Spotlight On Attorney Lisa Smith
Welcome to another blog in our ongoing Spotlight Series. Here, we profile notable recovery advocates in our industry. Sometimes they’re celebrities. Sometimes they’re political leaders. And sometimes they’re members of our own Valley Recovery Center staff. For this week, we thought we’d shine the light on Lisa F. Smith. Not only is she a shining beacon of sobriety, she is also an accomplished attorney and a prime example of a successful professional who was once crippled by addiction. Her story is incredibly inspiring and her work today is just as impressive, with vlogs and workshops devoted to helping those battling substance abuse. We invite you to read her profile below. And if someone in your community deserves the VRC Spotlight, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be more than happy to share their story!
Lisa’s Sobriety Journey
Lisa F. Smith is a prime example of someone who, on the surface, appeared to have it all. A distinguished graduate of Northwestern University and Rutgers School of Law, she had a glowing career in the corporate legal world, working on cases at a leading international firm. But she had been hiding a drug and alcohol addiction for decades, stemming back to her teen years.
As Lisa explains in her recently released book, Girl Walks Into A Bar, the “party lifestyle” caught her attention early. Highly intelligent and highly functional, Lisa was able to balance drinking and drug use with the demands of college and even law school. This pattern continued well into her legal years, though (as it always does) the addiction eventually spiraled out of control.
“I knew I was an alcoholic 10 years before I got sober, but I was terrified because I couldn’t imagine what life would be like without alcohol,” she explained in a recent interview. “I had managed to hide my addiction from everyone around me. From my family, from my [colleagues], from my friends; meanwhile, behind closed doors, I was drinking and using cocaine 24/7 for about the last year. I couldn’t get out of bed without drinking.”
In the same interview, Lisa went on describe how a full detox became her first step toward recovery. “I had been so desperate, and so sick, and so tired when I checked in, and just in five days, in the detox, the physical transformation I experienced and just what my body felt like was so unreal after 10 years of constant abuse and hangovers, that I was willing to keep trying and keep doing this, and stay away from drinking.”
Becoming An Advocate
So what did Lisa do after letting go of a 20-year habit? Help others in her field. Lisa is now outspoken advocate for professionals and attorneys battling addiction. While promoting her book, she began gathering data about how prominent drug and alcohol abuse is in the legal profession.
In a recent survey she shared, Lisa revealed that more than 20% of interviewed practicing lawyers abuse alcohol. She revealed some of those findings in a recent YouTube clip, which we posted below.
We are big fans of the work that Lisa is doing and encourage followers to visit her website. It’s an inspiring testament of addiction’s blind nature. Rich or poor, attorney or high schooler…This truly is a disease that can damage anybody.