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Watch Out For Narcs

I’m not the first to post this caution, which is found on a number of addiction oriented sites, but if you are new to looking for help for addictions, your web searches may lead you to something called “Narconon,” which is both a program and now a facility in Florida (land of a thousand rehabs).

 

It sounds a lot like Nar-Anon, doesn’t it, and also like Narcotics Anonymous.  (NA is like AA for drugs; Nar-Anon, with no “c,” is for significant others of drug addicts.)   But it’s neither of those.

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Recovery in Law School – An interview with SK. (Part 2)

We continue our interview with SK, a 3L law student in the greater Boston area. Part 1 of the interview can be found here. She graciously agreed to share some of her story with us and to tell us more about Refuge Recovery, a Buddhist path to addiction recovery.

LCL: What is Refuge Recovery and how did you come to be aware of it? How has Refuge Recovery helped you? Do you apply Buddhist principles in all aspects of your life? How have Buddhist principles influenced your life in general, your experience of law school, your future goals as a lawyer?

SK: Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist-based approach to recovery from addiction, founded by a man named Noah Levine*. [*Noah Levine is under investigation for sexual misconduct. Read further at the bottom of this post.] There are meetings all over the U.S. and the world. It’s open to anyone, at any stage of dealing with or recovering from any type of addiction, including alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, codependency, shopping, you name it. I discovered it through a sort of sister-group called Dharma Punx, which is a Buddhist meditation group that also has meetings in Boston. As a nice twist of fate, my sponsor who I met through twelve step is also involved in Refuge Recovery. I spent my first six months of sobriety crafting my own recovery program which consisted mostly of podcasts, books, yoga and meditation, and a diet overhaul. But I was really craving being able to commiserate with other people about what I was going through, so I began going to twelve step meetings and Refuge Recovery meetings and I am so, so glad I did. I wish I hadn’t waited!

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Tips on Making the Season Brighter – Seasonal Affective Disorder

The change in the season means many different things to different people. When the season changes from autumn to winter (at least in regions where there is distinct variation between seasons), some people are excited about the holidays, winter fashion, and outdoor winter activities (think of your friendly neighborhood skiers, snowboarders, Santa impersonators). For others, the change in season is met with dread (lower amounts of energy, mood fluctuations, pessimism). While many people are negatively impacted by the colder seasons, there is a percentage of individuals who are affected to a significant degree, those who meet the criteria for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD occurs when the change of season produces depressed mood, low energy, irritability, change in sleep patterns, change in appetite, diminished concentration, and low motivation.

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The Misconceptions of Sobriety – #1: Sober people are miserable

In our work with the legal community, we see a fair number of law students and lawyers who are somewhere in between the precontemplation and contemplation stages of change. The precontemplation stage is when the person is unaware of the need to change a particular behavior, has no interest in changing, minimizes the negative aspects of changing, and highlights the positive reasons for the status quo. The contemplation stage is when the person is aware that something needs to change, they might not know exactly what they need to do or what it will entail, but they have a desire to make a change in the near future.

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How to Practice Mindfulness and Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety lives in the future. It cannot exist in the present moment. If something bad is happening in the present moment, you might not like it, but you are not anxious about it. Anxiety requires the ambiguity of the future. The never-ending “what if” questions. You cannot ask “what if” questions about what has already happened, or what is currently happening. Anxiety thrives in the unknown.

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The Right Therapist > The Right Therapy

Many times when I see lawyers (or their family members) for assessment at LCL, I go on to refer them to an outside provider for ongoing therapy/counseling.  Unfortunately but necessarily, often the first consideration in choosing a provider is a review of the individual’s managed care provider list.  (I always hope the list includes people we know.)

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Which is More Important – the Therapy or the Therapist?

When we see lawyers/law students (or their family members) at LCL who we think would benefit from ongoing therapy (you can call it counseling if you prefer), we make an effort to match them with clinicians with whom we have some experience or have at least acquired relevant information.  That’s one of the reasons why coming to LCL for a referral is usually better than simply selecting one from a list.  My own approach, if I’ve gotten to know the therapist even a little, is to visualize him or her with the client in front of me, and get a sense of how that might go.  The fact is that, while some therapists are more helpful than others, none is a good match for everyone.

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Should I Use My Firm’s EAP or LCL?

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) of Massachusetts, like the lawyer assistance programs in all 50 states, is in many ways based on the model of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which grew out of the early growth of the AA movement and initially focused almost entirely on alcoholism.  The first official EAP seems to have been developed by the Kemper insurance company in 1962.  Over the years, employee and lawyer assistance programs have greatly expanded their scope to include a wide range of human issues including emotional, family, and occupational sources of distress, and in many cases have been credited with saving the careers of people who would otherwise have lost their jobs.

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When and How to Employ “Section 35”

Many of us have endured the excruciating situation in which a loved one is caught up in an addiction and we have very limited ability to protect them from themselves.  In most cases, this is where options like Intervention or resources like Al-Anon can be helpful tools.  When addictive behavior remains active and imminently life-threatening (a possibility of which we are all more aware lately in light of the surging rates of opioid overdose), a possible stopgap action is to seek to compel a period of involuntary alcohol/drug oriented hospitalization in a locked setting. 

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