Actually, that’s not my real name, but my story is.
I started this Blog to document my personal journey through recovery and sobriety. I am an attorney practicing primarily in civil litigation. I’ve been practicing for about 16 years, and I run my own successful firm.
I came from a very stable home with loving parents. I was a 7 letter varsity athlete and honor’s student. I hardly drank until I got to college. I did drink at a decent clip in college as most of my peers did, but I got good grades. I settled down in law school, graduating top 5% of my class and on Law Review. I progressed well into my 30’s before I started having problems with alcohol.
My unhealthy drinking started with my inability to deal with life’s setbacks. I suffered an unexpected job layoff after the dot com bust, then my wife had a devastating miscarriage of what would have been our first child. We did end up having two successful pregnancies, but I bounced around from a few firms and was basically miserable being a lawyer. The stresses of providing for a young family, financial struggles, and the inevitable strain on the marriage lead to a panic attack where I wound up in the ER. That’s when I started self-medicating with alcohol.
I attended Hazelden’s 30 day program in Minnesota and was part of their new Legal Professionals recovery program. It was a great program which I’ve written about in much detail in this post. My recovery program consists of attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings (about 5/week) with Step Work, private therapy, a low dose of anti-depressant SSRI medication, exercise (particularly boxing), a little meditation and prayer as needed, and writing this blog. I’ve also attended SMART Recovery meetings which I’ve written about in these posts. I have also dealt with relapses so I know how hard it is to “come back.”
Lawyers have a higher rate of addiction than the general public. Studies say that up to 20% or more of all attorneys are afflicted with some type of alcohol or substance abuse in their careers. In the same vein, lawyers are notoriously difficult to treat. I am no different. An attorney’s strengths professionally are major liabilities in recovery. A lot of us lawyers have super-egos, ultra-competitiveness, and over-analytical ways of dealing with life which can become major impediments to recovery. We often think we can out-think and out-smart this disease. The problem is that addition is your evil twin, always smarter than you and one step ahead.
I welcome your thoughts, comments, vents, bitching and moaning of any type. Let it out. I know what you are going through as I’m going through the same thing myself. As they say in meetings where I live, sober is better!
One day at a time…