Practice Perspectives

Practicing in a small town does not immunize me from stress. My practice in family law almost guarantees that I will have work related stress most days. 

Before sobriety I believed I was a warrior helping the weak against the strong. Sometimes I helped save the children from a bad parent. I viewed myself as a protector and hero.

When I “won” I took credit. Therefore, when I “lost,” I had to take the blame. If I accepted the win, I had to accept the loss. This resulted in a great deal of anxiety and worry about every case. It led me to drink more, so I could stop the voices of worry and doubt in my head.

In sobriety I have tools that I can use to shed a good deal of my worry and anxiety. I have come to understand that I am not in charge of the result. My job is to help my client understand the process, to prepare my case, and to do the best job I can. I try to do “the next right thing” and then I let go of the result. I keep a box on my desk. Its job is to hold the things I cannot or should not—things I need to let go of. When I find myself getting really stressed about a case or client situation, it helps me to do something symbolic externally to facilitate letting go internally. So sometimes I put a client’s name in that box. Letting go cuts my stress into a more manageable level. When I “let go” of the result, I sleep at night. I have done my part, and the other players do their jobs. I can enjoy victories without putting a notch in my belt. I can endure the losses without blaming or harshly judging myself.

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