Finding a Legal Career that Supports My Sobriety

I was excited the day I signed the loan paperwork for law school. I was nine months sober and felt invincible. Then, after my first semester of law school, I was not so sure. I ignored my reservations because I was afraid to be viewed as a quitter, and the debt trap was already set.

After passing the bar exam, I hoped for the best and accepted a job with a top-notch firm. I worked hard and developed a great reputation as a trial lawyer. And yet, every day I dreaded getting out of bed and going to work. To me, losing equaled worthlessness, and in my mind, the only solution was to always win. I also opened my own practice in order to earn more than anyone was willing to pay me. My business did well, but no dollar was guaranteed, and I wondered every month if I could pay the bills. I had a family to support.

I felt trapped. This pressure caused me to relapse twice in recovery; once at six years and again at four years. Because of my relapses, both my sponsor and my therapist suggested I leave litigation – not law, but litigation.

I finally fully surrendered to the fact that litigation was not good for my sobriety, despite the fact I excelled at it. One day, I got down on my knees and told God to give me an out and I would take it. I said, “Make it so clear, even I cannot miss it. Hit me over the head with a two-by-four, God.” Within a week, I got the answer.

I had applied for a litigation position in a state where I was not even licensed yet. Something had told me to apply for the position even though it made no sense. As part of the interviewing process, I had to take an extensive personality test, and the results caused the firm to offer me a different job. The new job was a non-litigation management position that sounded like something I would do for free. The pay and benefits package exceeded my expectations. I am so thankful I did not quit “five minutes before the miracle,” as they say in twelve-step recovery.

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