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Attorneys struggle with alcohol abuse

Lawyers are not immune to trouble. Like any other job, you deal with success and failure, reward and frustration. You may find ways to celebrate the good days and deal with the bad ones, and that may include the use of alcohol. In fact, including alcohol in your coping strategies may be something you learned from your days in law school.

Unfortunately, the odds may be against you when it comes to avoiding falling into addiction. The pressure of the job, its brutal hours, the emotional outcome of your cases and your own driven personality may be just a few of the factors that set you up for addiction. Even if you are ready to admit you need help, you may fear for your future if you take that step.

The perfect storm for addiction

You probably don't like to think of yourself as vulnerable, but it may just be that intense need for perfection that creates a perfect storm in many attorneys. You may even see alcohol consumption as a necessary part of your job, since many of your associations with clients, colleagues and others involve alcohol. Your law firm may even view drinking in the office as normal and good for business. Unfortunately, the following are common facts about lawyers and alcohol:

  • Law students and attorneys often see it as weakness to ask for help with alcohol addiction.
  • You and others in your profession may deal with untreated depression or mental health issues from your early days in law school.
  • You may have turned to alcohol because of the tedious work required of you as a law student or when you were a new lawyer.
  • You spend many nights and weekends working in solitude.

Like many attorneys, you may have quickly learned the importance of drinking hard at night and being ready to work early the next morning. Many attorneys exist as high-functioning alcoholics until a single event brings everything crashing down. This may be a financial disaster, divorce, DUI or a professional mistake that results in disciplinary action.

If you are considering reaching out for help with your substance abuse or if you are already in recovery, the effect it may have on your license to practice law may be foremost in your mind. However, there are steps you can take to get your professional life back on track after you take care of your health and personal matters. Taking care of yourself may include seeking the guidance of an attorney who has experience helping licensed professionals throughout California.

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