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Lawyers in Addiction
As a lawyer who has recovered from addiction, I want to extend a very specific invitation to members of the legal community seeking narrative therapy, healing, and support through the addiction recovery process. Having spent years struggling with alcoholism during and after law school, I understand the professional complications, consequences, and personal struggles that can accompany a drug or alcohol addiction.
Lawyers have one of the highest rates of addiction among any profession and the numbers are rising. According to a New York Times report, over 20% of lawyers are problem drinkers or suffer from addiction. High-stress, long working hours, financial pressures, as well as the personal pressure that lawyers put on themselves can lead to drugs and alcohol as the only form of escape to cope.
As lawyers we are taught to think our way through and out of problems. We believe that we can gain power and mastery over struggles simply by learning more, or exerting more mental strength and will power. I am a lawyer and I have known many lawyers in my life; we are not weak people, we are not short on will power, and we do not give up easily. This can make it even more difficult to get help, to ask for help, and to be humble in the face of an addiction.
I understand the pain of not wanting to admit something is "wrong." I understand how admitting an addiction to drugs or alcohol can feel "weak." I know what it is like to tell myself that I could not possibly be an alcoholic because I had other external markers of success in my life that would tell a different story. I also know that these are the kinds of narratives that can create struggle for the alcoholic, especially the legally-minded. I know that everyone has a unique, experience, and perspective, and my role as a narrative therapist is to help you look deeper into your own addiction narratives, to consider what role your personal history, beliefs, and stories have impacted your ability to get help, and to create agency around recovery.
In addition to offering one on one counseling and support to lawyers in addiction, I can also assist with narrative histories and preparation for any Bar Association inquiries and hearings. I have experience also in preparing written statements for the Minnesota Supreme Court on my own alcohol recovery in the character and fitness examination and can offer discretionary support in reviewing your own circumstances, understanding the consequences of your addiction, and using narrative strategies to help you reposition yourself professionally.
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