lawyer alcoholic

I’m now in my 5th month of sobriety, and I still get pissed off at certain things. Maybe more pissed off now as I don’t have the alcohol to dull my pissed-off-ness.

Being a lawyer and getting pissed off from time to time go hand in hand, unfortunately. There are a ton of jerks who decided to go to law school.

So I had this big blow-up with another lawyer last week and it was really ugly and I unfortunately responded in kind to his low-life tactics. He called me a liar, and it turned out that his associate had misrepresented a conversation that I had with her, probably because she was afraid of telling him the truth. Oh man, did I go ballistic. I do not react well to anyone who calls my veracity into question. So this lawyer kept raising the ante, sending me email missives that I was not telling the truth–meanwhile they were completely in the wrong. I just could not back down, so I wrote a lengthy email telling him how full of shit he and his associate were, taking a few pot-shots of my own. Looking back, I was pretty harsh in the email and probably could have toned it down. Anyways, the associate would up fessing up to being wrong, and the attorney send back a pithy email “apologies to all…”.

This is why email sucks sometimes. Guaranteed that if someone picked up the phone, it would not have disintegrated like this. You can be a lot nastier and meaner over email than over the phone or in person. And it’s all in writing, preserved forever!

Now in the aftermath, while I’m not going to drink over it, I’m still upset about it, I’m not happy with his purported apology, and I want to wring this guy’s neck next time I see him. Serenity now, serenity now, as Kramer says.

One day at a time…



I came across this post in the Lawyerist today about how alcoholic attorneys are typically “high functioning.”

The author outlines some typical characteristics of “high-functioning” alcoholics:

  • Denial
  • Living a double life of inward feeling compared with outward image
  • Drinking habits including cravings and black-outs
  • Capable of staying employed and high academic achievement
  • Capable of sustained interpersonal relationships
  • Often able to work the system in legal matters relating to issues caused by drinking
  • Often hit bottoms, but are unable to recognize or admit the realities
  • Appear physically well-groomed.

Being a “high-functioning” alcoholic is a dangerous place to be in recovery. In my early sobriety, I spent too much time comparing myself with other drunks who were far less “screwed up” than me, instead of identifying with them. I should be grateful that I still have a loving wife and kids, my career intact and a home over my head. If I continue to drink, I won’t be so “high-functioning.” I will surely lose everything I’ve worked so hard to achieve.

One day at a time….



If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “Get a sponsor” when I first came into AA, I would be very rich. Did I listen? Of course not. I didn’t need a sponsor, I told myself. Sound familiar to anyone listening?

When I came out of Hazelden last summer, I did pick a sponsor who I thought was a good fit. He wasn’t. I talked to him maybe a handful of times. I should have found a better fit, but I thought going to 90 meetings in 90 days was sufficient. It wasn’t.

After this latest and hopefully last relapse, I asked “Matt” if he could be my sponsor. I was in an AWOL (Another Way Of Life) with Matt which is an intensive weekly step meeting with the same guys every week. Matt has some 15 years sobriety and is a complete hard-ass. He goes to a ton of meetings and has very high expectations. Exactly what I need. He requires that I call him every day, no exceptions unless you are on your deathbed. And he always asks if I’m still sober. I’m terrified to drink because he will kick my rear! I already missed a call, and he reamed me a new anus the next day. He also loves to bring up the times when I’ve hit bottom to remind me of how horrible it felt.

Tonight, he is taking me to a “commitment” at the local hospital to have a meeting at the detox ward. He said “it should make me feel less fucked up.”

We’ll see…that’s tough to do right now.

One day at a time…


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Welcome to the Sober Lawyer Blog. I started this Blog to document my personal journey through recovery and sobriety as a recovering alcoholic attorney. In accordance with AA’s policy of anonymity, I will refer to myself as “Dick.” I thought it was fitting, because when I am drinking, I can be the biggest “Dick” ever.

I am an attorney practicing primarily in civil litigation. I have my own firm.

I entered Alcoholic’s Anonymous in November of 2010, after I finally *accepting* that my drinking was getting out of control. I got 90 days of sobriety, but then slipped and relapsed. I went to Hazelden’s 30 day program in Minnesota in the summer of 2011, after which I got 4 months sobriety. Unfortunately I relapsed in December 2011.

What’s different this time around is all the support I now have through the AA fellowship. After I “went out,” my AA buddies were right there to drag my ass back to meetings. They hugged me, told me it would be all right, and set up meetings and rides.

During recovery, I have always struggled with accepting the fact that I’m an alcoholic and can no longer drink safely and in control. Step 1. The litigator in me has always fought that notion.

After this latest “jackpot,” I pray that I am finally ready to surrender to this disease. In the past, I’ve always left the door ever so slightly ajar that some day, maybe, I’ll “beat” this disease and enjoy a pina colada on the Hawaiian shore — that’s where I had my honeymoon. Stupid, I know, but that’s what goes through my brain.

My new sobriety date is December 26, 2011. The day after Christmas, and I’m Jewish!

Well, that’s it for now.

One day at a time…



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