meth addiction and recovery.
It was through LAP that I started going to lunches for lawyers in recovery.
The lunches were like 12-step meetings
just for attorneys. I went reluctantly at
first, but after going for a while I came
to understand why 12-steppers are so
passionate about their program. It was
in those meetings that I learned just how
much shame I was still carrying around
with me about the things I had done to
other people while using meth — things
like worrying my family and friends, embarrassing my co-workers, disappointing my clients, and worst of all, enabling
the addictions of other addicts. Those
lunch meetings gave me a safe place to
talk about my guilt and remorse and the
lawyers there helped me find a way to
live with those feelings. I had recovered
from meth addiction long before I ever
went to my first LAP-lawyer-lunch, but
it was the things that happened to me at
those meetings that finally made me feel
like I was healed.
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“faith” to benefit from a 12-step meeting.
All you really need to do is talk and listen.
And it was also at those lunches that the
other lawyers convinced me to try and
get my law license back in Washington.
I knew with four felony convictions the
chances were slim, but they had faith I
could pull it off.
It took me almost a year to get ready for
my hearing before the WSBA Character
and Fitness Board in 2009. I was still a
total control freak about all things resembling trials. I represented myself.
The hearing lasted over seven hours. After a lot of testimony, a lot of argument,
and quite a bit of deliberation, the Board
voted to reinstate me.
After retaking the bar exam, I was
officially reinstated as a lawyer in Washington in June 2010. Although my original plan was to then get admitted to the
bar in North Carolina, part of me never
gave up on the idea of moving back to
Seattle. As fate would have it, after 12
years of being single, I ended up getting married just a few months before
Washington passed marriage equality
by popular vote. I took that as a sign. So
a year ago in June, my husband and I
packed the car and headed west.
I’ll always miss North Carolina, but
Seattle feels like home. It feels like where
I belong. And it feels like the place where
my personal history and skill set can do
the most good for other people struggling with addiction. But I realize I can’t
be a proper role model for recovery if
the people who need me most can’t see
me. So I make sure I’m visible to them
by representing them and telling them
my story. Not surprisingly, many of my
criminal and family law cases involve issues of addiction.
Recovery from meth is not impossible or uncommon. In my experience,
it often takes a lot of external support to
get through those first crucial years of
recovery. The reason my addiction blew
up in such a spectacular way had a lot
to do with how isolated I became from