When I walked through the doors of Pitt Law as a 1L in 1983, I was deep into alcohol use disorder, also known as an “alcoholic”. I was also dealing with traditional and exercise bulimia. Throw in clinical depression as well. I was completely alone in my struggle. No one knew. I would tell no one. Not my parents, my roommates or my dean of students (I can’t remember who that even was). I had no concept of 12-step recovery or any other type of peer support that might have been available. I was simply surviving the rigors of law school and my disorders on a moment to moment basis. Times have certainly changed. Today, as an incoming 1L either in recovery or perhaps terrified of seeking help, there is a wellness path for you. When I wrote The Addicted Lawyer (affiliate link), one story used was from a law student in recovery, Melissa. She graduated and is continuing her recovery in the practice of law. Who better to offer some insight and advice to incoming students. Here is some great advice from her:
On August 19th, 2014 I arrived at law school orientation, In the preceding year, I endured the loss of my father to pancreatic cancer, survived the LSAT, applied to law school, and packed my life to move 250 miles to Boston. More noteworthy though, was that on that date I was just shy of three years sober and about to commence one of my most challenging pursuits yet in recovery — becoming a lawyer; a lawyer in long term recovery. Long term recovery means for me that I have not had to put a drink or a drug in my body since August 30, 2011. A huge accomplishment for someone like me and it’s still shocking reflecting on that point in my life seven years ago.
Right before that pivotal day in August 2011, I was nineteen years old living in a homeless shelter in Easton, Pennsylvania, intravenously consuming 50 wax-folds of heroin and cocaine a day, and completely isolated from everyone who loved me. I was […]