be an effective advocate when I couldn’t
even predict when I’d be awake. Even
with planning, alarm clocks, and the
best of intentions, I missed court dates
and important appointments because I
had stayed awake for too many days, run
out of meth, and fallen unconscious. The
judges and prosecutors were completely
fed up with my behavior — and with good
reason. It was obvious to everyone I had
relapsed and that I should no longer be
I continued to use meth right through
my trial in July of 2000. I wasn’t surprised when I got convicted. I expected
it. That’s when the Washington Supreme
Court finally disbarred me.
Even after my conviction, I managed
to stay out of custody while my case was
on appeal. I was homeless at that point
and living on the couches of other drug
addicts all over Seattle. That’s when I
finally hit my rock bottom. I knew that,
compared to where I was at that moment,
I got myself into a state-funded re-
hab (this time based on the cognitive
behavioral therapy model of recovery),
moved into clean and sober housing,
and found work as a housekeeper at a
Victorian bed and breakfast on Seattle’s
Capitol Hill. The owners of the B&B were
a woman and her elderly mother who
had followed my story in the newspa-
pers, felt sorry for me, and miraculously
agreed not only to be my employers but
also my surrogate family as I struggled
through the first years of my recovery.
They were difficult years. I gained 50
pounds. I was often severely depressed.
My brain still didn’t function well. The
cravings for meth were intense. But at
least I had some income, a job with lots
of leftovers to eat, and the love and sup-
port of those two women who owned
the B&B. I knew they genuinely wanted
to see me succeed and it made all the
difference. If it weren’t for them, I prob-
ably wouldn’t have made it.
After successfully completing six months
of rehab and staying meth-free for over a
year, I knew what had to happen next. In
August 2002, I withdrew my case from
the Washington State Court of Appeals,
and on Sept. 22, I turned myself in to the
Department of Corrections to start serving my sentence.
My situation in prison was precarious. After all, I was an openly gay former
prosecutor forced to serve my time in the
same jurisdiction where I had spent years
putting violent felons behind bars. Most
of that time I went unrecognized, and I
was fine. But there were times when I was
recognized by men I had prosecuted for
According to a 2012 National
Survey on Drug Use and
Health, funded by an agency
of the U. S. Department of
Health and Human Services and administered by
Research Triangle Institute,
approximately 1. 2 million
people in the United States
reported using meth.
• Areas where meth-making
are dumped or “dead
zones” can contaminate
the environment and cost
thousands to clean up.
• A small dead zone cleanup
can cost $40,000.
• Much of meth waste is highly flammable and explosive, which
makes it a danger for the summer forest fire season.
• Meth waste leaches moisture from whatever it touches, so
it is very harmful to the surrounding environment, whether
discarded indoors or outdoors.
Impact on Economy
• The RAND Corporation released a study stating that meth
use costs the United States between $16.2 and $48.3 billion
• The annual cost of drug-related crimes in the United States is
over $61 billion, according to the U. S. Department of Justice’s
National Drug Intelligence Center ( www.justice.gov/archive/
• A 2010 National Drug Threat Study found that meth and
cocaine cause a majority of drug-related crimes.
Number of Arrests
19,414 people were arrested in 2012 in Washington for drug
offenses ( drugpolicy.org).
Drug Abuse by Attorneys
• The ABA estimates nearly 20 percent of lawyers suffer
from alcohol and substance abuse.
• The national heavy drinkers rate is 26. 2 percent of people
aged 18 or older, according to the NIH. Attorneys with
heavy drinking problems are twice the national rate, according to the ABA’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance
Programs. ( www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics; www.
• UnBar: The Unbar Alcoholics Anonymous group is
exclusively for attorneys. The group has been meeting for
almost 30 years, and meets every Wednesday from noon
to 1: 30 p.m. If you would like a peer advisor to walk you to
a meeting, contact LAP at 206-727-8268.
• WSBA LAP Peer Advisors: LAP actively recruits peer
advisors (PAs) from throughout the state. This network of
about 50 attorneys supports lawyers on a broad range of
themes from addiction and mental health topics to guidance to one’s practice. If you are seeking the support of a
PA, please call LAP at 206-727-8268 or email LAP at lap@
wsba.org. Learn more at www.wsba.org/lap.
METH IN NUMBERS