(WJHL) — A Tri-Cities attorney is using his own experience to keep other legal professionals from a potential career and life-changing path. In turn, he says it ensures clients get quality representation.

Stephenson Todd has been practicing law for 43 years. He is forthcoming about being a recovering alcoholic and was chosen for a board that helps other law professionals.

“I got involved in that initially because I’ve been clean and sober for over 39 and a half years, and Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, we call TLAP, is a program designed to help lawyers and judges and law students with substance abuse issues, mental health issues and gambling issues, those type of things,” he said.

Rather than keep it a secret, Todd uses his experience to help the high number of attorneys with substance abuse and mental health issues.

“I know exactly what they’re going through because I was there at one point in time,” he said. “I would have spiraled out of control and crashed and burned and wouldn’t have been good for anybody.”

He also helps clients who are having custody issues along with substance abuse problems.

“I feel that I can help them create a road map on how to solve their problem the best way either to keep their children, or get their children back,” he said.

That helps both the client’s situation, and Todd’s sobriety.

“It’s invaluable,” he says. “Nobody else has been there and done that and knows what it’s like. It’s something that I know first-hand. I’ve been there, I came out of it, and I stay involved in helping people so I don’t go back there.”