Author Archives: Starting Point

UPDATE: Announcing New Programs For The Starting Point’s Educational Series

Currently, all of our education programs are virtual. Whether you attend live or connect later online, our goal is to make our education programs as informative and engaging as possible. Questions? Please email Loretta Depka, our Executive Director at or call 856-854-3155

You can see a list of our upcoming programs below. Click on a program’s link for more information.

Click here to jump to our Education page, where you can see a library of past programs.

APRIL 2021:

Date Time Program
Thurs, Apr 15 5pm Erik Jervis interviewed by Loretta Depka – “Returning to Socialization.” To access the Zoom meeting, click here. Zoom Meeting ID: 853 7900 3381 ; Passcode: 854581
Thurs, Apr 29 12pm Vince DiPasquale interviewed by Loretta Depka – “The Spirituality of Sports. To access the Zoom meeting, click here. Zoom Meeting ID: 852 0058 7334 ; Passcode: 181796

MAY 2021:

Weds, May 12th – June 23 12pm and 7pm Vince DiPasquale Lecture Series: “Spiritual Journey Through the 12 Steps Series

Connect with us!


Don’t miss out!  Information about our programs will be posted on our website, social media pages, and our email newsletters.


The Starting Point Inc. of New Jersey YouTube channel:

Vince DiPasquale’s YouTube channel :



If you have any questions about our education programs, or if there is a topic you would like to see covered, we would love to hear from you! Please email Loretta Depka, Executive Director at or call 856-854-3155.

Click here to jump to the top of the current web page.

Vince’s LIVE ZOOM 2021 Lecture Series : Wed At 12 and 7

Please join us for Vince’s DiPasquale weekly lectures live each week on Zoom every Wednesday at 12PM and 7PM.

(For more info about Vince, check out his bio at .)

Wednesdays 12PM:

Meeting ID: 848 1784 8874

One tap mobile
+19292056099,,84817848874# US (New York)
+13017158592,,84817848874# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

–OR– Find your local number:


Wednesdays 7PM:

Meeting ID: 892 5376 1873

One tap mobile
+19292056099,,89253761873# US (New York)
+13017158592,,89253761873# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

–OR– Find your local number:

Many of Vince’s previous lectures can be found on  Vince’s YouTube Page. Please take a few moments each day and visit Vince’s Facebook Page and The Starting Point’s Facebook Page for more of Vince’s content.


Codependency Series

  • April 7 ~ The Six Stages of Recovery
  • April 14 ~ Self-Parenting and Affirmations
  • April 28 ~ Family of Origin Work
  • May 5 ~ Discovering the Inner Child

Spiritual Journey Through the Steps Series

  • May 12 ~ Spirituality – Foundation of the Steps
  • May 19 ~ Step 1 – Powerless and Surrender
  • May 26 ~ Steps 2 & 3 – Let Go and Let God
  • June 2 ~ Steps 4 & 5 – Honesty and Sharing
  • June 9 ~ Steps 6 & 7 – “Humanness” & Humility
  • June 16 ~ Steps 8 & 9 – Amends: Direct or Indirect
  • June 23 ~ Steps 10, 11 & 12 – Gratitude, Prayer, and Service

Nine Gifts of Gratitude Series

  • June 30 ~ The Gift of Life
  • July 7 ~ Family
  • July 14 ~ Growth
  • July 21 ~ Openness
  • July 28 ~ Experience
  • August 4 ~ Recovery
  • August 11 ~ Change
  • August 18 ~ Service
  • August 25 ~ Relationships
  • September 1 ~Special Guest Lecturer

Relationship Series

  • September 8 ~ What is an addictive relationship?
  • September 15 ~ How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Self
  • September 22 ~ How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Others
  • September 29 ~ Relationships and Sexuality

Personal Growth Series

  • October 6 ~ Change and Pain
  • October 13 ~ God as I Understand God
  • October 20 ~ The Serenity Prayer
  • October 27 ~ The Slogans

Shame Series

  • November 3 ~ The Many Faces of Shame
  • November 10 ~ Shame Reduction
  • November 17 ~ Healing the Shame
  • November 24 ~ No Lecture. Blessed Thanksgiving

Holiday Series

  • December 1 ~ Thanksgiving Service: Gratitude
  • December 8 ~ Codependency and Family Tradition
  • December 15 ~ Service: The Spirit of Generosity
  • December 22 ~ No Lecture
  • December 29 ~ No Lecture


2021 Podcast “Who, What, When, Why, Where: Substance Abuse Treatment” Is Now On The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel

On Thursday, April 1, 2021, our Executive Director Loretta Depka was joined by the Executive Director of The Beacon Point Treatment Center, Joseph Curran.

