Think Courageously with Deb Cummins Stellato

The New Faces of Recovery with Adrienne Miller and Mary Beth O'Connor

January 14, 2022 Deb Cummins Stellato
Think Courageously with Deb Cummins Stellato
The New Faces of Recovery with Adrienne Miller and Mary Beth O'Connor
Show Notes

I’m not going to lie…this episode will blow you away. Today Adrienne Miller and Mary Beth O’Connor join me to share their powerful stories about their journey to a substance-free life. And equally as important the joy found on the other side of their courageous journeys.

Leaders in the national movement to change the faces and stigmas of recovery, this conversation focuses on women’s empowerment. 

We also explore:  

Adrienne started using alcohol and other drugs to cope with childhood trauma, severe stress, and lifelong mental health challenges at the age of 14. She spent the next 16 years drug-hopping and at 30 years old, found herself divorced, failing out of college, and severely dependent on alcohol and marijuana. Finally recognizing that her drug use had changed from being the solution to all her problems to becoming a problem itself, she joined Women for Sobriety (WFS) in 2009. After some initial false starts, she has been living a substance-free life since 2010. 

In recovery, Adrienne rediscovered the joy of volunteerism through Seattle Area Support Groups (SASG – now Peer Seattle). She served as a peer support group facilitator for both SASG and WFS before becoming a Peer Recovery Coach. She returned to university and received her BA in Psychology, then went on to receive additional education in chemical dependency counseling. 

Adrienne was invited to serve on the Board of Directors of WFS and SASG and has served as Vice President for both organizations. She was appointed President/CEO of Women for Sobriety in 2018 and has dedicated herself to empowering the women that use the New Life Program to help run the organization and expand its reach, bringing WFS back into the national recovery conversation.

Adrienne has used her New Life confidence in public speaking, including giving the Keynote Address at the 2013 Seattle AIDS Walk to thousands of rain-soaked walkers. She has appeared on multiple podcasts on behalf of WFS, including the Beyond Addiction Show, Soberful, and SoberSoul Recovery. Adrienne appeared on Mental Health Mondays by She Recovers has presented multiple webinars through the Cigna Behavioral Awareness Series: Coping with Substance Use Disorders.

For Mary Beth, 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 accrued 27 years of sobriety. 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 and about multiple paths to recovery.

In 2020, Mary Beth published two opinion pieces about substance use disorder and recovery in major national publications.

She has published memoir pieces and completed a book-length memoir.  

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.

To learn more about Mary Beth and Adrienne and the organizations they work with check out:

Mary Beth's website:
She Recovers Foundation: