Skating Through and Looking Good

I enjoyed drinking. I first started when I was 15 and I seemed to often get in trouble when I did it. I did not get in trouble every time I drank, but every time I was in trouble, I had been drinking. I was able to function well in school, college, and law school, and only had minor scrapes with the law along the way. Well, maybe not so minor. When I was ready to take the bar exam, I was flagged for a character and fitness evaluation, which I should have been.

I skated through my evaluations and was licensed. One of my problems was that I seemed to always get myself out of trouble, which reinforced this idea that I was “special.” Special indeed. I liked to party and I only wanted to hang out, date, and associate with people who liked to party as well. I was not the kind of alcoholic that had to have it in me at all times—I was the type that once I started I did not know what would happen next. Sometimes I would drink like a normal person, other times I would go on benders. It was unpredictable and was a very frustrating way to live.

Finally the idea of always getting out of trouble ran out of steam and I was faced with some serious legal consequences. Getting caught driving drunk (and naked) will do that. I had to save myself, and the only thing I knew to do was throw myself on the mercy of the Lawyer Assistance Program. I figured that when the reckoning came it would look good for me if I tried to get some help. My intentions were selfish, as they always had been. Off I went to treatment for four months.

About month two in treatment I changed. I actually wanted to quit the lifestyle and stop drinking and doing drugs. I started to listen to what they (the treatment experts) said and to do what they told me to do; I faked it until I made it. I attended AA and still do to this day. My life without alcohol over the last nine years has been amazing and certainly free.

I believe that we all have these ideas of what alcoholics and drug users are. We tend to think they have lost everything and live in the gutter and use and drink all day, every day. It has been my experience that this is not the case. I believe addiction, like many other diseases, comes in many different flavors and affects folks differently, and it is deadly. Often, I held up my normal behaviors and successes as proof that I did not have a problem, but that kept me from getting help much longer than necessary.

Today I am grateful that I finally sought and got help, and that I have the tools to maintain a sane and reasonably healthy lifestyle that includes a good marriage, a successful practice, and better relationships with family and friends.

If you are interested in contributing your own story to the Sidebar, click here. The Sidebar is supported by the stories of our readers, and we appreciate your contributions.