how to stay married to an attorney

debt-collector-madThe Lawyerist just posted a great article entitled “How to Stay Married to a Lawyer.”  Although the article is a form of marriage counseling, it really resonated with me as a person suffering from addiction. Our career choice is so emotionally draining that often our relationships suffer. Add alcoholism to the mix, and it’s a miracle that any marriage or relationship can survive! Here are a few great excerpts from the article:

One of the most prominent stressors I’ve noticed is that my husband constantly has people upset with him. There seems to be very little reward in the daily grind. He or she has clients who are hurting and confused, and they look to Brian to magically solve their ailments. Understandably, they are upset when he cannot fix their problems, or it takes a long time to fix their problems. Then, in court, he has opposing counsel and judges who seem to be upset with him (there probably isn’t anything personal there, but the nature of the courtroom is adversarial). So all day long, he deals with people being upset with him. It is like a glorified customer service representative position, which takes its toll on my husband.

Wow, can I relate to this especially in my litigation practice. It seems no one is ever happy with us. And getting some congratulations or recognition? Forget about it!

Most clients do not visit lawyers to share happy news. Inevitably, they come to us with a problem, and the client wants the lawyer to make it go away. Often, the cases we are working on have a lot at stake. This pressure is extremely stressful because so much of what we are expected to do is completely out of our control. A lawyer can prepare day and night, work around the clock, try his or her absolute best, and still lose. But lawyers are expected to deliver a win regardless of the lack of control a lawyer has over opposing counsel, her client, the judge, and the jury.

The lack of control piece has always been a huge issue for me generally and with my addiction. I used to get so high with the wins and so low with the losses, not realizing that in reality I really didn’t have any control over the outcome. Now, I just put in my very best effort and let the chips fall where they may. If I win, great. If I lose, I don’t jump off a bridge. Meetings and talking about this daily grind help a lot.

The article goes on to suggest mindfulness and acceptance. Hmmm, does that sound familiar to anyone in a recovery program? Anyways, the article is a great read.

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