What’s it like to be a lawyer who drinks?

I’ve just recorded episode #44 for my audio podcast subscription thingy.

This is a continuation of my new series of audios, where I read letters I’ve received from professionals about what it’s like to drink and do their job.  Doctors, lawyers, musicians, pastors. The first audio was from a therapist. The second audio was from a pastor.

Today’s audio is “What’s it like to be a lawyer who drinks?”

Lawyer Wall (the now sober lawyer) tells us a bit about what it’s like to be a boozer in his profession.

It won’t be long before you see a pattern …

I’m posting the entire audio here, because it’s short. This audio will be available for 48 hrs. Click below to listen:

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Belle

I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • What’s it like to be a lawyer who drinks? Let me look in the mirror to answer that question. I agree with Lawyer Wall — it’s a hazard of the profession. We work hard, we play hard. We’re overachieving perfectionists, so high functioning in this context means we are able to get up, go to work, soothe worried clients, draft complex documents, argue motions, try cases and appeals, give advice, then go home, drink into oblivion, and start the whole thing over again. We’re really good at keeping it secret. We hide it exceptionally well. Drinking as stress reliever. Drinking as social lubricant. Drinking as reward. Drinking as the only treat in a hard day. For me, drinking to numb out the day, smooth the rough edges, turn off my brain, bring some peace. It worked, until it didn’t.

  • I am Lawyer Wall in the tape, and couldn’t agree more with my fellow traveler Dragonfly Wanders above.

    Belle asks at the end of the audio what it’s like to be sober as a lawyer.

    I am on Day 150 or so and probably the best thing I can say is: it feels pretty damn good. Getting poison out of your system seems to have a physical and psychological “multiplier effect”, and momentum begets momentum. I think my wife and daughter would probably say I am much more pleasant to be around as well (and hell, I was a happy drunk!). My workout partner finds that I don’t miss as many early morning workouts. My reading list finds that it has many more lines crossed through it.

    The “hardest” thing I have experienced in the last 150 days was the peer pressure thing, especially at first. It is hard on the ego to admit to others–especially drinking buddies– that you have quit drinking. You can dress it up all you want (“I’m trying to lose 10 pounds, etc.”), but my guess is that most people close to you “know”, and what rattles them is that they know they should be doing the same thing.

    But the nice thing about the “hardest” thing is that it only lasts a few weeks, and everybody moves on without you. The thing that sucks about the “hardest” thing is that it is those same few weeks in which Wolfie’s voice is at its strongest, and the poison isn’t quite yet out of your system.

    My advice to those starting Belle’s 100 day challenge is: know that once you have weathered the “few-weeks-storm,” you just might have your life back!

    • Listening to the audio and then reading your response on being sober was very inspiring. My career may not be as stressful as that of a lawyer, however drinking seems to be the norm for creatives. Some say it’s necessary in order to create, others say without it they would not be who they are or gotten to the level they got to in their careers. I have felt up and down about it during the first few weeks myself. I have not yet made it through the hard part. Knowing that it does get easier after a period of time is great motivation.

      Thank you. —