Like any other life-threatening disease, addiction requires serious and immediate treatment, but treatment for addiction isn’t “one size fits all.”  Joe points out that there are proven science-based solutions to addiction and the emotions that fuel it.

With so many different approaches available to a potential consumer, Joe discusses the different methods of substance abuse treatment including inpatient, outpatient (IOP), detox, group and one-on-one counseling, sober homes, aftercare services, and support for families.

You can find The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel here.

Part of The Starting Point, Inc. of New Jersey Education Series.


LIVE Podcast Thursday, April 29, 2021 – 12pm ~ “The Spirituality of Sports with Vince DiPasquale”

Play ball! Join us Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 12pm for a live podcast with The Starting Point Founder, Vince DiPasquale who will discuss why he sees sports as a gift that can teach us about life.

Sports have rules, require patience, hustle and skill. On any given day, anything can happen.  Even the best of hitters only connect 30% of the time. Life is a spiritual journey you play one day at a time. You never stop learning. In games and in life you can make mistakes and still come back. As Yogi Berra once said, “it ain’t over until it’s over.”

Vince is a noted lecturer and educator who has been active in the field of addiction and recovery since founding The Starting Point in 1977. He lectures frequently on issues surrounding all types of addictions, grief-loss and separation, addictive relationships, co-dependency and its effect on families, as well as issues surrounding the adult child. He has recorded numerous CDs and videos, and is author of several books including Relationships – The Gifts of Life; Learn to Value Your Childhood- Your History is Your Teacher; and My Spiritual Journey.

A replay of this podcast will be available on The Starting Point’s new YouTube channel within a few days after the live podcast. Click on the subscribe button and you will receive a notification any time something has been uploaded.


Topic: The Spirituality of Sports — Vince DiPasquale
Time: Apr 29, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting:

Part of The Starting Point, Inc. of New Jersey Education Series.

Sat, April 10, 1 to 3PM ~ ONLINE Sound Healing Workshop ~ “Sound & Music: A Vibration For Staying in The Moment”

Can we use Sound and/or Music in order to keep us present and centered? This is one of a number of questions we will be looking at during this class.

Come experience the vibration of the moment.

Facilitators: Angelo Rizzo & Mark Jones, certified sound therapists.
How to attend: Go to to RSVP online.


LIVE Podcast Thursday Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 5pm ~ “Returning to Socialization”

This past year was like no other.

Join us Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 5pm for a live podcast. Executive Director Loretta Depka will talk with The Starting Point practitioner Erik Jervis, MSW, LSW about the importance of socialization (for all ages) as society, slowly, gets back to some type of normalcy. Erik will explain why it’s important to socialize (especially for kids, teens and young adults in college,) the current anxiety that stems from COVID, and how to address it.

Erik works with children, adolescents, and adults who are seeking help with issues such as self-esteem, anxiety, sexuality, recovery from trauma, codependency, relationship issues and feeling stuck in life. He offers his services in individual and family sessions, implementing various therapeutic approaches catered to the client’s needs. He is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for his clients and is interested in working with vulnerable populations.

A replay will be available on The Starting Point’s YouTube channel within a few days after the live podcast. Click on the subscribe button and you will receive a notification any time something has been uploaded.


Topic: Podcast – Returning to Socialization — Erik Jervis
Time: Apr 15, 2021 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 853 7900 3381

Part of The Starting Point, Inc. of New Jersey Education Series.

Thought Of The Month April 2021 ~ “April Showers Bring May Flowers “

By: Vince DiPasquale

             This month of April is a great example of one of the greatest ways in which nature teaches us our need to grieve. Remember, unless we allow ourselves to feel and experience the grieving process, we will never reach the beautiful gift of acceptance. One of the hardest realities is to be able to come to the acceptance of the present. Once we are able to accept, then we can move on to change and grow. Many of us fight the grieving process, yet, in spite of us, it will happen anyway.

