Your Career, Alcohol, Stress & Burnout

Seeking balance & wellbeing

I help lawyers and professionals to drink less and manage stress. Professionals are saturated with wellness tips but often do not have the time to decipher which tips to pursue or put them into action. As a former lawyer for 20 years, I directly understand the difficulties lawyers face attempting to balance you career, personal life and health.

I also have first hand experience with both burnout and problematic drinking. The two often go hand in hand. I can support you to recognise burnout and alcohol red flags and take steps to create a life that is more enjoyable.

Drinking to “cope with” stress

Drinking to cope with stress is the main reason that lawyers say they drink. I used alcohol to cope with stress and to “get through” for 20-years until it became too much. It starts at uni, moves into the workplace and then you reach your mid-40’s feeling pretty “ordinary”.

Sophie, a 48-year-old lawyer, said that she “would often frequently end up drinking two to two and half bottles of wine… It just helped get me through a long arduous night… and when I got home I would have another glass of wine to tune-out work and relax before going to bed… I would wake up feeling like crap needing to get to work super early and do it all again.. I truly believe that had I kept going down that path, I just would have broken.

Pumping out an advice can feel tolerable not if you have a glass of red to accompany it, right?  You can forget that you are not spending time with your family, that you are bone-tired or that you are actually not coping well.

Drinking in law firms also seems to accompany every celebration, from attracting new clients, case wins to debriefing with colleagues and escaping from a combative day.

The drinking, the adrenaline and the camaraderie is incredibly exciting in your 20s and 30s; then not so much in you 40s; then you start to wonder “why am I doing this?”, “what am I gaining here?” and “how do I want to live the second half of my life?”.

Alcohol and Burnout Cycle Red Flags

  1. 3AM WAKE UP! It’s the stress hormones triggered by the alcohol
  2. Self medicating stress, anxiety and depression. Alcohol fuels these symptoms
  3. Moderation fails
  4. Everyday activities without alcohol are not enjoyable anymore (alcohol reduces your “joy” baseline)
  5. Fixation vs Liberation: Can you leave the half bottle on the counter? Can you drive by the bottle shop?
  6. Secret drinking: Sneaking an extra glass? Bottle in your office? Dutch courage?
  7. Panic & claustrophobia: Traffic? Social events? Hairdressers? Flights?
  8. Emotional symptoms: Cynicism, empathy reduction, detached, failure, motivation
  9. General risks: Drinking as a young teen, trauma, family members who drink too much
  10. Staying power: Does your energy ramp up as others in the room fade?

The benefits of taking a break that you may not have heard of

Yes there are the incredible health benefits that we know of such as weight loss, clear skin and eyes, better sleep and more energy but here are some other benefits that you may not be aware of:

  • Less stress Alcohol stimulates the release of your stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that stays in your body in high levels even when you are not drinking
  • More joy Alcohol takes away your ability to enjoy the things you used to enjoy as your natural dopamine baseline is compromised and life just feels “blah”
  • Knowledge A 30-day or 6-week break can reveal if you are in control or not
  • Freedom When you think about alcohol as much as you do you are not present in the moment and engaging whole-heartedly in, well, life!
What is the down-side in trialling a 4 or 6 week break from alcohol?

6-Week Alcohol Free Challenge

My online 6-Week alcohol-free program is a great place to start if you are ready for a break from alcohol and want some additional support and resources to help get you though.  My program is great for putting your resolutions to drink less into action. You will be exposed to new information about alcohol and how it shows up in your life. It’s evidence-based and designed to work. You also gain access to my Alcohol Freedom Library full of resources.

1:1 Sessions with me

Private sessions allow you to get to the core reasons of why you drink efficiently and effectively. Nothing works better than 1 on 1 work where you can hear and see another human, share stories and even a laugh. I am here to talk about what’s going on for you, what stresses you are facing and help you reach less for the wine and more for the music, the sneakers or the bathtub and a good book. As part of these sessions you also gain free access to my online program and alcohol freedom library. Please book in for a 30 minute free confidential chat and you can see if I am the right fit for you.

Online Course

A self-guided 6-week alcohol-free challenge to help you drink less

  • Science-based cognitive behavioural program
  • End your desire for alcohol
  • Free access to the Alcohol Freedom Library

*A comprehensive and effective program valued at the price of only 1 counselling session


Relevant Podcasts

© 2023 Isabella Ferguson