Fall 2019


The Perfect Addict  

From childhood to adulthood, this attorney suffered with the disease of addiction. With the implementation of a 12-step program and admitting that he was powerless over his substance abuse issue, he was able to develop a better way of living.  He stayed focused, worked hard, and asked for a second chance from other legal professionals. Today this attorney is successful with his employment, and most importantly is also living happy joyous and free.

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ABA Anti-Stigma Campaign

Stigma, shame, and fear. These obstacles frequently play a major role in an individual’s decision not to seek help when suffering from mental health and substance use disorders. Too often, lawyers, judges, and law students find themselves wrestling privately with frustration and despair as an addiction or mental health problem dominates their life and threatens their career.  To raise awareness about the nature of addiction and mental health distress in our profession and to challenge the biases and stigma that surround those problems, the ABA’s Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (CoLAP) created a profession-wide anti-stigma campaign that will feature a series of videos highlighting the personal recovery stories of lawyers, judges, and law students who have overcome these issues. These videos send the message that recovery from addiction and mental health problems is entirely possible for legal professionals. Our goal is to ensure that fewer of our colleagues face these challenges alone.

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Emotional Sobriety by Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote about emotional sobriety in a letter he sent to a depressed friend in 1956.  This letter was eventually published in The Grapevine in 1958 titled “Emotional Sobriety: The Next Frontier.”

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Law Firm/Organization Impairment Policy

In 2019, the Policy Committee of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and the ABA Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession developed this template to provide suggested guidelines to legal employers for responding to an employee who is experiencing impairment due to a substance use disorder, mental health disorder or cognitive impairment.

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