Editor’s note: This post is part of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s Stories of Recovery series. TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance abuse or mental health issues. Call TLAP at (800) 343-8527 and find more information at tlaphelps.org.
A while back, I had a plea in county court and another lawyer asked me to cover a reset since I would already be there. As I was resetting my hearing, a lawyer I didn’t recognize approached and said she really needed to talk to me.
She wanted to thank me for the CLE presentation I had done a few months previously. The presentation was about lawyers taking care of lawyers—practice pressures, addictions, retirement, etc. We made a big push for out-of-county lawyers to come, and a large contingent from her county attended.
The lawyer said she never knew other lawyers were going through the things she was, even lawyers with “big time” practices. It helped her realize she is not alone—we all have these problems. She said she’s been telling everyone the seminar changed her life and encouraging them to go next year. I thanked her and proceeded to get my reset finished. I felt pretty good.
The lawyer grabbed my hand, and in a hushed voice said, “I called the suicide hotline because of that CLE.”
I swear I will never forget these words. I gathered myself and stepped out of the reset line to speak to her further. Apparently, she had been in despair for months and nobody knew. She had a plan. She was waiting for the time.
That plan is now abandoned. She told me about her recovery. I gave her my cell number in case she felt like talking or if she needed anything. I emphasized the one-day-at-a-time approach.
Now, I just feel like I need to share. I am hopeful she has found her way. I have no reason to think she has not.