Oct. 8, 2021 – “They taught me how to help others and get out of my own way,” said Ms. Sabbath, who graduated from Clark University; she earned a master’s degree in social work from Boston College and is a clinical social worker.

Even in recovery, Ms. Sabbath continued to make such bad choices in boyfriends that when she began sponsoring others in her 12-step program, her sponsor told her: “‘You’re not allowed to give relationship advice. If someone asks, refer them to someone else.’”

Meanwhile, Mr. Clayton, too, considered himself to be carrying around baggage.

In his late 20s, he got a woman pregnant. They were not in a relationship and fatherhood was not a part of his plan.

Mr. Clayton grew up in Medford, Mass., the older of two sons of David Clayton Sr. and Justina Clayton, and he was the first college graduate in his immediate family. He received his degree from Tufts University, where his mother is an admissions administrator in the child development department. His father recently retired as a senior bioprocess associate at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

When the pregnancy news came, Mr. Clayton’s first inclination was to tell no one and move far away. The shame of having a child out of wedlock, he said, was “overwhelming.”

But, as he received nonjudgmental reactions from others around him, it helped him to be less hard on himself.


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