License Restoration Questions - AA Sponsorship
Provide the name, address, and phone number of your AA sponsor.
When was the very last time you ever attended AA?
Questions regarding your Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor focus on the importance of attending meetings on a regular basis. The hearing officer will expect your AA attendance to be consistent, sustained, and part of your regular routine. As such, it will be important to demonstrate that your regular attendance has allowed you to forge a relationship with someone you consider a mentor – someone who has endured the same trials as you have while successfully abstaining from alcohol. You should be ready to provide your sponsor's name, address, and other contact information. Be similarly prepared to allow the hearing officer to contact your sponsor at any time to verify your attendance and progress. You should ensure that your sponsor is of the same sex as yourself, as establishing an opposite-sex relationship with an AA sponsor may become a conflict of interest as you attempt to focus on sobriety, and not other things. Although the hearing officer will have some reservation regarding an opposite – sex AA sponsor, the most important point is to ensure your relationship with your sponsor reflects a deep commitment to learning the 12 steps of AA, and slowly incorporating them into your life.
AA attendance is almost always a part of any court sanctions imposed at sentencing; there are many of you who would never have attended a meeting were it not ordered by the court. Still, there are others who have attended meetings in the past and have decided to stop attending. While people have mixed opinions regarding Alcoholics Anonymous, most people who routinely attend meetings have a significantly better chance of refraining from alcohol. The hearing officer is intimately aware of the benefits of AA and will insist that anyone capable of regaining a license attend meetings on a consistent basis. Be prepared to provide the hearing officer with your original AA attendance sheets, documenting the date, time, and location of the meetings you have attended. Make sure that the date is legible and that the sponsor running the meetings has signed his or her name near the documented meeting time, authenticating that you actually were there. If you wish to maintain your own record of your attendance, make sure you copy your AA sheets, as the hearing officer will keep the originals for record-keeping purposes.
Your AA sponsor can be one of your strongest advocates when it comes to attesting to your sobriety. Therefore, try to make your sponsor available for the hearing so he or she can speak to your efforts and progress. The hearing officer may ask the sponsor, under oath, how often you attend, and whether or not you have made any measured progress. You will likely be measured on the sincerity of your efforts without too much deference to how far you have come in working the 12 steps. It is much more important that you fully integrate the step you are currently on before advancing to another step. A hastened exercise of all 12 steps will demonstrate a lack of concern for the substance these individual steps can offer you. Make sure that you are entirely satisfied that you have honestly completed the step you are on before tackling another. You will not be held accountable for not rapidly advancing to the 12th step of AA, as your success at the step you are on may form the foundation for success at the next level. Your sponsor should know the step that you are currently working, and be able to provide concrete examples of how you have incorporated the step into your life. An AA sponsor is also excellent in providing a “before and after” description of yourself. The author has seen countless people literally transform their lives after having attended AA. There are numerous people who quite literally look different after having sincerely pursued the benefits that AA can offer. It is a wonderfully indescribable feeling to literally see a change in the posture, demeanor, and overall “glow” of a person who has consistently attended AA and has made a concentrated effort to work the steps of the program.
The hearing officer will want to know that that if you are granted a form of licensing, that you attendance in AA will continue. You will likely be asked, “How long do you intend to go to AA”? Your answer should be one that you take quite literally: for the rest of your life. Coming to terms with your drinking problem will mean coming to terms with the understanding that alcoholism is a disease for life. As a lifetime illness, you should take pride in the understanding that your new and improved life will, in no small part, be attributed to your life commitment to attend AA meetings. You attendance can continually feed your earnest commitment to sobriety and will serve as a dependable reservoir of strength and support during times of temptation. You must honestly convince the hearing officer that relying on AA has helped you successfully maintain sobriety. As a proven method of effectiveness, the hearing officer wants the assurance that you will continue to use what works for you in staying sober. AA attendance for life reinforces that fact that you will continue to do what is necessary for sustained sobriety.
Your AA sponsor should be available as a witness for you in the event that you feel you should shore up some of the information you have provided the hearing officer. If your sponsor is not available, try to secure a letter from your sponsor that he or she can address to the DLAD, documenting the details of your relationship to your sponsor as well as your progress in working the program into your everyday life.