Law School Grad With Seven Years Sobriety Leads Charge For Student Well-Being

When Michael Anspach was a new student at Marquette University he was told at orientation about a “bar review,” this was a weekly meeting of students at local bars surrounding the university for drinks. Anspach had ideas on his own and made the suggestion that a club promoting sobriety be started on campus.

Anspach, who now is a 2018 law school graduate says that he was originally discouraged by the lukewarm reaction. He altered his original plan and started a club that would promote the well-being of students which offered healthy ideas for dealing with stress. The club participates in activities like outings to museums, ice skating, and nature walks.

Anspach has been sober since February of 2011 and says that he now looks back and see that there was perhaps more interest in a sober group than he originally imagined. This, Anspach reasons, is because alcohol and law school is a bad mix for many students.

The thirty-two-year-old Anspach is fully aware of the dangers of alcohol and has participated in two stints in rehabilitation as well as an ongoing 12-step program. Anspach sought out sobriety while an undergraduate student attending Boston College where due to his problems with the substance, it took him eight years to complete his bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

The subject of law school students and substance abuse has been a hot topic lately. A study conducted in 2014 that both mental illness and substance abuse is prevalent among students attending law schools. The study also found that many of these students are unwilling to seek help for these problems.

A December pledge by student leaders studying law at elite universities is focused on mental health awareness and well-being for attendees of law school.

Anspach feels that the schools themselves can help students by providing healthy ways to alleviate their stress that do not include the use of alcohol. Anspach did his part while attending Marquette by teaching yoga classes on a weekly basis.