Chris Dunkin’s Journey Teaches Valuable Lessons about Recovery

Written by Sarah Parrish, Dover, Massachusetts

Sarah is a senior at Dover-Sherborn High School where she is captain of the Alpine Ski Team and the Track and Field Team. She is also a member of her school’s Peer Helping Club and Community Service club. Throughout the summer, Sarah works as a counselor at a local summer camp and also as a server at the Chatham Filling station. With a passion for leadership and athletics, she enjoys ski instructing at Burke Mountain and coaching field hockey for Dover-Sherborn Youth Field Hockey. She also enjoys her participation in the Senior High Youth Group at Pilgrim Church where she volunteers around her community. In her freetime, she enjoys boating, skiing, running and traveling. 

Through Chris Dunkin’s journey in the Gripped book series by Stacy Padula, readers can learn about how difficult recovery is and how surrounding yourself with the right people can be very beneficial.

Since Chris’s hospital experience in Gripped #2, he has been trying his best to stay away from drugs and surround himself with people that aid his recovery. However, when he was surrounded by drugs and alcohol at a party, it was easy for him to relapse and spiral down a bad path after he took acid with Jason. For this reason, readers can understand how difficult recovery can be and how small triggers can cause people to relapse. 

I think that Chris’s storyline was one of the most interesting in Gripped #3 because we saw how well he was doing, staying clean from drugs and building a healthy relationship with Courtney, which then went to ruins in one night. Courtney intrigues me a lot because we don’t know much about her yet. I think it is interesting that her new friends suspect she is starting to wear makeup and hangout with them for popularity. I also find it interesting that she ditched her old friends to join this new circle. I wonder if she will stay friends with them in the future and if she will ultimately choose Bryan or Chris.

To me, it was very sad when Chris shut Jason out of his life, and I find it interesting that Chris and Jason create a parallel to what Cathy went through with Chantal. Jason and Chris had been best friends for ten years prior to their falling out, and it seemed to Jason like Chris was blaming him for his own blunder. Meanwhile, Chris believed he was doing what he needed to do to get sober. It was interesting to see both sides, but heartbreaking to watch drugs abuse tear apart two very loyal friends. I also thought that Cathy and Chantal’s storyline was very interesting because it was suspenseful, wondering how Chantal ended up surrounded by Cathy’s friends after Jason’s party was raided by police. 

I look forward to seeing where Chris’s journey to sobriety takes him in Gripped #4. Now that he has broken away from anyone he perceives could be a bad influence on him, I wonder if he will find the strength he needs to lead the sober life he desires.


Now being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman!

After a near-death experience, Chris Dunkin begins surrounding himself with positive influences and putting his efforts towards living a clean lifestyle. However, the night before school starts, his best friend Jason convinces him to host a party that shows Chris more about himself than he actually wants to know.

Meanwhile, Marc Dunkin has received word from a detective that his oldest brother Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential case headed by the Boston Police Department. They know Taylor’s clean; they know he wants out of the game; and they want to help make that happen. However, their “help” will come at a cost-one that may put Taylor and his entire family in grave danger. Taylor is trying to get his life back in order after an opiate addiction wreaked havoc on his once promising athletic future. Getting clean was a difficult feat, but breaking free from the Bilotti crime ring will present an even greater challenge.

Published by Author Stacy A. Padula

Stacy Padula has spent the last 14 years working daily with teenagers as a college counselor, mentor, and life coach. She was named "Top Inspirational Author of the Year" for 2022 by the International Association of Top Professionals (New York, NY). In 2021, she was broadcast on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square as "Empowered Woman of the Year." Her Gripped book series is currently being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman. She is the founder and CEO of Briley & Baxter Publications: a publishing company that donates a portion of its proceeds to animal rescues each month. She has edited and published a variety of titles, including Boston Bruins Anthem Singer Todd Angilly and Rachel Goguen's The Adventures of Owen & the Anthem Singer, LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix's Last Chance U's Nate & His Magic Lion, and former NHL player Norm Beaudin's memoir The Original: Living Life Through Hockey. Stacy resides in Plymouth, Massachusetts with her husband Tim and two miniature dachshunds, Briley and Baxter.