Will This Be a Blue Christmas?, 1118 ALBJ, 79 The Alabama Lawyer 428 (2018)

AuthorRobert B. Thornhill, J.
PositionVol. 79 6 Pg. 428

Will This Be a Blue Christmas?

Vol. 79 No. 6 Pg. 428

Alabama Bar Lawyer

November, 2018

Robert B. Thornhill, J.

Here we are once again-the holiday season is upon us!

For many this is a joyous time of celebration and thanksgiving. For others it is a time of worship and sharing. For most of us it is an opportunity to spend precious moments with family and loved ones. However, there are many for whom the holiday season has become a time to be endured, marred by the recent memory of a lost loved one or associated with painful memories of the past. Still others find themselves in the grip of mental or emotional struggles, such as depression and anxiety or addiction, and no way to cope with these untreated mental health issues.

I believe this holiday season is an opportunity for all of us in the legal profession to be intentionally mindful of our colleagues and loved ones who are struggling, and to reach out and offer our assistance and support. Most lawyers work hard to provide counsel and guidance to their clients, many of whom are struggling with addiction o r mental illness. Sadly, they often fail to recognize or assist when they or a colleague is exhibiting symptoms of impairment. Because of the nature of addiction, these otherwise intelligent men and women often lack the insight needed to recognize that they are in trouble. Lawyers who are struggling with addiction are not "bad people who need to get good." They are "sick people who need to get well." And, they need our help. When we have the genuine love and courage to reach out and tell them what they need to hear and not what they want to hear, then the process that leads to recovery has...

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