was it an aneurism or something?

      1. Kat

        Kat

        January 27, 2023 at 9:20 am -
        Reply

        Unfortunately Luke took an overdose and passed away peacefully

  2. Anne Clark

    Anne Clark

    November 7, 2021 at 2:11 am -
    Reply

    Your pics are being used on Facebook dating

    1. Kevin

      Kevin

      November 10, 2021 at 4:39 pm -
      Reply

      Thank you, Anne, I know Luke was having this problem for a while with his images being used.

  3. Jackie Felder

    Jackie Felder

    November 10, 2021 at 2:22 pm -
    Reply

    How is he doing now? And his family?

  4. Jackie Fey

    Jackie Fey

    November 10, 2021 at 6:38 pm -
    Reply

    Same thing happened to me about 10 months ago, met a man on Facebook with these photos, but went by the name John frank, did not scam me but more of a online Romance scam, I also live in the USA, he does continue to call and text every day, but who he is really? I don’t know

  5. Tammy Hagger

    Tammy Hagger

    November 13, 2021 at 7:14 am -
    Reply

    I was happy to find out and read these comments, as the same situation happened to my daughter. Of a Scammer using Likes photos calling himself Melvin Carlos. I do send the real Luke Duttons family prayers and strength, as regretfully when you go onto his FB account you can view comments about his condition. Because of the usage of his photos has also been posted on FB under Catfish Scammers

  6. Holly Sours

    Holly Sours

    April 15, 2022 at 7:18 pm -
    Reply

    I found his real name on this site, while doing a reverse image search. No, I have not been scammed. But I do volunteer with a group that hunts and reports scammers. This is the latest update on Luke, posted by his brother on March 19, 2022………….”Just to keep everyone who knew Luke updated, we have had his final assessment/ meeting with his Dr this week and the results showed he’s got no awareness of himself or his surroundings at all.
    With this information the doctor has moved onto the next stage of the process, once the legal side of things have taken place it will be time to say goodbye.”

    1. s

      s

      June 12, 2022 at 11:00 pm -
      Reply

      I am heartbroken, as I was just scammed by a man using Luke’s photos. I just found out today who the photos really belong to and then I read the bad news. I am heartbroken and grieving over Luke! And now to hear this news is traumatizing for me! He is a Beautiful man! My scammer has hurt me so badly – I will always love Luke! I was pretty sure I had a scammer, but I just didn’t want to believe it. I did so many searches and for some reason never came up with the info others did. I am so sorry for Luke’s family – i know what depression is like, I have lives it everyday for decades now. Luke was what I thought was my ray of light.I hope you find peace and I also hope for peace in myself.
      I will always see his amazing smile in my mind and heart! Fly free Luke and I will meet you in paradise one sweet day ❤️

      1. Marta

        Marta

        November 8, 2022 at 4:53 pm -
        Reply

        Hope you have found your peace in your soul now, Luke! R.I.P🙏

  7. Meredith Hines

    Meredith Hines

    April 25, 2022 at 1:38 pm -
    Reply

    Holly thanks for the update. I hate that someone is out there using his likeness. It happened to me and the user was going by Jason Ferber on Instagram. It’s so sad.

    1. Holly Sours

      Holly Sours

      April 28, 2022 at 9:21 pm -
      Reply

      It is very sad. Sorry that it happened to you.

  8. Cheryl

    Cheryl

    June 18, 2022 at 3:52 am -
    Reply

    I was also scammed by a man calling himself Luke. Can I ask how they scammed you?

  9. Kevin Pearson

    Kevin Pearson

    August 9, 2022 at 4:19 pm -
    Reply

    Goodnight Luke , thoughts with your family

  10. Crystal Wood

    Crystal Wood

    October 22, 2022 at 1:42 pm -
    Reply

    People are still out there using Luke’s pictures in romance scams. The newest one used the name Kevin Pitts Novelli. I’m saddened at the news of Luke’s health after seeing how he turned his life around. Many thoughts and prayers for his family.

  11. Emma B

    Emma B

    November 21, 2022 at 12:59 am -
    Reply

    Luke sadly passed away after 13 months in a coma, he was buried in September this year, sincere condolences to all of his family

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