Jim Blackburn became famous as the young prosecutor who prosecuted Jeffrey MacDonald for the murder of his wife and children in 1970 at Fort Bragg. Afterward, Jim joined a private law firm in Raleigh and became a prominent attorney with a thriving law practice.
Several years ago, Jim Blackburn's fall from grace from the practice of law made the front pages of virtually every newspaper in North Carolina. What did not make the front page was Jim's diagnosis of severe depression, which nearly cost him his life. His subsequent imprisonment, and later waiting tables in a very public restaurant to survive, is the basis of his true story about redemption and the resiliency of the human spirit.
In Jim's own words:
"I spent time in a psychiatric wing of a major hospital and for years was treated weekly by a highly respected psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, a personality disorder of being too nice and wanting to please, a break with reality and a walking around nervous breakdown.
But I never gave up. I never quit. I had the unconditional love of my family and many friends. And so, in time, a second chance at a productive life came my way… different, to be sure, but there it was for me. And so, I have learned, it can be the same for all of us. We all experience change and loss in our lives …we all have to start over sometime, some more than once.
I wrote Flame-Out: From Prosecuting Jeffrey MacDonald to Serving Time to Serving Tables because I wanted to tell people what it was like to spend your life climbing to the top, and then suddenly losing it all completely …and having to start over. I had become a successful and respected lawyer in North Carolina and then thrown it away in a binge of wrongdoing that resulted in my turning in my law license and spending several months in state prison. Afterward, I made money to support myself and my family by waiting tables for tips, often waiting on the very people I had once worked with in the legal profession.
I believe in hope and redemption …I believe that God gives all of us second, and even more, chances in life. My presentation, and I hope my life, is about hope and survival and starting over, and what I learned in that journey that began when I fell from grace and continues even through today. I hope someday to share it with you."
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