The first stage of grieving is denial. Believe it or not, denial can be both positive and negative. On the positive side, it protects us until we are ready to face reality. Sometimes, things are too painful, and we’re just not ready. It can be destructive if we stay in it too long. Sometimes, we just run from reality and try to be something we are not. For example, as we grow older, we believe we can do things we did when we were younger. It’s often referred to as the mid-life crisis or facing the fact that our bodies are changing.

We’ve all heard the phrase “go with the flow.” In life, many of us try to analyze or control the flow. Loss is part of life. Everything comes to an end so that something new can be born. It’s called the circle of life. One way to understand this is to watch the movie The Lion King, which is a great example of the grieving process.

The second stage of grieving is anger. This is one emotion that gets a bad rap. Anger is a healthy feeling because it allows us to feel the pain of change. For example, when someone close to you dies, it’s alright to be angry at them for dying. They left you. Remember, you can love someone and still be angry with them. Anger is negative when you don’t have a healthy way to express it. We can’t grieve alone without support. If you deny or keep your anger in, it will turn to depression. Please, don’t be afraid to feel your feelings, to be in touch with them, and release them in a positive way.

The third stage of grieving is the bargaining stage. This is the stage where we try to figure out and literally try to bargain with reality. We really think, somehow, we have the power to control what is happening. I have often said this is the stage where we get into trouble. Our intellect, or as I call it, the control tower, once again tries to find a solution. The real solution is acceptance, but we’re not ready yet. For instance, the addict thinks he can just control his drinking and drug use. Similarly, instead of dealing with the fact that we are getting older, we try to be twenty again. It doesn’t work, and it creates a lot of pain – physical and emotional. However, because we are human, we still give it the old college try. Surrendering to reality never comes easy.

The fourth stage of grieving is the stage of sadness. It’s a time to feel our loss and a chance to say goodbye. This is the most important stage because we are faced with reality. We have to be able to feel the sadness of letting go. We all need to be able to get closure on so many things in life. Unless we have closure, we will never be able to move on. We can’t live in the past, but we can learn from our history of all the lessons we need for life. Please, don’t be afraid to feel sad. It’s like watching a part of you die so that a new part can be born. It’s almost like giving permission for someone or something to die. Death is a part of life, and we suffer small deaths or endings every day. For example, I will never be twenty again. Letting go of that period of life will help me accept where I am today. Remember, you must say goodbye to say hello.

The fifth stage of grieving is the spiritual gift of acceptance and peace. The secret to life is being able to go through the struggle of change to finally come to that sense of peace. To be able to accept the reality of ourselves and others is the secret of a peaceful life. The gift of acceptance is the climax point of the grieving process of life. Don’t be afraid to allow yourself to feel the process of change. Acceptance and peace will come to you when you are open to change and growth. All of us are part of the circle of life. Accept your part in the process of life and you will grow as a spiritual person. Acceptance and reality are the secrets of life.

Don’t be afraid of the showers; they will bring the flowers!


2021 Podcast “What is our job as a parent?” Is Now On The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel

On Thursday, March 18, The Starting Point’s Executive Director Loretta Depka was joined by practitioner Pat O’Connor, MSW, LSW, CSAT to discuss parenting, in a podcast entitled “What is our Job as a Parent?

Pat, who has a Certification in Active Parenting, has been working with helping families to lead healthier lives by offering programs such as:

  • Active Parenting,
  • Active Parenting for Teens, and
  • Cooperative Parenting and Divorce.

She also helps partners and families heal from the effects of trauma and sexual addiction. Pat believes hope can be regained, lives can be rebuilt, and meaningful change can be created within a caring environment.

More information about Pat can be found on her practitioner profile.

You can find The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel here.

2021 Podcast “Being Isolated before Isolation was the Norm” Is Now On The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel

Starting Point Executive Director Loretta Depka is joined by practitioner Anna Marie Hrivnak, M.Ed.  as she discusses IsolationDuring these challenging times, most of us have experienced some form of isolation.  Anna Marie discussed how times of isolation can also bring with it an inner wisdom of healing and strength we didn’t know we had.  Anna Marie shares her 3 steps to finding comfort during lonely times.

Anna Marie is a practitioner focusing on the integration of body, mind, and spirit.  Working with individuals in private and group sessions, her work fosters a foundation for peace and tranquility to the mind, strength to the physical body, along with hope and courage to the wounded spirit. Sessions focus on the recovery process in a way that promotes a balance of emotional honesty and responsibility providing clients with a framework for a healthier lifestyle.  With a strong belief in the power of internal wisdom, she nurtures and encourages clients to journey through the transformational phases of their lives in a way that supports and builds their integrity of spirit.

