From Junkie to Judge: Recovery without God

Retired judge Mary Beth O’Connor

11 a.m., January 29, 2023

Join the Humanist Forum, in person OR on Zoom.

This Sunday we welcome retired judge Mary Beth O’Connor as she joins us in the Mountain View Community Center.

Mary Beth will describe her long history of injecting methamphetamine. She will describe how she responded when her rehab ordered her to comply with the God-based approach of Alcoholics Anonymous and how she built a secular recovery program. Mary Beth then will provide an overview of substance use disorder and treatment options. This will include six peer support groups and a study comparing the efficacy of several of them. She will explain the benefits of building a personalized recovery program and the obstacles to doing so. Mary Beth will provide recovery resources and take questions.

Bio: In her memoir, From Junkie to Judge: One Woman’s Triumph Over Trauma and Addiction, Mary Beth shares her three-phase journey. The abuse and trauma that drove her to shoot methamphetamine at 17, the chaos from her addiction, and how she developed a personalized recovery plan, without a higher power, that led to twenty-nine years of sobriety thus far.

Mary Beth is a Board Member for She Recovers Foundation and a Director for LifeRing Secular Recovery. She regularly speaks on behalf of these organizations and about multiple and secular paths to recovery. She had an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, “I Beat Addiction without God,” and one in Recovery Today, “How I Attained 28 Years Sobriety by Rejecting my Rehab’s Submit to AA Order.”

Professionally, 6 years into recovery, Mary Beth attended Berkeley Law. She worked at a large firm, then litigated class actions for the federal government. In 2014 she was appointed a federal Administrative Law Judge from which position she retired in 2020.


230129 Mary Beth O’Connor from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.

You can attend our forums in person with fellow humanists in the Maple Room of the Mountain View Community Center at 201 S Rengstorff Ave, Mountain View. Lunch will be served after the forum. We request a $10 donation for lunch.
If you attend in person, COVID protocols will be followed. Vaccinations and masks will be required. If you have symptoms that may be COVID, kindly attend on Zoom (see below).


Also, we will continue to present our forums on Zoom. To join and be able to ask questions and make comments, click here.
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