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Alcoholism Treatment & Rehab Programs For Attorneys and Lawyers

Back in 2016, the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation released some alarming results of a joint study: 28 percent of practicing attorneys suffer from depression.

Even more concerning: More than 20 percent of those surveyed tested positive for “hazardous, harmful and potentially alcohol-dependent drinking.” The conclusion of that study, based on a sample size of almost 13,000 lawyers? “Attorneys experience problematic drinking that is hazardous, harmful, or otherwise consistent with alcohol use disorders at a higher rate than other professional populations.”

That can be attributed to a number of reasons — stress; debt incurred from law school loans; exacting standards on themselves; and the competitive nature of law, which pits attorneys against one another to arrange for the best possible outcomes for their clients. In a 2018 article for the American Bar Association Journal, Oregon-based retired family lawyer and wellness practitioner James Gray Robinson puts is succinctly: ““Lawyers wear a bullseye on their back. Many lawyers start their legal careers with crushing debt, zero clients and uncertainty about their future. Law students face insurmountable odds and can be depressed even before they step foot out of law school. Also, lawyers have to have an elephant’s hide, the courage of a martyr, and the patience of a saint. We are not trained for this.”

In other words, it can be an exacting, sometimes all-consuming line of work that demands a pressure valve. Like many other professionals in high-pressure jobs, alcohol and drugs are often quick, easy and readily accessible methods of stress relief for attorneys. Over time, what begins as a way to unwind becomes a way to cope, thereby leading to alcoholism and addiction.

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What The Professionals Program Entails

It’s not easy for attorneys who suffer from addiction and alcoholism to relinquish the iron grip of control they often have in their professions, but the unique nature of our Professionals Program has worked for a range of licensed individuals in particular fields of expertise, from aviation to medicine to nursing to pharmacy. In addition to the standard treatment regimen — safe, medically supervised detox from drugs and alcohol, followed by entry into a treatment program with individuals from across the professional and personal spectrum — those who take part in our Professionals Program have a liaison and ally in Program Director Janet Hicks.

Janet works with Lawyer Assistance Programs (LAP) across the country, which “provide confidential services and support to judges, lawyers and law students who are facing substance use disorders or mental health issues,” according to the ABA. Her experience as both a professional and an individual in long-term recovery uniquely positions her to work closely with both the attorney in treatment and LAP oversight. From the moment an attorney makes an initial call to Cornerstone, Janet facilitates a treatment plan, keeps LAP personnel abreast of the progress those attorneys make in treatment and helps formulate a discharge plan that returns them to practice as soon as possible, with new coping mechanisms in place that can help them navigate the field of law without drugs and alcohol.

The typical Professionals Program treatment path includes:

  • A three-month treatment center-based recovery program that includes residential, intensive outpatient treatment, the supportive living program and therapeutic volunteer work;
  • An ongoing professionals therapy group;
  • A three-month family recovery program; and
  • Advocacy by Cornerstone staff with the patient’s board of licensure and long-term recovery monitoring agency, if required.


That’s the goal of the Professionals Program at Cornerstone of Recovery: to help those afflicted not just stop using drugs and drinking, but address the root causes of their addiction and alcoholism, so that the issues plaguing their emotional and mental health are addressed, and the healing process can begin. Therapeutic tools like mirror imaging, peer support and three group meetings each week with other professionals from various occupations give patients an opportunity to find new ways to cope with stress and new methods of self-care that can protect them from the high-stakes pressure of their jobs while allowing them to build rewarding, fulfilling and ultimately sober lives.

Lawyers who struggle with drugs and alcohol aren’t bad people, and they’re not weak people — they’re sick people, suffering from an illness that’s beyond the scope of their control. But by addressing that illness and the issues that precipitate it and coincide with it in the Professionals Program at Cornerstone of Recovery, they can find the peace of mind that makes their lives, and their careers, rewarding again.

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Does Cornerstone Accept My Health Insurance?

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At Cornerstone, we understand all too well that addiction and a bank account that’s in the black are often mutually exclusive scenarios. If you’ve made the decision to seek addiction treatment, you may be at a loss over how to afford it. The good news is that Cornerstone of Recovery is an in-network provider with most major commercial health insurance plans, meaning that your health insurance policy will likely cover some, if not all, of your drug rehab stay. More importantly, the employees in our business office have decades of experience working with insurance companies to get the most out of your behavioral health benefits, so that you can begin your recovery without the looming cloud of financial strain hanging over your head.

Cornerstone Is An In-Network Provider With Most Insurance Companies

We also offer private pay options.

Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal
Crescent Health Solutions

Empire Blue Cross
Health Alliance
HealthSmart: Benefit Solutions
Horizon Healthcare
Magellan Behavioral Health

Meritain Health
ValueOptions/Beacon Health Options

If you currently have TennCare or are looking for lower-cost treatment that you plan to privately pay for, we would refer you to Stepping Stone to Recovery, our sister TennCare alcohol and drug rehab also located in Knoxville.