ChesterNewMatterWinter2017 - 29

CCBA Feature

www.chescobar.org

Blaming them for the darkness is so much easier than
seeing the light. The doctor is asking calm, focused
questions, to ascertain whether I am a danger to myself.
At times I am calm in my answers. At times I am crying,
angry at him, then at my brothers. Quit asking the same
questions! I know your game! Quit treating me like
an idiot!

are "thinkers" who can problem solve our way out of any
situation without disclosure. We are not vulnerable.
I am here to tell you that that emotional vulnerability
is a good thing in taking that first step to get help.
Reaching out is not weakness, it's courage. Asking
questions as a friend or family member is not intrusive,
it's compassionate.

An hour has passed. The room is getting brighter. The
love and calm of my brothers soothes me. Quiets me,
softens my edges. It's always been there, but I wasn't
present enough to sense it. I was thinking only of myself:
My next high. My next drink. Without the drugs, what
am I going to see in the mirror each morning? The
thought terrifies me. My brothers calm me, and I begin
to focus on my love for my family. Arms are around me.
Holding me. I begin to feel the love penetrating my shell.
They are not the enemy. Should I go to rehab? What

Be vulnerable. Be compassionate. Ask questions.
Provide resources. Learn what your State Lawyers
Assistance Program (LAP) has to offer. Learn what your
local bar association has to offer. Does your law firm have
an employee assistance program? What is your law firm
doing to empower talking, compassion and empathy
without stigma? If you are a solo practitioner, don't
isolate. People want to listen. Talking is healing. Silence
can be deadly.

A Suicide Problem
And Silence Is Deadly
about twelve-step? I'm still on the defensive, but at least
for the moment I can listen. Have to grab those moments.
They don't come often.
Sitting in that room during my first of two trips to
a psychiatric facility seems so long ago. Today I am
approaching 11 years in long term recovery. I still deal
with clinical depression and take medication daily. I
see a psychiatrist weekly. I am also a lawyer. I am part
of a profession with alarmingly high depression rates.
As I often write about, there is also the serious issue of
problem drinking in the profession. Both have a strong
correlation with suicide. I've been there. I get it. I talk
to many in the profession weekly who are currently
struggling. Some have contemplated suicide. I ask them
what they are afraid of in seeking help. What's holding
them back from taking that first step forward towards the
light. It's almost always about loss. Loss of license. Loss
of job. Loss of family. Interestingly, however, the fear of
loss is generally attached to disclosure of the problem and
not the possible consequences of the problem itself. That
is what we know as "stigma." A problem that cuts across
demographics but is particularly powerful in the legal
profession. We are strong. We are hard chargers. We

Brian Cuban (@bcuban) is The Addicted Lawyer. Brian is
the author of the Amazon best-selling book, The Addicted
Lawyer: Tales Of The Bar, Booze, Blow & Redemption. A
graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, he
somehow made it through as an alcoholic then added cocaine to his résumé as a practicing attorney. He went into
recovery April 8, 2007. He left the practice of law and now
writes and speaks on recovery topics, not only for the legal
profession, but on recovery in general. He can be reached
at brian@addictedlawyer.com.
New Matter | 29


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ChesterNewMatterWinter2017

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