For Mary Beth O’Connor, childhood abuse and other traumas led to substance use disorder (addiction).
Beginning with alcohol at age 12, she spent several years abusing various drugs. She found methamphetamine at 16 and started shooting up at 17. Mary Beth struggled with meth until she was 32 years old. By incorporating ideas from multiple sources to build a secular (not 12-step or faith based) recovery plan that works for her, Mary Beth has been sober since 1994. She used similar techniques to address the trauma and related anxiety as well.
Mary Beth is a board member for LifeRing Secular Recovery and She Recovers Foundation. She speaks on behalf of these organizations, about multiple paths to recovery, and about all topics related to substance use disorder and recovery. She also speaks about sexual abuse and rape, child abuse, domestic violence, ptsd, anxiety, and recovering from these as well.
Mary Beth’s award-winning memoir, From Junkie to Judge: One Woman’s Triumph Over Trauma and Addiction, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bamm, Indie Bound, and other sites, and at your local bookstore. She also has placed essays in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and Recovery Today.
Professionally, 6 years into recovery, Mary Beth attended Berkeley Law. She worked at a large firm in Silicon Valley, then litigated class actions for the federal government. In 2014, Mary Beth was appointed a federal Administrative Law Judge, a position from which she retired in 2020.