This series of questions about one’s use of alcohol and/or drugs is an informal inventory of “tell–tale signs”, with many items tailored to lawyers. It is not a list of official diagnostic criteria and does not substitute for a professional evaluation (which D.C. Bar LAP staff counselors can provide in person or refer you to a certified evaluator).
1. Do I plan my office routine around my drinking or drug use?
2. Have I tried unsuccessfully to control or abstain from alcohol or drugs?
3. Do my clients, associates, or support personnel contend that my alcohol/drug use interferes with my work?
4. Have I avoided important professional, social, or recreational activities as a result of my alcohol/drug use?
5. Do I ever use alcohol or drugs before meetings or court appearances, to calm my nerves, or to feel more confident of my performance?
6. Do I frequently drink or use drugs alone?
7. Have I ever neglected the running of my office or misused funds because of my alcohol or drug use?
8. Have I ever had a loss of memory when I seemed to be alert and functioning but had been using alcohol or drugs?
9. Have I missed or adjourned closings, court appearances, or other appointments because of my alcohol/drug use?
10. Is drinking or drug use leading me to become careless of my family’s welfare or other personal responsibilities?
11. Has my ambition or efficiency decreased along with an increase in my use of drugs or alcohol?
12. Have I continued to drink or use drugs despite adverse consequences to my practice, health, legal status, or family relationships?
13. Are strong emotions, related to my drinking or drug use (e.g., fear, guilt, depression, severe anxiety) interfering with my ability to function professionally?
14. Are otherwise close friends avoiding being around me because of my alcohol or drug use?
15. Have I been neglecting my hygiene, health care, or nutrition?
16. Am I becoming increasingly reluctant to face my clients or colleagues in order to hide my alcohol/drug use?
A “yes” answer to any of these questions suggests that it would be wise to seek professional evaluation (at D.C. Bar LAP or elsewhere), but may or may not indicate that you have a diagnosable addictive disorder. Evaluations of alcohol/drug problems should be done by a clinician with addiction credentials and/or experience working in an addiction-oriented setting.