Magazine article Addiction Professional

Attorney Avoids the Usual Labels

Magazine article Addiction Professional

Attorney Avoids the Usual Labels

Article excerpt

Lynn Garson battled binge eating disorder and depression and experienced three hospitalizations, with the most recent occurring in 2010. Since then she has enjoyed a successful return to the law profession and utterly unexpected acclaim as an author, but Garson hesitates to use the reference "recovery" in describing the details of her life today.

"At this point, this is [just] life," says Garson, 60. "People have their ups and downs. I really do feel like it's a little bit beyond 'recovery.' This is what life throws at you."

About four years ago, Garson turned what appeared to be a significant "down" into what would materialize as a major "up." Two years after a successful treatment stay at The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt, she was back home in Atlanta and had entered a Georgia facility that proved to be quite the opposite treatment experience. "By turns it was both amusing and terrifying," she says of life in the facility.

She was so frightened by the experience that she took to blogging about her illness and her treatment--without a ready-made audience to speak of. Yet a friend who worked as a food writer managed to see her work and advised her, "You don't need a psychologist; you need a literary agent."

The end result of that counsel would be the autobiographical Southern Vapors, a story of growing up in the South as an heiress-in-waiting in "a big white house more Tara than Tara itself" according to the book's description, but suffering the consequences of emptiness in her life. The book also chronicles the many treatment approaches she explored over the years, and outlines her family relationships. There have been discussions around finalizing a screenplay based on the book.

"It was my job and writing my book that brought me back," Garson says.

Becoming an advocate

Garson is in her third year at a Georgia law firm specializing in healthcare law, specifically transactions that bring together health systems and physician practices. But while the work as an attorney and a newly minted author has kept her busy, advocacy looks to be the fastest-growing aspect of her life right now.

As someone who has battled both an addiction and depression, Garson has a potentially powerful message to deliver. But she admits that in the behavioral health community it can be difficult to get one's voice heard.

"There are all these little fiefdoms, and it can be hard to break in and get people's attention," she says. …

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