The Courage to Change: A Recovery Podcast

12 | From Federal Prison to the White House - with Christopher Poulos

Episode Summary

Christopher Poulos is an attorney and the Executive Director of the Washington Statewide Reentry Council. Prior to his appointment, he served as Executive Director of Life of Purpose Treatment at the University of North Texas, where he was also an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice. During law school, he served at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and The Sentencing Project. Poulos has advised United States Senator Angus King (I-Maine) on addiction and justice policy and served on several task forces related to criminal justice policy. He graduated cum laude from the University of Maine School of Law, where he was President of the American Constitution Society and represented children facing criminal charges as a student attorney in the Juvenile Justice Clinic. Prior to law school, Poulos overcame many obstacles, including tragic family losses, addiction, homelessness, and a federal incarceration. He now dedicates his life to helping others overcome or avoid similar challenges and he supports a public health-­based approach to addiction. His work promotes equal access to the law and seeks to end mass incarceration and the collateral consequences now facing the tens of millions of people with criminal convictions.

Episode Notes

We are so excited to introduce Christopher Poulos as this week's incredible guest! Christopher is an attorney and the Executive Director of the Washington Statewide Reentry Council. Prior to his appointment, he served as Executive Director of Life of Purpose Treatment at the University of North Texas, where he was also an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice. During law school, he served at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and The Sentencing Project. Poulos has advised United States Senator Angus King (I-Maine) on addiction and justice policy and served on several task forces related to criminal justice policy. He graduated cum laude from the University of Maine School of Law, where he was President of the American Constitution Society and represented children facing criminal charges as a student attorney in the Juvenile Justice Clinic.

Prior to law school, Poulos overcame many obstacles, including tragic family losses, addiction, homelessness, and a federal incarceration. He now dedicates his life to helping others overcome or avoid similar challenges and he supports a public health-­based approach to addiction. His work promotes equal access to the law and seeks to end mass incarceration and the collateral consequences now facing the tens of millions of people with criminal convictions.

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Show Notes:

2:30 - Introducing Chris, some of his background and talking about the start of his recovery process

5:41 - The start of Chris's substance use

7:28 - Being diagnosed with ADHD + the childhood years and their impact through three traumatic losses

11:40 - The escalation of his substance abuse

12:58 - The events that led to being sentenced to federal prison

27:06 - What happened when he first got arrested and was facing five federal felony charges

33:56 - The start of the transformation

42:11 - Talking to the Dean of the law school

49:38 - The law school voting to let Chris in

52:45 - The connection that took him to the White House

1:05:40 - Closing thoughts

The Courage to Change: A Recovery Podcast would like to thank our sponsor, Lionrock Recovery, for their support. Lionrock Recovery is an online substance abuse counseling program where you can get help for drinking or drug use from the privacy of your own home. For more information, visit http://www.lionrockrecovery.com.