The Legal Mindset

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Clearly not everyone who drinks excessively or uses drugs recreationally is an alcoholic or an addict.  Many of these people don’t have a “problem” with their substance(s) of choice.  And even where some measure of substance “dependence” exists, it may not create the havoc in their family or professional lives that signals the need to take a closer look at the issue.

The Substance Abuse Continuum

The sad truth is, however, that substance dependence and addiction does create problems for attorneys, executives and other professionals.

Experience shows Attorneys have the same personal and professional needs and blind spots as any other professional or executive.

This is especially true when confronting the issue of substance abuse in our lives.

When challenged in this regard— whether from misplaced pride or fear of admitting weakness or career suicide– we attorneys often bring our considerable practice skills to bear to deny or downplay our unhealthy relationship with addictive substances and their consequences.

We naturally and expertly deny, justify, excuse, deflect, minimize and explain the many reasons why it’s anything but substance abuse or addiction that give rise to concerns or consequences in our spheres of influence.

When confronted with the evidence, we’ll tell others “I’m fine,”  “I can take care of it myself,” or “I can handle it…” 

Will Your Recovery Toolbox Include Recovery Coaching?

Will Your Recovery Toolbox Include Recovery Coaching?

For a small subset of the population, our bodies and pleasure pathways respond differently to the introduction of potentially addictive substances. If we are unwittingly a member of this population, we are not immune because of our education, social or professional standing or career success.

This then begs the question, if you’re a member of this population, what is your plan? Also, what tools are available to you to put your plan into motion?  Will your recovery toolbox include Recovery Coaching?


Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer.  However, because of our professional success, we may come to think the rules of addiction and dependence don’t apply to us.

 “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

Bill Gates


  • The International Journal of Law and Psychiatry reports problem drinking developed in 18% of lawyers practicing between 2 & 20 years and in 25% of lawyers practicing 20 years or more.
  • Studies conducted in numerous jurisdictions have pegged the rate of alcoholism in the legal profession at between 15% & 24%.  Roughly 1 in 5 lawyers is addicted to alcohol compared to the national average of about 9%.
  • Alcoholism among lawyers contributes to approximately 60% of disciplinary prosecutions75% of disciplinary proceedings in California in 2008 involved alcohol abuse. Similarly, over 60% of all malpractice claims involve alcohol abuse.
  • The ABA has concluded approximately 90% of all serious trust fund disciplinary matters involve substance abuse, primarily alcoholism.
  • The medical community reports 20% of all active attorneys are addicted to drugs or alcohol.  

Signs We May be Falling Into Void

These numbers DO suggest attorney addiction is something we all must take seriously. Common signs or symptoms of substance abuse or addiction are listed below.  [1]

Behavioral Symptoms of ABUSE can include:

  • Repeatedly Neglecting Responsibilities
  • Alcohol Use in Dangerous Situations
  • Legal Problems Due to Drinking
  • Continued Drinking Despite Relationship Problems
  • Drinking to De-Stress
  • missing important meetings, appointments appearances

Signs and Symptoms of ADDICTION will include:

  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal
  • Loss of Control
  • A Desire Coupled with an Inability to Stop
  • Neglecting Other Activities
  • Devoting more Time, Energy and Focus to Using
  • Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences

I.D.E.A.L. Recovery Coaching is grounded in elements of positive psychology, transtheoretical change modeling, transformative learning theory, addiction medicine and its intersection with advancing knowledge in the neurosciences. [2]

My sole and exclusive goal is to help attorneys and other professionals INCLUDING YOU to identity and address substance abuse, addiction and recovery challenges and achieve long-term wellness by:

  • clarifying recovery goals & creating individualized recovery action plans & practice milestones for measuring progress;
  • building experience-based thinking partnerships for identifying & moving past blind spots that stall your progress and success;
  • developing sound recovery practices that complement your practice skills, including managing cases & clients, generating & retaining business, marketing your practice & increasing your visibility;
  • developing & strengthening the emotional, spiritual & empathetic competencies that define the successful practitioner & promote long term well being.

I am dedicated to helping you find the recovery pathways that work for you and journey with you at your pace in the direction you set. I will work with you until you have achieved the recovery vision that is uniquely yours.Lawyer Recovery Coach Paul C. Meidus, Recovery Coach for Lawyers in Redding, California

Call me at: 530-515-5198

Or, email me at  I  look forward to speaking with you, and, remember, together we do what many of us are simply unable to do on our own. 

[1] National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., (NCADD)

[2]    For more on these ideas, please read my October 2014 Blog post entitled: “A Change Strategist: Coaching an Attorney’s Path From Addiction to Recovery.”

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