A Lawyer’s Life Cut Short

by Dick on November 27, 2012 · 10 comments

in Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Alcoholism, Relapse

Hey there. I haven’t posted in a long, long time. Life, work, family just got in the way.

Quick update. Things are going well. Still sober and very much active in AA/recovery. Still haven’t got my head around the AA dogma, nor do I think I will ever really. Heading to my favorite speaker discussion meeting tonight actually. Love to get the shit off my chest!

I won that week long trial I had during the summer. Yes! I also received a very prestigious honor for legal writing. I cannot divulge what it is because I would jeopardize my anonymity.

This year is shaping up to be my best year ever for my law practice. Double yes! Funny how productive one can be clean and sober…

I had a bad bout of pneumonia back in October and I’m still coughing up crud. Not fun! (Flip side is that when you’re that sick, you have no desire to drink alcohol!).

I need to get back to working out and lose some weight. (Don’t we all…).

My family and I have had a great Fall and early winter season doing lots of fun activities.

I will leave you with this article I came across today.  A Lawyer’s Life Cut Short on the AmLaw Daily about Ryan Farley who died of alcoholism at the young age of 39.

A must read for any attorney struggling with addiction. Poor guy….

Take care, Dick

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  • http://twitter.com/belowhermeans Below Her Means

    So happy to hear that you’re doing well. I’m always following!

  • dick

    So nice, thank you!

  • ls

    Thank you for your blog. When I read about you and your experiences I feel that you are eloquently putting my own experience into words. I too am a lawyer, I too am Jewish, and I too am an addict who has struggled with the ‘higher power’ issue and the lawyer’s curse of finding clever arguments to justify bad behavior. Our only difference was in choice of intoxicants, though an addict is an addict.

    So reading about your struggles and success inspires me, as I have also had relapses and difficulty accepting that I have a problem and can never be a recreational user. Being a Jewish addict has also been a lonely experience, since it seems to be such a rare thing. My family, who drink grape juice, not wine, on passover, have had a hard time understanding how this could have happened to the star lawyer in the family. So it’s nice to see I’m not the only one.

    Keep up the good work and the honest sharing. If you ever decide to unveil your anonymity, you could have quite a career in addiction recovery – Huffington Post would do well to post your thoughts than that quack addiction counselor from pacific palisades.

  • Dick

    Is, thanks so much for the nice words. Feel free to connect with me on twitter @soberlawyer, and stay in touch! We have much in common!

    ~Dick

  • Joanne J

    Just a thought Dick … but if alcohol is a common way lawyers deal with the stress of the job you might want to consider putting your skills to use in a related field that is not as stressful. I knew someone who studied law for years and when he finally started practicing the actual job made his life much less enjoyable. He couldn’t enjoy time with the family as much and was never as happy as he was before he actually became a lawyer … the days when being a lawyer was a goal he was working toward and not a current reality.

    It is hard to change course when you feel so much time and money have been spent on being a lawyer by profession. BUT … a good alternative that pays well and utilizes your law degree is working as a HEADHUNTER for an employment agency that places lawyers. They like lawyers that have actually worked in the field because they are best at working with the law firms etc hiring and the attorneys looking for placement … they understand the language and the ins and outs better than any human resources person can.

    The stress is much less but the money can be quite good…
    … just a thought….

    … JoanneJ

    • Dick

      Joanne, I love what I do, so I’m not going to switch careers. There is stress in any job really. You have to deal with the disease not the external stuff. It’s all within. Also, there’s zero connection with gluten, IMO. Alcoholics drink for effect and to escape reality. It’s about the drug. Nothing to do with gluten whatsoever.

      • Joanne J

        If you love what you do … that’s great. I don’t want to talk you into doing what you don’t want to do. My parents are always trying to get me to sell my tiny little old charming house on the water in Long Island. It got flooded last year and this year it was really BAD with Sandy … about 6 feet high of water in the main part of my house. It is stressful to say the least … but I love the place. I’ve been there for 20 years or so and when I was fighting mercury poisoning a few years ago it was one of the things that kept me hanging in there when the odds were against me. So yes … what we love can also cause stress. Can’t live with it can’t live without it … kind of thing.

        I think that is part of the problem … we have trouble accepting the bad with the good. My parents have an all or nothing perfectionistic look at things. They can’t enjoy something if a part of it isn’t perfect. But nothing in life is ever perfect … 100% … at least not for any extended period. You have to enjoy the good parts and not panic when traveling through the bad stuff that comes with the total pie.

        Oh speaking of dealing with stress …. when Sandy hit I was already dealing with a brother going through Chemo … 2 parents in their eighties whose health is problematic at best and who are very negative all the time … and my own health issues recovering from mercury poisoning … plus I’m out of work these days. So talk about stress. I’m lucky to be alive after my mercury poisoning battle … but with everything else I have been going through since then it can be hard sometimes feeling ‘lucky’ to be alive.

