Story 3: A Recovering Alcoholic Can Still Have Depression

As virtually all my friends know, I am an alcoholic. For many years, with varying degrees of success and failure, I struggled to balance active alcoholism and the practice of law. In the later years, my efforts were largely unsuccessful. For all intents and purposes, I almost stopped practicing law, preferring not to risk alcohol-induced malpractice.

I finally got sober a little more than six years ago. At the time, I thought sobriety would “cure” the lethargy that plagued my legal practice. It did help. But about a year ago I found myself severely depressed. A friend of mine refers to my condition as “stark raving dry.” I hadn’t screwed anything up, at least not irreversibly. For the most part, I avoided malpractice by associating other lawyers on larger cases, reserving for myself only the actual trial responsibilities. I made a number of my friends, younger lawyers, some money doing that but I knew I was just building myself a “house of cards.”

At that point, I honestly and seriously considered quitting the profession and, more than once, flirted with the idea of taking a drink. As a last resort, I called ARJLAP and started working with the therapist there. With her help, I slowly got better. My mood and my ability to work again didn’t come back immediately and, truthfully, progress was not always consistent. There were setbacks. but at this point, I am convinced that ARJLAP in general and my therapist in particular, salvaged my career. Without her help I am certain I would not be practicing law today. ARJLAP has well served literally every person I help in my practice for a long as I remain active.