More information about Anna Marie can be found on her practitioner profile.

You can find The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel here.

Thought Of The Month March 2021 ~ “The Power of Positive Thinking”

By: Vincent DiPasquale

As we enter the month of March, let’s take the time to dedicate this month to the spirit of positive thinking. We spend too much time looking at what’s wrong. This month is a time of transition from the cold of winter to the beauty of spring. Let us all examine our attitudes towards life. Take time to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have a positive attitude towards life?
  2. How do you feel about yourself? Do you know who you are?
  3. How do you deal with the situations that face you? Do you face them with an open, positive mind?

Let’s examine the first question. Remember, you are your attitude, and all negative attitudes can be changed. What is your attitude towards your body? Do you treat it with respect? Do you make time to listen to your body? If you treat it with respect, it will respect you. What is your attitude toward eating healthy foods? Our bodies will respond positively if we treat them in a healthy way. We have all been given the gift of life. Each day, when you wake up, look in the mirror and thank God for the gift of life for another day. Remember, everything else can be dealt with.

Let’s look at the second question. Who are you? Do you make time each day to get to know yourself? Are you comfortable being you? It’s really fun to just enjoy each day, discovering your potential and gifts. Each day you are alive, you learn a little more about yourself. Are you able to laugh at yourself? If you don’t think you are funny, run to the bathroom when you get up in the morning and stare in the mirror. If you don’t laugh, you are too rigid. Loosen up, relax, and celebrate yourself.

Let’s look at the third question. Do you have an open mind, and are you able to handle change? When situations face you, do you look at them as a way to learn the positive from every negative? Believe me, if you are always griping and complaining, it’s going to affect you mentally and physically. We don’t realize how negative messages have an affect on our bodies. Please don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is too short. Look at life with a positive attitude. Let’s all try to face life and change with positive attitudes.

There are so many situations in life that we can face openly. We should learn to take time to respond to life rather than reacting to situations. We get into a lot of trouble and put our foot in our mouths because we don’t take time to listen and look at things before we respond to them. Please don’t respond to rumors. Get the facts, then make a decision. Remember, take time to ponder, investigate, and get answers before making statements. Life is precious. Be gentle, relax, and enjoy each moment.

The power of positive thinking: what a gift! Use it wisely each day. Let’s all learn that it is the secret to a happy, healthy life. We are different and yet the same. Each of us is part of each other. We are like a mosaic. Each person we meet, comes into our lives for a reason. They are our teachers. Please stop, look, and listen to them. You will grow from each experience.

Remember, the higher power has a plan for each of us. Keep an open mind and you will grow. Remember, too, when the pupil is ready, the teacher will come. They are all around us. They are the people we meet each day.

2021 Podcast “Understanding Eating Disorders” Is Now On The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel

Starting Point Executive Director Loretta Depka is joined by practitioner Anne Cavaliere, MA, LPC as she discusses Eating Disorders.

Eating disorders are serious and often fatal illnesses that are associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. There is a commonly held misconception that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. Researchers are finding that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. Learn about these connections, early signs of disordered eating, how to seek treatment, and what you can do to help a loved one.

Anne works with adolescents and adults with eating disorders (including binge eating disorder, bulimia and anorexia, and related body image and mental health issues) to unlock the mystery of their disordered relationship with food and eating, and help them begin their passage towards balanced and joyful lives.

More info regarding Anne and her work can be found on her practitioner profile at Anne Cavaliere, MA, LPC .

You can find The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel here.


Part of The Starting Point, Inc. of New Jersey Education Series.

2021 Podcast “Making a bet – entertainment or addiction?” Is Now On The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel

Listen to one man’s colorful journey of life through a gambling addiction.

Starting Point Executive Director Loretta Depka was joined by revered (and recently deceased) practitioner CP Mirarchi III, LCADC as he discussed gambling and gaming addictions from his own experience, the connection to other addictions, and what family members can do to help.

You can find The Starting Point’s YouTube Channel here.



Part of The Starting Point, Inc. of New Jersey Education Series.

