Section 35 in the MA General Laws allows a family member or oneself to appear before a judge and ask for ones child, spouse or oneself to be “committed”. Due to alcoholism/drug abuse and conjoined with the fear of the person to be committed harming one’s self or someone else.
Whew… the process scared me, I’m sure it must have scared my son as he submitted to such a thing. Matter of fact as he stood before the judge and admitted to his drug use/abuse and his inability to remain clean I was told he broke out in a sweat, in fear of the unknown. Once the judge heard him, he granted his “section”, the court guards came;
handcuffed him, placed him in shackles and put him in a holding cell until a place could be found in a long term program.
I heard nothing from him after 1:00PM on that day. Just before he entered the court room he called me to say
“I love you mom…I know I’m doing the right thing”.
“Yes you are baby” is all I could choke out.
He said he’d call me as soon as he could to let me know where he ended up.
Later that afternoon I heard from my niece, she had gotten a message from him through his friend that was with him at the time of the section. He was going to be placed in a program but did not know where. I hung up the phone and the choked back emotions from earlier just poured out of me. I sobbed most of the ride home.
The call came at about 9AM next morning, my son called to let me know where he was and what I could bring him;
5 pairs of socks
5 pairs of underwear
“No clothes? What are you wearing? I asked.
“Just scrubs are all we’re allowed for the first 5 days. I can’t have any real clothes till I’m in the next step. And mom, I can’t have any visitors either.”
Ever? I responded.
“No, just not until the next step”.
Ok… I said only to myself, I can deal with that. Not that I need to be there every waking minute, because that quite frankly is exhausting in and of itself. But a mom needs to see they’re child’s face every once and again. I’m that way with my two other adult children. If I haven’t seen them in awhile I make every effort to make a date!
After work that day I headed to the location of the program, I knew exactly where it was, yet had no clue that that is what was in those buildings. And they are just 5 miles from my home. (Unlike the other facilities that he has been in that have been a 45 plus minute drive each way) As I pulled up to the building I had no clue where to go, what door would be the one I should go into, they were all the same with no labeling.
White doors no windows…
As I climbed out of my car two women came out of the building, I so didn’t want to ask for help because that would mean telling them my son was in there. But I did, the kindness on their faces helped me as I choked out the short version. I was pointed to the door right in front of my car. No long walk carrying his underwear… good.
I entered into a very sterile environment where doors lock behind you with a thud and a loud buzz. I was asked to take a seat and that someone from his unit would be right with me. Unbeknown to me the very wall that the chair I sat in, my son was on the other side sitting in a chair against the same wall. As I logged in his belongings;
5 pairs of socks
5 pairs of underwear
one pack of cigarettes
and 11 dollars in cash
a wave of nausea swept across me and again that choked felling came over me. The woman doing the intake looked up at me and said…
”I did your sons intake yesterday…such a nice young man. You did good momma, you did good.”
I thought I would break down and sob like a little baby right then and there. But instead I let out a slow exhale to keep myself from breaking down. I smiled back at her and said
“he is a good boy, he just needs to get through this”
Moments later I was heading out the door with an empty suitcase, stumbling back to my car filled with more emotions that I can even get down on paper. I hear someone knocking on a window…
did I forget something…
I look over my left shoulder back at the door I just came through.. no window, I look to my right and there, standing in the window leaning on the very wall I had just been sitting against was my son…. waiting on his side of the locked doors to receive his belongings. I blow him a kiss and mouth “be good”, he blows me one as well and gives me the thumbs up sign.
Just past him I see another face in the window, it’s a face I recognize from somewhere… I look at the older man with what must have been a look of familiarity I look back at my son then again to the older man. I think he too realizes I think he is familiar. Someone inside the room must have called my son to collect his belongings because he steps away from the window… the older man looks at me for one more moment our eyes locked on each other, then he reaches up and slowly pulls the window shade down.
I climb into my car and start the engine… while pictures of recent memories start to fill my head…
I remember him…
I back the car out of the parking spot and begin the climb up the hill to get back out on the street when it hits me…
He was there at the very first detox program my son was in. He was in his early 60’s, he had been in and out of programs most of his adult life battling addiction. I remember my son telling me all about him the day I picked him up. I had to pull the car over I was nearly convulsing with sobs as I prayed in my spirit
“Not my son Lord, Not my son” Break the cycle of addiction… break him free from the demons that have ensnared him. Oh God please I beg you heal my son.
These last 10 months have been such a difficult journey. The fear of the unknown can eat away at you if you let it. I have had to hold fast to Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I have prayed that over my son and claimed its truths to quiet my anxious heart. I prayed it over and over again that night. Committing Him to God, lifting Him to the one who Heals.
I don’t know what these next months hold, but I do know the One who holds them. He holds me and He holds my son, and He holds the man in the window.