This will sound odd, but I am actually grateful for the experience now. As much as people think I have lost, I wouldn't trade that for what my recovery taught me about myself, about life and about what is right and wrong. I think I am blessed. When I was high on the hog, I never quite appreciated the finer aspects of life and what life has to offer. I do now.
Q: What did you learn from reaching bottom?
A: There is a picture of me in shackles. They were making an example of me and going to lengths to pile on the shame. But that wasn't the bottom.
The bottom came when I was in jail and about to get out. Guys were sitting around talking about the first thing they were going to do when they got out. They were talking about getting a bottle of Jack [Daniels whiskey], a bag of coke and a whore, and gosh that sounded good. That was when I realized how sick I was. At that pointand I was a year sober by thenI realized just what this fight was. That led me to a place of acceptance that was critical in my life. I now accept my defects, and work hard at not letting them control me.
Q: Do you in any way attribute the stress of being a lawyer with your drinking?
A: I think the nature of the beast and the businessthe highly competitive nature of the profession, the high stress associated with the practice of lawlends itself to that.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: I have a general practice. I do a good amount of traffic and minor criminal matters, some state administrative matters like labor and Workers' Comp, residential and commercial real estate and some estate and trust work. I do a little consulting and compliance work. I've been networking with some of the contacts I had from the past and some new ones.
Q: How much and what sort of pro bono work do you do?
A: I think last year I logged about 46 hours in legal pro bono. The year before I did about 70 because, frankly, my own practice was not very busy. I do a lot with veterans, a lot with people in recovery. I have guys who had criminal records dating back 20 years who are clean and sober and trying to move on, but have these pending matters, mostly misdemeanors and traffic stuff. I have one guy who is doing really, really, really well, starting his own business, and we had to travel all over the state to clean up his record. He was a veteran with a pretty rough past.