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Recovery in Law School – An interview with SK. (Part 1)

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers is every bit as concerned for law students — it just didn’t fit in our name. All law students in Massachusetts are entitled to use our free and confidential services, and are welcomed at all of our Recovery Meetings across the state. Find our Law Student FAQ here, further Resources here, and a 3-Step Survival Guide here.

SK is a 3L law student in the greater Boston area. She graciously agreed to share some of her story with us and to tell us more about Refuge Recovery, a Buddhist path to addiction recovery.

LCL: You have shared with me that you have been in recovery for just over a year. Can you tell us about your journey toward sobriety and what influenced you to seek help?

SK: To say that I didn’t see sobriety coming would be an understatement. I had no idea that this path would ever be a part of my life, so I was kind of blindsided to be honest. My brother is an alcoholic who’s been in recovery since 2010. When he quit drinking, I secretly thought “good thing I’m not an alcoholic, I can’t imagine life without drinking.” Years later when I had a “moment of clarity” in 2016 and saw that I needed to stop drinking, completely, forever, it felt more like a discovery of something that had been true all along, rather than a decision. It was like looking at someone else’s life and being able to see so clearly—I realized “holy crap I am one of those people. I have to stop drinking.”

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The Misconceptions of Sobriety – #1: Sober people are miserable

In our work with the legal community, we see a fair number of law students and lawyers who are somewhere in between the precontemplation and contemplation stages of change. The precontemplation stage is when the person is unaware of the need to change a particular behavior, has no interest in changing, minimizes the negative aspects of changing, and highlights the positive reasons for the status quo. The contemplation stage is when the person is aware that something needs to change, they might not know exactly what they need to do or what it will entail, but they have a desire to make a change in the near future.

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Getting Through the Holidays – Maintaining Sobriety

The holiday season is upon us and it is a good time to review some helpful tips about avoiding pitfalls and setting yourself up for success this time of year. The trifecta, as it is often called (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah-Christmas-Kwanzaa-Festivus, and New Year’s), is historically a more challenging time of year for many of us.

If the holiday season represents happy times with family and friends, then enjoy! But understand that even with joyful associations, challenges may manifest and test your resilience.

You can get tools and practical approaches to navigate the season’s challenges from our panel at the MBA on Dec. 12; find out more, submit anonymous questions, and register here. For many of us, this time of year brings with it social engagements with friends and family members that often include potentially risky, if not just uncomfortable, situations where your resolve is tested, whether to abstain from alcohol or even just negative thought patterns.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that there is a higher likelihood of being offered, gifted, or simply being in the presence of more alcohol and substances over the holiday season. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you make holiday plans. The tip that underlies all of the rest is, “Plan ahead!” As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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ABA Report on the Path to Lawyer Well-Being

In recent months, there has been an increase in the discussions of the high rates of substance abuse and mental health issues burdening lawyers, rates much higher than the general population. A recent study has confirmed what many of us…

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The Reasons Why Warning Signs of Substance Abuse are Often Missed

Given the prevalence of alcohol abuse and the opioid epidemic across the US, it is probably safe to say that everyone either knows of someone or has heard of someone in the media who has suffered from substance abuse. Some of these stories do not strike us as surprising because they fit our stereotypes of what a substance abuser looks like. We are usually not taken off guard by stories of wealthy, bored celebrities living a party lifestyle eventually entering rehab for a substance abuse problem or hearing about the high rates of drug abuse among homeless individuals (assuming that those examples reflect stereotypes you hold).

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Thought alcohol was good for you? Not so fast.

It’s annoying, isn’t it, how the news (and not only in the popular press) about how to stay healthy keeps changing?  Some years ago, we began to hear reports that consuming alcohol (sometimes it was red wine, sometimes alcohol in general) was associated with living longer, or at least with less or later death from coronary disease and other things.  That was a little disconcerting to many nondrinkers (those in recovery and also some of the many Americans who abstain for other reasons), and some even wondered whether it was their medical duty to manage a drink or two a day.  (No studies ever suggested that heavy drinking was good for you.)

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Getting Through the Holidays – Maintaining Sobriety

The holiday season is upon us and it is a good time to review some helpful tips about avoiding pitfalls and setting yourself up for success this time of year. The trifecta, as it is often called (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s), is historically a more challenging time of year for many of us. If the holiday season represents happy times with family and friends; then that’s great, enjoy. For many of us, this time of year brings with it social engagements with friends and family members that often include potentially risky, if not just uncomfortable, situations where your resolve is tested. It should come as no surprise to anyone that there is a higher likelihood of being offered, gifted, or simply being in the presence of more alcohol and substances over the holiday season. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you make holiday plans. The tip that underlies all of the rest is, “Plan ahead!” As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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Should I Use My Firm’s EAP or LCL?

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) of Massachusetts, like the lawyer assistance programs in all 50 states, is in many ways based on the model of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which grew out of the early growth of the AA movement and initially focused almost entirely on alcoholism.  The first official EAP seems to have been developed by the Kemper insurance company in 1962.  Over the years, employee and lawyer assistance programs have greatly expanded their scope to include a wide range of human issues including emotional, family, and occupational sources of distress, and in many cases have been credited with saving the careers of people who would otherwise have lost their jobs.

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