Attorney General Escapes Addiction
Even though he knew he drank too much, former Canadian Attorney General Michael Bryant denied he was an alcoholic for many years. Because he was a successful attorney who regularly performed his job well, he could not accept that his alcohol abuse was far more than a simple drinking problem. He told Law Times, “I constantly fooled myself into thinking that because I was functioning as a lawyer, I wasn’t necessarily an alcoholic. My experience was a lot of self-delusion that was eventually followed by a surrender. There is a point where every alcoholic throws their hands up and says, I have to give up this fight. That was the turning point for me.”
For over ten years, Bryant struggled with his addiction. One morning after a night of heavy drinking, he woke up paranoid and he knew he couldn’t control his alcoholism, despite efforts to do so many times before. His recent memoir, 28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy and Hope, details his story of triumph over alcohol. Since the morning he woke up to his moment of clarity, he has been sober. Bryant says that before he got sober, alcohol was the most important thing in his life.
Doron Gold, a counselor for lawyers who are alcoholics in Canada says alcohol abuse is common among the law profession, partly due to the stress of the job and the egos involved with practicing law. Many lawyers, he says, go on drinking even though they are alcoholics because they do not want to be perceived as “weak.”
“They think they don’t have the luxury of having feelings. So they won’t tell anyone and will try to hide the problems that come from it because they’ve been trained to solve problems,” Gold says.
Bryant, however, disagrees that being a lawyer made him any more susceptible to alcoholism than anyone else. “It’s an addiction,” he says, “It was always there.”
For Bryant, there are no excuses, and there are no special cases. Alcoholism can affect anyone, regardless of profession or social status. His memoir is now available to readers around the world.