Sober Lawyer

12steps800My therapist told me to craft my own version of the Twelve (12) Steps since I am always pointing out the illogic in several of the Steps. I’m not trying to replace AA’s 12 Steps, but rather, formulate my own personal set of steps or guidelines for my own recovery. Each person has a unique recovery program, or at least they should, in my opinion.

  1. Don’t drink! Yes, my program is one of abstinence. A few people in recovery believe they can drink in moderation or controlled, but I’ve already tested out that theory, and it doesn’t work for me.
  2. Work on and achieve acceptance. Accept your disease, but recognize that it’s ok not be happy about it and that you did not aspire to become an alcoholic. It’s ok to hate that word, alcoholic.
  3. Actively participate in AA. Embrace those steps which you believe in, and the fellowship. Discard the rest. Stop analyzing and pointing out deficiencies with AA program. It does no good. Consider reconnecting with your religion (mine is Judaism) to achieve some kind of spiritual foundation, whatever that may be.
  4. Go to private therapy as outlined by your therapist.
  5. Exercise, take care of my body, and eat healthy.
  6. Stay in frequent touch with your sponsor.
  7. Do Steps 4 and 5 of the AA program the way it’s laid out. It’s important to take that personal inventory and clean out all the “baggage.”
  8. Stay away from trigger locations, including bars, certain restaurants, parties and gatherings until I feel 100% confident I can deal with the situation without drinking or craving a drink.
  9. Do the making amends steps 8 and 9 of AA the way it’s laid out. It’s equally important to say your sorry to all the people you have hurt. But you can only do this once you have a solid foundation for recovery or else it’s just words.
  10. Seek rewards and gratification for a job well done and successes through healthy choices and inner confidence.
  11. Forgive yourself of all your past mistakes and focus on the future and the joy and happiness a sober you will bring to yourself and your family.
  12. Try to limit acting like a lawyer in recovery by over-analyzing everything and trying to “out-smart” the disease. Keep it simple. Again, if you don’t drink, you’ve done a good job for the day.

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I just finished a crazy week of preparing for a big trial. It’s one of the busiest and stressful times for any trial lawyer. This case involved mold exposure so I had to become an expert on toxic mold and analysis. Plus I had to deal with an extremely emotional and stressed out client. So I had to wear my psychologist’s hat as well.

Fortunately for everyone, we were able to settle the case on the courthouse steps on the day of trial. But it was exhausting, mentally, physically and emotionally. I rewarded myself for a job well done by having a scrumptious Greek gyro sandwich and a Diet Coke with lime, followed by an early departure from work and a nice nap at 5pm. Sure beats knocking back a few drinks which I would have done in the old days.

I was working around the clock and unfortunately had to miss my AA meetings for a week. It’s the longest time I’ve been without meetings since my new Dec. 26 sobriety date. So by the time last night’s meeting came around, I was very glad to be going. Through the trial preparation, I kept up with my sobriety readings, read some sober blogs and made sure I took a walk when I was feeling super-stressed. But I felt my recovery “battery” draining (like on my iPhone) and the meeting gave me a much-needed full charge.

Speaking of stressed, when I was in my 20’s I used to say, “stress is not in my vocabulary,” thinking I was somehow immune to or stronger than stress. One of my biggest weaknesses has been to admit that I’m feeling stressed and to say anything about it, ie., ask for help. This lead me to drink as self-medication for the stress. Well, this time, after barking at my wife about something minor and stupid, I said that I was really stressed and I needed some sensitivity from everyone about this trial. My wife said that was the first time in our 16 year relationship that I admitted to being stressed out. And guess what? I felt much better after verbalizing it! And my wife was much more sensitive to what I was dealing with. Sounds pretty simple, but for a person in recovery, it’s not second nature….

Lastly, I stumbled upon a great blog for recovering women called Crying Out Now. It works for men too.  :)

Oh, and thanks for everyone for reading….the blog has been getting a lot of traffic these days!

One day at a time, Dick

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