It starts in law school. The happy hours, the alcohol-filled pre-gaming before the alcohol-filled parties, and the all too frequent nightcaps after a long day of work or studying become commonplace. You quickly become consumed by the alcohol drinking culture without even realizing it, and these law school habits are often unconsciously carried over into your legal career. The American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation revealed that up to 20 percent of lawyers have a substance abuse problem, and more than one in three practicing attorneys are problem drinkers. Further, the rate of alcohol abuse is significantly higher for women lawyers than male lawyers (39.5 percent compared with 33 percent). Arguably, excessive alcohol consumption is a coping mechanism for many American attorneys who fall victim to the legal profession’s highly competitive and stressful demands. However, prioritizing self-care can be one of the best and most effective ways to navigate the alcohol culture and resist the urge to overindulge.
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