Sunny’s Story

A drug prevention book written by a mother who lost her son to a drug overdose from the viewpoint of the family beagle, Sunny. It's a great learning tool for kids, parents, teachers, and others.

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Jonathan P. Champigny 5/24/82-12/31/07

I’m Jon. I’m an addict. I’m stubborn and have become a slave to my disease. During my stay at MASAC, I’ve learned I’m sick and can’t do it my way. I need to ask for help and seek long term treatment.

Goodbye Heroin and Cocaine.

Up until this point you’ve told me where to go, what to do, and who to hang out with. You’ve managed to get me involved with numerous court cases and taken over the real person I used to be. You’ve made me constantly chase you around. Sometimes it took awhile, but I always found you.

Now I’m done. I’m sick of fantasizing about you. I’m sick of you being the only thing I really understand inside out. We’ve had good times but you’ve mostly put me through pain and misery. It’s now time to find something else. Someone that doesn’t just take from me. Someone who gives me strength and doesn’t take me away from my loved ones and Higher Power. Now for once it’s not goodbye for now – Its goodbye for good.

Jon’s Story:

My brother died on 12/31/07. We found some of his writings while cleaning out his apartment. The letter you read is one we believe he wrote a few months prior to his passing. Jon had a long battle with drugs. I always believed that he would know his limits and never lose his life to them. I trusted that his drug addiction was one he could somehow manage. I now realize that there is no controlling such a sad and insidious disease. In 2007, Jon had a really tough summer and fall. He was in and out of hospitals and eventually ran into some legal troubles. He was sixty days clean and getting weekly drug testing as we approached Christmas. We had a beautiful holiday and were rejoicing at the fact that he had gained almost thirty pounds during those sixty days and that he was talking excitedly about the future. Jon was the last person I said goodbye to before my husband and I left my parents house that Christmas. I took his face in my hands and kissed his cheeks. I told him he had made my Christmas so happy just for being healthy and staying on track. I told him that I loved him and to keep up the good work.

I was heading out on a New Years getaway with friends when we got the call during the afternoon of 12/31/07. I don’t remember much after hearing the news from my husband. Nothing will ever feel as paralyzing as hearing that my one and only beautiful brother was gone.

It is my hope that you hear about Jon’s final chapter and realize that Jon could have been your brother, son, cousin or friend. Jon was loved by everyone and it was profoundly evident when over six hundred people paid tribute to his life. I know that my brother never wanted to be an addict. The drugs that he turned to stole his soul. Although my family and I feel so grateful for the twenty five years we were blessed with Jon, we pray that his story can make an impact and maybe prevent another family from travelling down this painful road.

Vanessa C. McGunnigle

Boston, MA

Learn more about Courage to Speak® substance use prevention education programs for Elementary, Middle, and High School students.