Mary Beth O'Connor Live at Colfax


Tattered Cover is pleased to welcome Mary Beth O'Connor to our Colfax location on May 17th at 6:00pm. She will be presenting her book, From Junkie to Judge: One Woman's Triumph Over Trauma and Addiction! This event is free to the public and no ticket is required for entry.


From a junkie addicted to methamphetamines to a federal judge, Mary Beth O’Connor’s memoir shares her inspiring journey from rock bottom to resilience as she forged a personal path to recovery from trauma and addiction.  

Searing, unsettling, and ultimately triumphant, Judge O'Connor's debut memoir takes readers on a wild ride through the rock-bottom underbelly of intravenous drug addiction to the hallowed halls of justice where she rose to the pinnacle of success as a federal judge.  With wit and unabashed honesty, O’Connor shares her remarkable three-phase journey: the abuse and trauma that drove her to teenage drug use, the chaos that ensued from her addiction; and how she developed a personalized secular recovery plan that led to twenty-nine years of sobriety. Her story proves any addict can recover and anyone can build a productive and happy life, no matter how low the bottom or how deep the pain. 

Within a week of being born, O’Connor was dropped off at a convent. When she was brought into her home, her mother focused on her own needs and desires, ignoring her young child. When she was nine, her stepfather kicked her in the stomach for spilling milk, beat her when she didn’t clean a plate to his satisfaction, and molested her when she was twelve. A few months later, with her first sip of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill wine, her life changed. She felt euphoric and relaxed. So she got drunk as often as possible, adding pot, then pills, then acid. At sixteen, she found her drug of choice--methamphetamine. With her first snort, she experienced true joy for the first time. When this high was no longer sufficient, she turned to the needle and shot up.

During the next sixteen years, she descended into a severe meth addiction, working her way down the corporate ladder, destroying relationships, and shattering her physical and emotional well-being. 

At thirty-two, she entered rehab, where she was ordered to submit to the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. As an atheist, turning her will and her life over to a higher power was not an option, and she refused to agree she was powerless. Told to comply or fail, she bravely created a new path that combined ideas from multiple programs and even incorporated some AA concepts.

Clean and sober now for more nearly three decades, she is proof that anyone can find their sober self, their best self, no matter how far they have fallen. Along with her inspiring story, she offers a comprehensive checklist of questions for readers to ask themselves as they take the brave steps toward recovery, offering a powerful blueprint for personal change.  


Mary Beth O'Connor has been clean and sober since 1994. She also is in recovery from abuse, trauma, and anxiety. Mary Beth is a director, secretary, and founding investor for She Recovers Foundation. She also is a director for LifeRing Secular Recovery.  She regularly speaks on behalf of these organizations and about multiple paths to recovery. This includes conferences, podcasts, radio, and recovery houses. She also develops relationships with other organizations, such as Women for Sobriety. In August 2020, Mary Beth had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, "I Beat Addiction without God," where she described combining ideas from several secular programs to create a robust recovery foundation. Mary Beth’s memoir writings have been published in Memoir Magazine, Awakenings, The Noyo River Review, The Fault Zone, Carry the Light, and Ravens Perch. Professionally, six years into her 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 Junkie to Judge : One Woman's Triumph Over Trauma and Addiction By Mary Beth O'Connor Cover Image
ISBN: 9780757324567
Availability: Click for Store Availability
Published: Health Communications Inc - January 24th, 2023

Event Location: 
Location: Colfax Avenue