Message from Director

This is the fourth weekly special pandemic edition. In case you missed last week’s or are a new subscriber, I will reiterate the message as to how and why we are sending these special editions.

The world breaks everyone, and then some become strong in the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway, Farewell to Arms

LAP volunteers have become strong in the broken places. While LAP is often perceived as helping lawyers and judges who don’t know how to effectively cope, what most folks don’t realize is that as soon as LAP participants begin actively using recovery tools, they become incredibly resilient and actually cope better than most, especially in situations that parallel the COVID-19 pandemic. By that, I mean situations steeped in uncertainty (economic, personal, professional, social, familial), situations where there is a sense of a loss of control, not only to shape outcomes (as we like to think we do as lawyers), but even loss of control over the process. This is where people in long-term recovery shine. They’ve had years of practice implementing these tools day in and day out. Recovery is mostly about day-to-day emotional well-being as we navigate the vagaries of life.

It is not that people in long-term recovery somehow do not feel scared, anxious, frustrated, angry, impatient, or overwhelmed. They do; we do. It is that we have learned ways to be more present in the unfolding moment, more emotionally balanced and not make it (life, a difficult situation, etc.) worse than it actually is. Sometimes it (life, a difficult situation, etc.) can be quite bad. So we have to find ways to navigate it with some sense of equanimity to maintain some balance. This is where recovery tools come into play. In good news, these recovery tools are available to everyone.

I reached out to some of our volunteers and asked each to send me a short paragraph on their favorite recovery tool and to apply it to the pandemic. Each entry you see is written by a different volunteer, and yet, you will see lots of overlapping themes. I anticipated only receiving replies from about a third of volunteers I contacted. Instead, I received more content than I can possibly use in one Sidebar (or, frankly, ten). So we will be sending a short Sidebar every week to subscribers, and I will roll out a few tools and articles each week. I have also created a page on our website that can be used like a tool box when a refresher is needed. You can click on a tool and read multiple lawyers’ perspectives on a topic. I will update this webpage with additional content as it arrives.

A note about some of the entries: some speak of God or a Higher Power, and I have not edited this out, where I might normally. LAP takes no position on these issues and encourages readers to insert their own conceptions, whether they be religiously, scientifically, psychologically, or humanistically based. As one of our slogans encourages us: Take what you like and leave the rest.

I thank all the LAP volunteers for the rapid fire turn around on these articles and reflections. I thank you for your humor, your wisdom, your perspective, your humility, your generosity, your example, your selflessness, and your friendship. An unexpected collateral consequence of the pandemic has been that I have fallen in love with recovery and with the people of recovery all over again.

Robynn E. Moraites
Director, NC Lawyer Assistance Program

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.