This is a humorous and sarcastic blog written by a paralegal in a mid-sized law firm in a mid-tier market. The goal is to share some of the pitfalls and foibles encountered in my own day-to-day experiences. Feel free to contact me at aparalegalslife@gmail.com with comments. Complaints, not so much :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

The daily life of a Paralegal or Legal Assistant is, if nothing, filled with pressure and stress.  Deadlines, increasing workload, demanding clients, demanding attorneys, uncooperative courts, the list goes on, and that doesn’t even include our personal lives.  In an environment like this, the ability to decompress and de-stress regularly is vital to both mental and physical health.  For many, alcohol is typically turned to as a socially accepted (and legal) way to de-stress. 

For some people, it can turn into something worse, such as alcoholism. 

That’s what happened to me. 

Without going into detail, I’m not what you would call a “functioning alcoholic”.  I didn’t need to have a shot the minute I woke up, and frequently went for days or weeks between drinks.  The problem lay in my lack of ability to stop drinking once I started.  Classic binge drinking.

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks trying to come to grips with the problem, with varied and increasing success.  It’s a lifelong struggle, but I’m nothing if not one stubborn bastard.  I am fortunate enough to have loved ones concerned enough to confront me about the problem before it became too severe.

I’m not going to get all preachy, or tell anyone to stop drinking.  I just want my experiences to try and serve as a cautionary tale, especially for people in our profession. 

It’s OK to de-stress, but don’t let the de-stressing cause entirely new problems.


June said...

I find that the problems of alcoholism, depression, stress, work/life balance, etc. of attorneys are receiving more and more attention, but little or nothing is said or considered about what we, the paralegals who are working in the trenches alongside (or in some cases, instead of!) the attorneys are experiencing. While many bar assns. include support groups for attorneys dealing with some of these things, I don't know if many (or any!) paralegal groups provide similar types of groups.

Grumpy Humbug said...

Some firms provide employee assistance benefits, but it seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Definitely is something for the professional organizations to consider.

Paralegal said...

I am so damn proud of you. You know I have been sending you positive vibes since you told me this a couple weeks ago, but to blog about it is huge. It is so personal, but you seriously can help someone who may be turning down a difficult road.

You know I am always in your corner. Hell- I made you be my very first guest blogger on Paralegal Hell :)

Love you Grumpy.

Paralegal Hell

Anonymous said...

Good for you for realizing it & taking action. It couldn't have been easy. I agree that many bar associations are providing support to attorneys, but paralegals and legal assts need the same support. Thinking of you & wishing you the best.

Kim Walker said...

I'm giving you a standing ovation! For being honest with yourself, for sharing with us and for not taking the easy way out! Best of luck!