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Drug Use & Abuse   

Drug Use and Abuse

Understanding Addictions & Dependence

Identifying Addiction by Carol P. Waldhauser
Demystifying 12-Step Programs by Mary Greiner

Articles on Attorneys and Addiction, Depression & Stress

  •     The General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section of the ABA recently published Bumps in the Road, a theme issue of GP Solo Magazine. This edition has several articles specifically geared to attorneys on issues of alcohol and drug addiction, depression, stress, balancing work and personal life as well as other concerns. The pdf file will take a moment to load and then will open in a new window with a menu on the right, listing all available articles.
    Just click on the titles that interest you to read the full text.

    Read Bumps in the Road.

Codependence - When someone close to you has a problem

  • From Codependence: Partners & Paradox by Gayle Rosellini,

    Are You Codependent?

    If drinking or drugs are an issue in your relationship, you may be codependent — or fast on your way to becoming one. If you're not sure exactly where you stand, just ask yourself:

  • Do you get defensive if family or friends suggest that your partner has a problem with drugs or drinking?
  • Do you try to control his alcohol or drug consumption?
  • Have you ever lied or made excuses to your partner's employer about tardiness or absences?
  • Do you cover up your partner's chemical use so your children won't know?
  • Have you limited your social activities because of your partner's drinking or drug use?
  • Do you cover up when she is caught in a lie or embarrassing situation related to drugs or drinking?
  • Have you ever offered your partner a "social drink" (or a toke or a hit) when he was on the wagon?
  • Have you minimized the role chemical use plays in family arguments?

If you answered yes to two or more questions, you may have a problem. For your own sake (and your partner's), contact Al-Anon, Codependents Anonymous, or another support group or treatment organization.

Your relationship, health, and peace of mind depend on it.

Read the rest of the article.

Addicted Lawyers Can Overcome Barriers to Recovery

  • (Reprinted from the Hazelden Foundation's website, Copyright 2004, Hazelden Foundation)

    Robert started drinking at age 18 and was an alcoholic by the time he entered law school. "I managed to get my degree and go to work for a Wall Street firm.
    After that I changed jobs every two years or less. I just couldn't hang on to one. Nobody ever mentioned drinking to me. But I'm sure that with every job I lost, drinking was the main reason."

    Images of hard-headed, hard-drinking lawyers abound in popular culture. These images make a point: The professional status granted by a law degree offers no immunity from addiction. The same can be said for people in other prominent professions, such as physicians, pilots and politicians. In fact, the rate of addiction for attorneys may exceed that for the general population.

Read the rest of the article.

Assessing Your Risk for Addiction to Pain Medication

  • The following excerpt from Chapter One of "When Painkillers Become Dangerous - What Everyone Needs to Know About OxyContin and Other Prescription Drugs" is by Drew Pinsky, MD © 2004

The risk for triggering addiction and misuse is obviously much greater if you have a previous history of addiction, particularly if that addiction was to opiates. The greatest risk for reactivating addiction is during the first six to twelve months of sobriety. Every effort should be made to avoid any exposure to opiates during this time as it will reawaken all of the distortions, feelings of desperation and cravings of addiction.

The following list of questions can help you to assess your risk for addiction to pain medication, whether you have a history of addiction or not.

Read the rest of the article.

Lawyers in Recovery: Personal Stories

  • Getting On with It: Recovery Success Stories by Donald Muccigrosso and Donna L. Spilis

If you or someone you know can identify with any of the situations related in the following stories, be assured that help is available.

Learning the Truth Too Late-Jim, California

To almost any outside observer in 1980, I was sitting on top of the world. Maybe not a very big world, but one that a lot of us know. I was 28 years old, a very successful solo practitioner with a practice growing beyond my wildest dreams, and a "hometown boy" to boot. Single, living in a beautiful new home, and driving a 450 SL Mercedes, I had money in the bank, clients knocking on my door, and all the external trappings of a successful young professional. On the inside, however, things were different. I felt lonely in a crowd much of the time. I felt like the roll was being called somewhere I was supposed to be, but I was in the wrong place trying to maintain control of a world I did not create. I wished I could let someone know how I felt, but what would that person think? I concluded that I was just missing something...something I would find and add to my life to be complete.

Now it is more than ten years later; a beautiful day outside threatens to distract me from putting words to my story, my life. But a man who helped to save my life says I might help others by doing so. "Pass it on," he reminds me. The roll is being called again here and now. The problem with "before and after" pictures is that they do not communicate the intense experiences in between, the essence of life. My own "after" photo would show a little less hair and a few more lines and wrinkles. It would not show the pain accompanying the loss of what I had, including my license to practice law. It would not show my struggle for self-respect once I was stripped, in a very public and humiliating way, of those external trappings I mentioned. For that matter, neither would it show the joy and childlike happiness coming with freedom from addiction, nor the soul-deep assurance that I no longer have to drink or use any mood- or mind-altering chemical to feel OK about myself and the world. I am the only one who can tell this story from the inside out.

It has now been more than five years since I got sober, 60-plus months since I hesitantly stepped into a treatment center for drug and alcohol dependence. I was not pleased to be there. By December 1984, my life was a shambles-personally, professionally, financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and in any other way one might gauge oneself. I was morally bankrupt. I was financially bankrupt. I had no future. My future was behind me. I was also more frightened than I had ever been in my life because I knew if I was to continue to draw breath, it would have to be sober breath. I was pretty sure that was impossible.

Read the rest of the article.

Judge Tells of Depression, Suicide Attempt

  • The Grand Rapids Press, Wednesday, August 11, 2004, By Tom Rademacher and Ken Kolker

For most of his professional life as a district court judge, Steven Servaas has been stalked by a demon. He worked 20 years to keep it a secret -- from lawyers, from family, from friends. But one night this summer, he lost control over the secret and tried to kill himself -- an act he blames on the interaction of pain drugs for a recent injury and those he took for depression.   Kent County's longest-serving jurist, known for being colorful, confident, even-handed, went out that late night and decided the most logical thing to do was to take his life.

He swallowed what was left of his prescription sleeping pills, closed the door on a garage where a vehicle was running, climbed inside the car and waited for death to come.

Read the rest of the article.

Linking Stress, Depression & Substance Abuse

  • Linking Stress, Depression and Substance Abuse

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