Click below for additional resource information on the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program (ALAP).
Alcoholism and other chemical addictions are a leading health problem and cause of death in this country. The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse estimates that 10% of the population of the United States are alcoholics or otherwise chemically addicted. Chemical addiction within the legal profession may be as high as 20%. Alcohol and other chemical addictions are not the result of a moral defect or deficiency of character, but are chronic, progressive, and irreversible diseases. If excessive drinking or drug use continues, it is fatal. Death may result from suicide (25% of all suicides are alcohol related), accidents, or in the form of heart failure, liver disease, bleeding ulcers, cirrhosis, gastrointestinal disorders, or any of a number of other ailments. But death will be a direct consequence of the excessive and prolonged intake of alcohol or drugs. Not only is substance abuse a physical health problem, it also alters perception and thinking. Such changes produce certain predictable behavior patterns such as failing to keep appointments, failing to return client calls, missing deadlines, and other manifestations of poor judgment that undermine a lawyer’s ability to fulfill the heart of a lawyer’s ethical obligations to his or her clients and the public. The Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program offers confidential help and resources to all Alabama lawyers, Judges and law students needing assistance.
What is Depression?
Depression is an illness that involves the whole person. It includes the person’s body, mood, and thinking. It affects eating and sleeping habits feelings about self, and thoughts about everything. Fifteen percent of people who have a serious depression may eventually commit suicide. Don’t let this happen to you or to someone you know. Confidential help is available through the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program. To get help, simply call Robert Thornhill at (334) 224-6920.
To download a brochure on depression, click here.
Facts about the Problem
The primary symptom of depression is the inability to experience pleasure. Depression is an illness that is all consuming, completely enveloping a person’s life. The condition causes one to feel hopeless, helpless, sad, or down during most of the day, almost every day. Depressed people experience feelings of guilt and unworthiness. Sleeping patterns are adversely affected as are eating habits, often resulting in excessive weight loss or gain. People feel hopeless and often believe that they and everyone else would be better off if they were dead. They may be suicidal. Depression is not the result of weakness, moral defect, or deficiency of character. Rather, it is a chronic disease, the nature of which can be organic, psychological, or interpersonal.
Articles About Depression
If you are watching someone you love destroy themselves with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or other types of compulsive behaviors then you also are experiencing a great deal of pain. It may be that you and other family members have tried every means possible to get the addict/alcoholic in your life to stop. Maybe you have tried every possible way just to get them to understand what their behavior is doing to you, the kids and others in their life. You are not alone. You want relief. You want direction, and you need direction. All your begging, threatening and even leaving will not change the reality.
- Addicts and alcoholics are INCAPABLE of seeing what their addiction is doing to themselves. It is no surprise that they are incapable of seeing what their addiction is doing to the people they love the most in the world.
- Addiction is a brain disease which causes significant changes to occur in the circuitry of the brain. These changes are responsible for the irrational, compulsive and high risk behaviors often seen in individuals with addiction.
- Family members often believe they are somehow responsible for their loved one’s addiction. This is ABSOLUTELY not true. No matter what you have been told. You did not cause the addiction and you cannot fix the addiction. You can only take care of yourself.
- We understand that family members experience an array of feelings about their loved one’s addiction. Unfortunately family members often catch themselves walking on egg shells around the addict in their life. It is not unusual for family members to question even their own sanity.
- Fear, anxiety and sleepless nights can lead to physical illness. It is important that family members take care of themselves no matter what.
ALAP understands addiction. We have helped hundreds of lawyers and family members and we can help you too. Our calls are absolutely confidential, and we do not report to Bar disciplinary personnel.
Model Law Firm Policy (David Wooldridge is available for consultation at 205-930-5219)
Cognitive Impairment and Decline:
For Students in Recovery: The Student in Recovery listserv was developed by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) to provide a confidential email vehicle for law students who want to get, or stay, clean and sober while in law school. This is a chance for students to connect with and ask questions of their law student peers throughout the US and share their experience, strength and hope. If you wish to be added to the listserv, interested law students should contact Niki Irish, directly at email@example.com. Students should be prepared to talk a bit about their history and about their need and desire to communicate with other law students facing similar challenges. Ms. Irish will make the final determination to add the student to the Listserv and will provide each student with the rules and regulations regarding use of the “Student in Recovery Listserv.” When a student graduates and is admitted to the bar, he/she will be removed from the Listserv. This service is confidential.
For a brochure entitled Are You Fit to be a Lawyer?, click here.
Articles are in PDF format. You will need Acrobat Reader to view these articles.
Articles recently featured in The Alabama Lawyer:
- Lawyer Suicide
- The Professional Cost of Untreated Addiction and Mental Illness in Practicing Lawyers
- Plan B-A Woman’s Perspective
- The Returned Phone Call
- The Fourth Time Around
- Understanding Addiction, Helping Clients and Colleagues
- Carrying His Legacy – written by an Alabama lawyer, about her lawyer, to help other lawyers
- Accommodation or Transformation
- Addressing the Unthinkable: How You Can Constructively Deal with the Problem of Suicide
- Assisting One Can Help Hundreds
- The Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program at Work
- The Message of Hope
- Get Your Name on This Page: Be Part of the Solution!
- Signs and Symptoms of Chemical Dependency
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s mission is to provide immediate assistance to individuals in suicidal crisis by connecting them to the nearest crisis center in their area through a national, toll-free telephone number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For more information, you can visit:
Lawyer Assistance Websites
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
Depression and Bi-polar Support Alliance
Mental Health Info Source
Mental Health Depression Publications
National Institute of Mental Health
Stress at Work
Mental Health Net
Abraham Low Self-Help Systems
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder
Men and Depression
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Obsessive Compulsive Foundation
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Alliance
Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration
Sobriety and Recovery Resources
Renewal Center of the South
The Institute for Addiction Study
Dr. Omar S. Manejwala
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Prevention, Treatment and Recovery