Sobriety. Few words in the English language can contain so many different, yet related meanings. Depending on the person, the word Sobriety can mean anything from a welcome change of behavior in a family member or friend to the feeling of practically being “born again” in the person who experiences it.
In my line of work as a Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer, Sobriety means several things. It is a minimum requirement in order to win a License Appeal. It is the starting point from which my Clients begin to rebuild their lives, and often discover things are better than they ever could have imagined. It is a state of being that cannot be faked, although any number of people try to do just that.
In the rather large collection of articles in the Driver’s License Restoration section of my Blog, I examine the License Restoration process in detail, often pointing out that central to any winning License Appeal is the story of a person’s Recovery. I have also pointed out that, beyond just looking for Clients to pay my Fee for a License Restoration Appeal, I am looking for people who really, truly have achieved that wonderful state of Sobriety.
The truth is that I’ve grown used to winning License Appeals. In fact, I’m so confident in my ability to win a License Appeal that I recently added a guarantee in my License cases promising that if I don’t win a Client’s first License Appeal, the next one is FREE! A necessary component of that success, however, is screening my Clients to make sure they really have gotten Sober.
Merely not drinking is a far cry from real Sobriety. Anyone who is truly Sober knows this, while anyone who isn’t is wondering what the big difference is, anyway.
I have had people sit across from me and tell me that they’ll say whatever I want them to, but that in reality, no one is going to tell them not to have a glass of wine, or a bottle of beer, every now and then with dinner. I’ve declined representation in those cases. I have more than enough good work to keep me busy without the need to destroy my reputation by trying to pass off a Sobriety pretender as the real thing.
Beyond that, I think there are certain, unmistakable qualities to a person who has really achieved a state of Sobriety that cannot be faked. Truly Sober people are filled with gratitude. They have a certain way of “ringing true” that the mere pretender can never achieve.
I could spend the next few weeks cataloging all the ways in which truly Sober people have changed their lives. The larger point is that when you examine them, they almost always leave no doubt of their commitment to remaining Sober for life.
And make no mistake about it. The Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) will examine them in every which way. I’ve had plenty of truly Sober people hire me after trying a License Appeal on their own, or with a Lawyer who is not a bona-fide License Restoration Lawyer, and losing. My job in preparing them for their next Appeal is to help them complete their Recovery Story. I help them put the words to their journey.
Sobriety, when you find someone who truly has it, is a wonderful thing. One cannot help but share the gratitude a person who has gone through Recovery feels about a second chance at life.
I am reminded of the lyrics of a really great, touching song by County star Time McGraw, called “Live Like You Were Dying.” The song is about a man diagnosed with cancer who is given the news that he has only a brief period of time to live, and how he describes what he did with that short time:
He said “I was finally the husband,
“That most the time I wasn’t.
“An’ I became a friend a friend would like to have.
“And all of a sudden goin’ fishin’,
“Wasn’t such an imposition,
“And I went three times that year I lost my Dad.
“Well, I finally read the Good Book,
“And I took a good long hard look,
“At what I’d do if I could do it all again,
“I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
“I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
“And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
“And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”
An’ he said: “Some day, I hope you get the chance,
“To live like you were dyin’*.”
I think this sentiment is also shared by anyone who has gone through the hell of alcoholism and addiction, only to get that second chance by achieving Sobriety. They embrace life with a gratitude that is inspiring.
I know the Secretary of State is looking for this in any License Appeal that it receives, and I certainly am in anyone before they become my Client.
*Lyrics from cowboylyrics.com.