Substance Abuse

By providing guidance and support, the Maine Assistance Program assists lawyers in dealing with a potentially fatal condition so that through recovery they may return to happy and productive lives.

Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drugs, both legal and illegal, are routinely used in society for enjoyment and escape.  Responsibly and safely used, this may or may not be problematic.  Continued use can lead to dependence and ultimately addiction.  Dependance is primarily physiological with the possibility of withdrawal, and addiction adds a compulsive/obsessive component that persists beyond the physiological withdrawal.  It is important to note here that, beyond withdrawal, there may be many long term harmful physical effects from some drugs and psychological effects from others. 

Successful people often miss the signs of dependance or addiction, pointing to their success as evidence that they must not have a problem unaware or in denial that their use may inhibit or end their successful careers.  As an example, members of the legal profession are almost twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse than the general population. Fortunately, chemical addictions are treatable. Alcoholism or drug abuse, for example, may readily be arrested and its ill effects alleviated, through abstinence from mood altering substances. If you, or someone you know, has an issue with substance abuse, MAP can help.



Attorneys, judges and students meet twice a month to share their life experiences and challenges with mental health and well-being.  This is a confidential and supportive group of peers.  Please contact  MAP director, Kristin Murray-James for more information.


Alcohol symptoms include:

  • Inability to limit the amount of alcohol you consume
  • Feeling a strong need to drink
  • Developing tolerance – increasing amounts to feel the effects
  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Drinking at work
  • Hiding the amount of your drinking from family and friends
  • Making a ritual of having drinks at certain times and becoming annoyed if the ritual is disturbed or questioned
  • Gulping drinks, ordering doubles, becoming intoxicated intentionally to feel good
  • Not remembering conversations or commitments made when drinking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms – nausea, sweating, or shaking – when you don’t drink
  • Conflict with friends or family over the amount of your drinking
  • Problems with work productivity, finances or relationships due to drinking

If you or a colleague think you might have a problem with alcohol or drugs, contact MAP right away. We can assist you to find the help you need.



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