I had my first experience with an LCL volunteer 25 years ago. My firm was a hard-drinking one. To a practicing alcoholic like me, a newly minted lawyer, it was perfect. But the level of drinking going on concerned a partner, and he asked an LCL volunteer to come to our annual fall retreat and talk about alcohol abuse in the legal profession. The LCL volunteer, Bill, delivered a dispassionate, friendly, after dinner lecture about alcoholism, its symptoms, and the problems it causes. Many of us listening were “feeling no pain,” having already had several drinks at dinner. It must have been hard for the LCL volunteer since many of us were in the conference room with drinks in our hands as we listened. A couple of people even went out to “freshen up” their drinks while he spoke. I remember his warmth and humor – and the message.
I Was an Alcoholic
That lecture planted, for me, the first seeds of realization that I was, in fact, an alcoholic. I recognized the symptoms were ones I was experiencing personally. For the first time I could recall, I was uncomfortable with the fact that I drank too much. Not much later, an employee of the firm went into treatment. After seeing her success, it was only a matter of time until I would follow. I was arrested for a DUI, and I remember actually feeling relieved because I knew what my options were and what I needed to do. This was thanks, in no small part , to the information I got from the LCL volunteer that night. About a year after I sobered up (some 23 years ago), I called LCL to become a member and made an appointment.
I am sure LCL expected to see a helpless drunk, but they found instead a drunk in recovery who wanted to give something back for what had been given to me. I’ve been grateful to be a part of the organization ever since.
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