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Attorneys Kick Addictions with Help from The Other Bar

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Stress is a routine part of lawyers' work. In fact, 20 to 25 percent of lawyers suffer from stress so severe it impairs their practices, according to an American Bar Association (ABA) survey. Such extreme pressure sometimes leads lawyers to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
 
Attorneys Kick Addictions with Help from The Other Bar

Alcoholism appears to be more prevalent among lawyers than it is in the general public. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about seven percent of Americans are alcoholics. In contrast, about 13 percent of lawyers surveyed by the ABA said they drink six or more alcoholic beverages a day. In addition, one third of lawyers on disciplinary probation in California are monitored for substance abuse.

Dave Dawson, vice president of The Other Bar, a lawyer-to-lawyer program for alcoholics, told the California Bar Journal that he estimates between 15 and 17 percent of California attorneys are alcoholics.

Attorneys face unique obstacles in the battle against addiction. "Lawyers have big egos," Dawson, a partner at Tobin & Tobin in San Francisco, told the California Bar Journal. "Denial is much greater for lawyers than for any other [group of] professional[s]." Consequently, lawyers may be reluctant to seek the help they need.

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