Sobriety as a First Requirement in a Driver’s License Appeal

In my Practice as a Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer, I am contacted by loads of people who want to legally get back on the road again. Honestly, if I could simply represent everyone who wants to come in and hire me, I’d need to clone myself twice: I’d need two of me to handle the cases, and a third to just handle the business side of things. The basis of my success in this field, however, has to do with making sure I only accept representation on behalf of those who are not only eligible, but also ready to undergo the scrutiny involved in a License Appeal.

That “scrutiny” involves many things, but first, and foremost, it assesses whether or not the person trying either to get their Michigan Driver’s License Restored, or obtain a “Clearance” so that they can get an out-of-state License, is really and truly “sober.”

no_alcohol3.jpgAt its simplest, my first inquiry of a prospective Client is about their sobriety. Of course, it is necessary that they have not had a drink for at least a year, at the minimum, but I’m equally interested in finding out if their definition of “sobriety” means remaining abstinent. In other words, I need to know that a prospective Client has not only been alcohol-free for the last year or more, but also plans on remaining alcohol-free permanently.

When I am contacted by someone who hints that they’re willing to say whatever I want them to say, or otherwise indicates they’ve had anything to drink in the last year, I know several things right away:

I know that the person is not ready, by a long shot, to begin the License Appeal process.

I also know that they have not read enough of the articles in the Driver’s License Restoration section of this blog, wherein I make very clear that I’m only interested in taking up the case for those who have honestly made a commitment to remain sober.

Finally, I know that the person, whatever else, has not “hit bottom,” or had enough, or whatever term one uses to describe that point where a person has simply gotten sick and tired of being sick and tired, and knows they have to eliminate alcohol from their lives.

It is interesting that, given how “sobriety” can rather easily be described, it is incredibly more difficult to “fake.” For whatever reason, there is just a certain something that those who have discovered true sobriety have, and those without it sorely lack. Within those who have really “gotten it,” there is a kind of enthusiasm, and a kind of gratitude that just cannot be faked. Even if they know all the “buzzwords,” those who have not really “gotten” it simply cannot fake it, or at least fake it well enough to fool the State.

And these attributes of real sobriety can rather easily be uncovered even in the most shy or tongue-tied of people. A person does not need to be a particularly good speaker to win a License Appeal. If there’s a real Recovery Story within them, then it becomes my job to get it out and bring it to life. You cannot do that, however, when it has not happened yet.

Those who have really “gotten” it don’t have to think about this, because they’ve passed this point long ago, but for me, in screening someone, I have to make sure that they don’t confuse a period of mere abstinence form alcohol with a period of true and committed sobriety. Sobriety has all the same elements of abstinence, plus one more: That “extra” element is the person’s understanding of the need for, and a genuine commitment to not drink again, ever. In other words, if a person has simply stopped drinking, but has not decided that they’ve stopped forever, then they are not yet sober. “Sobriety,” at least within the language of Recovery, means making a permanent lifestyle change and decision to remain alcohol-free.

Most often, those who have made this commitment to sobriety can tick off benefit after benefit as a result of this rather huge lifestyle change. Anyone who thinks of Sobriety as a mere boring state of not being able to drink anymore is way off base. Sober people, at some point, choose not to drink anymore, but not just because to do so would bring negative consequences; instead, NOT drinking brings benefits, like improved family relationships, a better state of mind, a happier state of being, and a general sense of better physical well-being, that a sober person would never trade for all the drinks in the world.

The License Restoration process is complicated. However, before anyone can seriously consider beginning that process, or at least seriously think they have a chance to succeed, they need to have arrived at a state of Sobriety. It is a necessary ingredient in the recipe for a winning License Appeal. The good news is that a person knows if they’ve got it or not. And if you’ve got it, then it may be time to start thinking about winning back your Driver’s License.