This post was originally published on April 27, 2015.
Many program people would agree: a sponsor-sponsee bond is strong. Sure, you hear about times when a sponsor blabs something that a sponsee told them in confidence but it’s hardly a common occurrence. And I’ve always been very clear about where I stand on this: no sponsor should ever share anything a sponsee has told them, ever, under any circumstances.
Or so I thought. That was before I read this story that made me rethink my stance just a little.
See, a mother named Rachel Lehnard in Georgia was arrested for something that she told her AA sponsor and her sponsor told the police (according to reports, Lenhard was also in the process of treatment for sex addiction). Yikes. For one, I hope I’m never put in this position. Sponsors are told all kinds of crazy stuff; nobody gets sober because they were doing great or being “too upstanding,” right? So how bad could that behavior have been to go to the authorities? Well, it involves booze, pot, sex and naked Twister.
Going All the Way
Lehnard had been trying to get sober when her 16-year-old daughter texted her that her friends wanted to party. Lehnard seemed to think it was a great idea. She was so pro-party that she bought them lots of booze and pot and joined in. Normal, right? Um, not so normal. But normal compared to what happened after that; yep, she confessed to having sex with an 18-year-old guest during naked Twister.
Oof. That’s quite a party. And it gets worse. Lehnard woke up that night around 3:30 am and couldn’t help but notice that someone else was having sex with her. And that someone was a 16-year-old who also happened to be her daughter’s boyfriend.
One might expect that the daughter would have a fairly typical, or at least understandable, response of being upset with her mom and/or mad at her boyfriend, but very little about this story is typical. In a sheriff’s report, the daughter reported feeling guilty because her boyfriend was so well-endowed and she had felt insufficient to meet his needs.
There’s no evidence the 16-year-old committed a crime, nor were sexual assault charges brought against the Lehnart since 16 is the legal age of consent in Georgia.
Tattletale or Good Citizen?
This is the sort of tale that puts a sponsor, to put it mildly, in a bit of a dilemma. Sharing a sponsee’s confession for the sake of gossip, slander or entertainment? Not kosher. But when it comes to actual crime and child endangerment, it’s a different story. So let’s applaud the sponsor’s choice, since it resulted in Lehnardt’s arrest. She also has lost custody of her five kids (yep, there are four others).
While I’ve never come close to the kind of night Lehnardt and those kids had, I’ve certainly had my share of nights that started out as “super fun times” and devolved into over-intoxication, fights, cheating, sex and confusion. I get it. It starts as a drink or a toast or a celebration or blowing off steam and ends in destruction and handcuffs. As for Lehnardt, I’m cool with her continuing to play games from the 1970s but here’s hoping she can clean up her act and leave the rest of this kind of stuff behind.