Open Thread: On Drinking Too Much, Jobs That Encourage Drinking, and Drinking Because of Job-Related Stress

women lawyers and drinkingDrinking and drug use can be a problem for anyone, but there have been a number of stories lately about how it’s particularly a problem for lawyers. (We’ve also talked in the past about how there are many high-achieving women who drink too much, too, and there was a great Medium post by Kristi Coulter last summer that explored the idea that “to be a modern, urbane women is to be a serious drinker.”) I asked Rebecca Berfanger to take a look into drinking advice for women lawyers and other professionals — what are the best tips out there for cutting back on your drinking? How can you navigate a culture of drinking — without getting sucked in? Readers: for those of you who have successfully moderated your drinking or stopped drinking entirely — what are your best tips? (For those of you who care to share — have you ever had a drug problem? What resources or tips do you recommend to other women in your situation?) For those of you who manage lifestyle and job-related stress in ways OTHER than drinking, what do you do instead to relax, take the edge off or “turn off work mode“? (Welcome back to Corporette®, Rebecca!) – Kat

Following a 2016 study by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, the ABA reported that “21 percent of licensed, employed lawyers qualify as problem drinkers, 28 percent struggle with some level of depression and 19 percent demonstrate symptoms of anxiety.” The study also found that “younger attorneys in the first 10 years of practice exhibit the highest incidence of these problems.”

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Women, Drinking, and Overachieving


2017 Update: We still stand by this advice for women and drinking too much, but you may also want to check out our more recent discussion of women lawyers and drinking.

Ladies: how do you feel about drinking? Do you think overachieving women tend to drink more? We haven’t talked about this for a while, but it’s been on my mind with various news articles I’ve seen, and with the holidays coming up I thought we’d discuss. (I don’t want to totally rehash my thoughts from our 2010 discussion on this, but I still agree with all of them…)

First, the articles and propositions I’ve been thinking about:

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Overachieving Women Who Drink Too Much

Overachieving Women Who Drink Too Much

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice about overachieving women who drink too much, but you may also want to check out our more recent discussion of women lawyers and drinking.

As we mentioned on Friday, we’ve been curious about the recent story on Gothamist, “Overachieving Women Will Drink You Under the Table,” in part because so many of you “liked” the story once we posted it to Facebook (and amazingly, not one of the six is one of our drinking buddies!)

Looking more closely at the reports, the study notes that “The more educated women are, the more likely they are to drink alcohol on most days and to report having problems due to their drinking patterns . . . . The better-educated appear to be the ones who engage the most in problematic patterns of alcohol consumption.”  We have a few thoughts on this, which we’ll try to put in a cohesive order, but we’re primarily curious to hear from you:  1)  Do you drink to excess? 2)  Why do you think that is?  3a) What does a typical night of drinking look like for you, during a “school night” and during a weekend night?  (3b: Any favorite cocktails, types or brands of wine, liquor or beer?  Fine, and 3c:  what do you toast to?)  4) On the more serious side — have you ever worried that you drink too much? What have you done about it? (For right now, let’s just talk about alcohol, although we suspect a thread on prescription drugs might also be in order.) (Pictured:  New York City, 17 May 08, originally uploaded to Flickr by flickr4jazz.) [Read more…]

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