In 2003 I was privileged to do one of the first reviews of Carl Horn’s book LawyerLife-Finding a Life and Higher Calling in the Practice of Law. My opening lines were: “Are you concerned about troubling trends in the legal profession, ‘discontent, quality-of life concerns, and plummeting public respect’? Is the profession at a turning point?” Maybe I have become jaded in my forty yearsas a lawyer including ten years as a LAP director, but I am greatly concerned about the profession to which I have dedicated my life and for which I have the deepest respect. I don’t know about other LAP, LCL personnel, and volunteers, but sometimes I feel like a voice crying in the wilderness. Then along comes hope and it always comes, first Carl Horn’s book and now A Lawyer’s Guide to Healing: Solutions for Addiction and Depression by one of our own, Don Carroll. First I must comment on Don’s writing style and the composition of the book, whether by design or happenstance it is perfect for people like me. The material covered is a wealth of information about addiction, depression, and healing comprised in “short chapters,” so for those of us that may have concentration or even ADHD issues it could not be better. Working with lawyers and educating the legal profession about addiction, depression, and other mental health issues can be extremely challenging and sometimes downright frustrating. Believe it or not, we do have some unique issues. I personally spent the first years of my recovery working on getting rid of my uniqueness only to discover that I not only had issues with rationalizing, justifying, and denying as all other suffering addicts and alcoholics, but I had been trained to defend my deluded thinking and perceptions of life. But now more hope by one of our own, so well written, so well researched, so filled with information that it puts the final nail in the coffin of the argument of lawyers, “but you don’t understand I am different.” As lawyers we have to know, we must have the facts, evidence is all important. A Lawyer’s Guide to Healing provides it all and much more. Just like our law school training in briefing a case, it is broken down into three sections: (1) Understanding Alcoholism and Other Addictions, (2) Understanding Depression, and (3) Understanding the Solutions. However, in the final analysis for me this book had a special impact, it contains the information, it gives the solutions, it breaks down the barriers, but most importantly I felt the compassion and understanding of the writer. I am a believer that there is a spiritual answer to all life’s problems. Maybe the title of the final chapter says it all: “Finding Happiness.” Do I believe A Lawyer’s Guide to Healing is a must read? I would hope from the above you would understand what a rhetorical question this is, but also its value as a teaching and healing tool cannot be emphasized enough. This book is a special gift to us all.
To obtain a copy of this publication send your request to the Commission via email to Lucy DioGuardi.
Rick B. Allan is the longtime LAP director in Nebraska and past member of the Highlights editorial board.