        But I found a website from the UK with hypnosis audios from a couple of therapists who turned to hypnosis to help their most difficult patients find a solution when their other therapy methods did not work. These have been the thing that kept me from going over the edge after Sandy (and also get a good nights sleep in spite of all that I am going through).

        I’ve listened to three every night before I go to bed for the past few weeks …
        http://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/personal-development/living-uncertainty
        http://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/motivation-inspiration/deal-failure
        http://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/thinking-skills/negative-thinking

        I have many more hypnosis downloads of theirs but these three made a MAJOR impact on my ability to cope with everything. I was surprised that ‘dealing with failure’ would help me cope with a natural disaster so much … but it really had a BIG impact. I also listen to a few during the day but not with the same consistency as the three at bedtime. Another one that is helpful is …

        http://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/motivation-inspiration/expect-the-best
        (if you buy two from this link you can save a few bucks on ‘Stop Negative Thinking Now’)

        and … Negative Thinking is also part of a 10 audio pack …
        http://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/10-steps/negativity

        They also have a section of addiction help hypnosis audios …
        http://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/addiction-help

        … and there is something for almost every topic … plus a 90 day money back policy if you buy one that doesn’t work after you have used it at least 10 days in a row.

        Oh and even if you love your job, Dick, some other lawyer that is reading this might want to look into headhunting if (s)he’s thinking of switching careers. So I thought I’d toss the idea out there. I’m new to your site and don’t know a lot about you or the site yet but I am enjoying reading it. I’ve always felt a sort of common denominator with alcoholics. I don’t drink but I escape reality by withdrawing into my head … I’m a creative type … writer, flash designer, artist, singer/songwriter … so I can live in my head instead of the real world when things get too tough. I don’t need alcohol or drugs to help me escape :) … in the end you have to face reality on a regular basis to have a healthy life … and if you are escaping too often for too LONG you have to come back to reality again (even if you aren’t doing alcohol or drugs or anything ‘unhealthy’ to escape).

        BUT … I do think taking regular SHORT healthy ways of escaping is important. Sometimes I have trouble allowing myself regular short healthy breaks from reality to recharge so I can better face the world. Anyone reading this think that there is a ‘guilt’ feeling about taking healthy breaks when things are stressful and demanding and … drinking allows you to take a break from reality because it has a STRONGER pull then the negative voice. What I’m trying to say is that the healthy break is not strong enough to draw you beyond the inner negative voice (which is stopping you from taking a healthy escape from life’s stresses). BUT the unhealthy PULL of alcohol is STRONG enough to out pull the negative voice telling not to rest and relax and take a break from your stress. That maybe the trick is finding a way to regularly take stress/reality breaks several times a day even if you feel guilty about it.

        Is the issue getting beyond the ‘guilt trip’ voice that does not want us to take needed escapes so that we can allow healthy alternatives to drinking that do not pack the EXTRA STRENGTH pull of alcohol that is needed to overpower the negative guilt voice talking us out of a much needed break.

        ESCAPE … good

        ALCOHOL … bad

        When you are reworking the 12 steps you need to include finding healthy escapes that work for you and making it OK to do them regularly … even when you are being ‘talked’ out of it by your inner voice. I like to call my good inner voice my INNER NUDGE because it is very quiet and silent and very easy to ignore … and my bad inner voice my INNER NOODGE because it goes on and on like a broken record (pester, bore, nosey, pushy and a general pain in the ass). Since you are a Jewish lawyer I thought I’d share my little Yiddish inspired nickname for my negative inner voice. When I use those terms in describing my inner voices it makes it easier to not listen to my INNER NOODGE and if you ignore the NOODGE long enough you can hear the softer gentler INNER NUDGE continue to speak after the INNER NOODGE has died down.

        It helps me … see if it helps you. Oh and most external NOODGES are people who are not ignoring their INNER NOODGES and voicing it (against you). If they learned to not speak so quickly and let the voice of the INNER NOODGE die down they wouldn’t drive us crazy from the outside. WAIT and Listen for the second quiet calm voice … that is usually your true inner voice!

        OK … that’s more than enough rambling for one post… Joanne J

  • Rachel

    Hi Dick: I found your post quite by accident. I am enjoying the read. I am a binger (weekend warrier) long live the weekend blah blah blah and I’ve been sick of feeling like shit for quite some time. I like myself much better without the residue of beer hanging on me. I will continue to read. It’s nice to find common ground and a place to “vent”. Rachel

    • Dick

      Stop by any time Rachel!

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