2021 Podcast “Myths and Misconceptions about Grief” Now Available On The Starting Point YouTube Channel!

On Thursday, January 28, 2021, our Executive Director Loretta Depka joined Starting Point practitioner, Pat Obst, MSW, LCSW, to discuss Myths and Misconceptions about Grief. The recorded podcast is now available on The Starting Point’s new YouTube channel. You can jump directly to the podcast from here

Over the past 20 years Pat has managed a thriving private practice as a therapist and life coach, working with adults and couples. Her area of specialization is in grief and loss therapy, with particular expertise in working with parents who have lost children. Pat has presented lectures and workshops at The Starting Point on topics of grief and loss, and embracing self-empowerment. Currently she is co-founder and co-facilitator of Afterwards, LLC, a program designed for those 1-5 years out from a significant loss who want to re-build their lives.

More information about Pat can be found on her practitioner profile.

Part of The Starting Point, Inc. of New Jersey Education Series.

2021 Podcast “Let’s Talk About Anger Management” Now Available On The Starting Point YouTube Channel!

As part of The Starting Point Ongoing Education Series, our Executive Director Loretta Depka and Starting Point practitioner Gary Dock met recently to discuss “Anger Management what is it and who needs it?

Episode 1 of this new Podcast series is now available on The Starting Point YouTube channel. See below for the link and other details.

Gary is a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor with over 25 years of experience providing various mental health and addiction services. Additionally, he offers training on various topics such as trauma and addiction, stages of change, medication assisted treatment and anger management. His work is guided by the belief that each day brings with it new opportunities of hope and redemption.


Thought Of The Month February 2021 ~ “The Love Month”

By: Vince DiPasquale

The month of February is called the love month. We celebrate Valentine’s Day and experience the last months of winter. Let’s spend some time exploring the word “love.” Like everything else in our society, we have taken the deeply spiritual nature of the word and commercialized it so that it exploits people. Unfortunately, the word “love” has been mixed up with the word “lust.” Our soap operas and our society have forgotten how special this word is. Love is a powerful, positive energy that we were all given at the moment of our birth. We look at newborns as little angels, pure in spirit, just beginning their spiritual journey through life. As they grow older, they are faced with all types of dysfunctional situations which test their energy levels to possible breaking points. Following these episodes, we sometimes lose our connections to our love energy for a period of time. Depression, loneliness, sadness, and trauma are situations we all go through. Occasionally we need a transfusion of love from others. The energy of love needs to be awakened once again by the love of others. In our life’s journey, we meet all kinds of teachers or mentors. Every person we meet on our journey is our teacher, even those who are negative. They come into our lives to teach us how to deal with negativity.

I know from experience that no matter how tough life can be, angels are sent into our life to touch us and slowly activate the energy of love inside of us. Relationships are the ways in which we share the energy of love. We can’t be lovers alone. We need each other. Over the course of our lifetimes, we experience many different relationships, people, jobs, family members, and experiences. Thank God for all of them. Each relationship touched our energy of love in one way or another. At times, our love was tested but it will never fail. See, you can’t destroy love. Love is patient and kind. It does not put on airs. Love sees the good in all. Love is the bond that heals and builds us to become better and stronger people.

We are all on the journey of love. The greatest gift that we can give to another is our gift of love. Don’t be afraid to share it. Love must be shared so that it can grow. It’s a power so great that it can heal all wounds. It’s the energy that is the foundation of life. Real love is an energy that covers all areas of life.

The greatest compliment we can be given is to be called a lover. A real lover is someone who is at peace with themselves. They are living in serenity. A real lover has an open mind, is willing to learn and grow, and is always on the journey to celebrate in faith where the journey of life will take them. A real lover is someone who loves unconditionally. A real lover is someone who reaches out to do service to others. A real lover is someone who treats themselves and others with respect. A real lover is someone whose energy speaks in a positive way to others. A real lover is someone who enjoys life.

As we grow in the spirit of love, we will learn the secret of life. Love is a gift that was given to us by God. We have an obligation to learn how to love ourselves so that we can share the gift with others. As you share and are touched by the love of others, your love will grow. Real lovers celebrate life, enjoy the moment, and look at life in a similar way. As you grow in love, your life will become much simpler and calmer, and your expectations will diminish. When you celebrate Valentine’s Day, remember it is named after St. Valentine who is the Patron of Love. He gave his life for his beliefs in the ultimate sign of love. Remember as you celebrate the month of love, live by this principle: “Love is a gift to be shared.” Treat others as you would want to be treated.

A happy and blessed Valentine’s Day to each of you!