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I Filed the Section 35 — I Feel Such Relief

boy passed out on couch with cat
Illustration © Eleanor Davis

"My son was kind, thoughtful, funny and loved by all.  He had a terrific work ethic, was taking courses in college and took on responsibilities easily. 

He started slowly spiraling down in his late teens/early twenties.  First it was alcohol (2 DUIs). He went to Tewskbury for a mandated treatment program. Then he started with drugs (heroin, crack, etc.). 

Since then, he has been in and out of treatment centers, and jail.  He shared with me a couple of times that he did not know how he was still alive after using so much at once. He is now 28 years old.

For years, it seemed like rehabs and jail were a rotating door. Each time my son was released he failed to stay clean for any period of time. Over the years he was in several treatment facilities, was on suboxone programs, and in and out of a halfway house. He could not hold a job. He kept returning to stealing to support his habit (larcenies).  He was arrested and spent time in jail.  When he was released – again – he did not stay clean for long.   

My stress level was very high and I was just burning out with extreme anxiety from worrying about him.  If I didn't hear from him, I would panic … but if he called I would also panic, not knowing what he was going to ask/say to me.

During the extremely rough situation of his drug use, I was referred to and contacted Dominique at Allies in Recovery.  This was surely live-saving. I got a lot of guidance, information and support.  If it wasn't for AiR, my son would never have gone into a detox/rehab in the first place.

Once I began thinking about an involuntary commitment called a Section 35 in Massachusetts (a law allowing you to petition for an alcoholic or substance abuser to be committed), I contacted AiR once again. I was very reluctant. I was focusing on the anger my son would have against me.  I was blind. Allies in Recovery connected me with someone and we spoke about Section 35.  This was very helpful and gave me strength to seriously consider doing what was needed. I finally realized the only choice was to do the Section 35 to save him. My son is deeply, deeply addicted.

Before I’d had a chance to put that into motion, my son was arrested for larceny (I refused to bail him out this time, thank you Dominique).  The next day he was brought to court in quite a mess coming down from his drug use.  Since he was in custody it made it very easy for me to decide to file the Section 35. 

I filed the Section 35 and it is probably the best thing I’ve done.  They already had him in custody so they did not have to search for him, and the judge approved the Section 35.  My son was transported to the Men's Addiction Treatment Center in Brockton.

I feel such a relief, a BIG relief, and now realize that I can have a life and hopefully he will also work on having a good clean life. He is in a safe place receiving help.

I thank AIR for helping me to save my son. There may always be the fear – but there is also Section 35, which I would not hesitate to do again."



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)