Author Archives: Starting Point
Come and join us to explore how gratitude can literally change you… body, mind, and spirit.
When: Tuesday, November 24th – 7:00 PM
Location: Hosted via Zoom
Cost: Free to all who register
To Register: Please go to https://forms.gle/7Ak3E1Fge4tqhief9 to register and receive the Zoom Meeting Link
Presenter(s): Anna Marie Hrivnak and Cort Hrivnak
Updated Meeting Details
OR Dial by location: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 848 1784 8874
OR Dial by location: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 892 5376 1873
To the entire Starting Point Family, We miss you and hope that you are well and remaining safe.
Please join us for Vince’s weekly lectures live on ZOOM each Wednesday at noon and 7pm (Zoom links and topics listed below.)
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.
WEEKLY LECTURE SERIES SCHEDULE ~ END OF 2020
-4 Willingness to Change & Grow
-11 Service ~ The Gift of Giving & Receiving
-18 Spirit of Gratitude & Acceptance
-25 (NO LECTURE)
-2 Codependency & the Holidays
-9 Spirituality & the Holidays
-16 Relationships & the Holidays
-23 (No LECTURE)
-30 (NO LECTURE)
By: Vince DiPasquale
As we get ready to celebrate the wonderful month of Thanksgiving, we pause to reflect on three very special beautiful words: Gratitude, Acceptance, and Love. I consider these the most spiritual words in our language. Growth can only take place when we can develop the attitude of gratitude. Someone who views life in the spirit of gratitude becomes open to accept one’s self and the lessons of life’s journey which then allows us to view life in the spirit of love and healing. Let’s look at these special words as they apply to our life’s journey.
Gratitude– to be grateful is to live each day as a gift from God. The first prayer I say as I awake is the prayer of gratitude for the gift of life for one more day. Each day is so special as I get older and hopefully wiser. I try to view each day as a chance to do service to others and reflect on how precious and how wonderful life is. I pray I do not take things for granted and to say thank you to God for even the little things in life. I feel that I have been given so much on this life’s journey. I thank God for my family, my upbringing, all the beautiful teachers in my life, especially my wife, my stepdaughters, and my grandchildren. I am grateful to be called “Papa”.
I feel gratitude for my recovery family, for the 12-step program and for all the direction it has given me. I am grateful to each and every person God has sent onto my path, for the struggles I have undergone, and even thankful for the negative experiences. They may one day be my strength. Hopefully I’ll not take for granted the gifts He has given me and I will share them with others. God has given me so many rewards- they are my real riches.
Acceptance– Such a simple but powerful word. To come to acceptance of self is to be at peace. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”. To be powerless is to be powerful. This is the secret of the first and third step. Powerlessness leads to surrender which leads to acceptance. Learning to let go of control is such a gift. It takes a great courage to work on yourself. The core of spirituality is acceptance of self. We are not an accident we are God’s creations. Only when we can accept the reality of who we are can we grow onto what we can become. We are all on a special journey that one day will lead us back to our Source, our Creator. Acceptance of self and life allows us to live and enjoy each moment. “Courage to change the things I can”, tells me that if I focus on my own personal journey, the positive energy I receive will flow naturally to others. We carry this message by example. “The wisdom to know the difference”, and the wisdom is experience. Each experience I’ve gone through in life has brought me strength. Our experiences were necessary for us to grow and learn. Don’t run from life, rather we must accept each day and the situation to bring us closer to our Creator.
Love – Gratitude and acceptance are powered by the divine energy of love. What a special word. I’m convinced that in our world it is the most misused and abused concept. We are told in the scriptures that a little child will lead us at the moment of our creation to God, who will give us the power to love. We are told by God that we were to enter the world as his messengers. Our world with all its chaos and craziness can only be healed and brought together by this special energy. Greed, fear and ego are the opposite of love. Mother Theresa tried to teach us that only when we live by the rule of life will we learn to love ourselves and then be able to share this special energy with others. Remember there is only one Higher Source and the rest of us are equal. We are God’s children bonded and connected to each other. Love is the energy of healing. Let’s stop looking for the answer in politics and all external things. Empires come and go but the healing energy of love and service are forever. Try to live each day with the positive energy of love and hopefully you’ll be able to share your gifts with another.
This Thanksgiving, take the time to pray a prayer of gratitude. Open your heart to the Source of all love. Reach out and touch someone and know that by giving you receive back a hundredfold. Enjoy this special time of gratitude, acceptance and love.
With all my love and prayers, Happy Thanksgiving!
ACOA 1:30 Wednesday Meeting will be a phone meeting starting March 18th until further notice
Dial in number: 646 558 8656
Meeting ID: 293144633
The results are in from this year’s Annual Brian Sullivan Memorial Golf Classic in support of The Starting Point!
First Place Team
Pinelands in Medford
- Wesley Roller
- Ryan Osterloff
- Matt Blomquis
- Jay Fanelli
Second Place Team
My Friend’s House
- Rob Laguarina, Jr.
- Michael Dulude
- Matt Curran
Third Place Team
Ambrosia Treatment Centers
- Joe Curran
- Dickie Noles
- Al Myers
- Eric Young
Most Fun to Watch
- Gary Borger
- Ron Rubin
- Jack Ingram
- Nolan Hampton
Tuesday morning was the perfect day for golf! Granted, we had a little rain, but our golfers didn’t seem to mind at all. Good thing we wrapped up by 1 pm or they would have needed a boat rather than a golf cart!
On behalf of Vince, our Board of Directors and myself, I would like to thank our golfers and their companies for supporting The Starting Point during these extremely challenging times. Even though you may have missed the opportunity to join us for golf, your donations are most welcome and can be made via our website https://startingpoint.org/donations/.
Please support the businesses (listed below) that so generously support The Starting Point.
by Vince DiPasquale
October is the month to renew our relationship with our Creator, the God of our understanding. All of us are on a spiritual journey. We already know our Creator, but on the journey of life our ego (Ease God Out) conflicts with our spirit so we have to continue to rediscover the spirit of our Creator. In the understanding of the Tao we are told our relationship with our Creator is rediscovered such as we meet in each moment of life, each circumstance, each person, and each situation we experience. We find our Creator trying to help us in our humanness to discover our potential and be open to the message that we are being taught. We are learning that God is in our pocket. We can call it faith. Sometimes we have to lose something so that we can once again discover it. In my personal history God has given me so many people who came into my life to be my teachers.
Recently I had the privilege to experience a very special young lady who just made the journey back to her Creator. She struggled and suffered from cancer. Her attitude through the disease was so positive. She chose to face life and live. She prepared for her journey by cherishing and celebrating each minute of her life. She taught me that every moment of life should be lived as our last. In our recovery program we are taught, “One day at a time.” We try to face adversity with a positive attitude, always remembering that God is in our pocket. Our Creator travels with us though life. We are taught to let go and let God and we go along for the journey. All of the people in our life are with us as God’s teachers. In life we all experience a balance of negative and positive. Always remember for every negative there is a positive even though it may take time to discover it. We are taught to “trust the process” which will help us to live our journey on the earth in peace and serenity.
At some point your relationship with God will become like this:
Next time you meet Him in the forest or on a crowded city street
There won’t be anymore “Leaving.”
That is, God will climb into your pocket.
You will simply just take yourself along!
People often ask me if I regret my past and my answer is no. Each experience from my crazy, wonderful Italian upbringing to the journey of my life today is a privilege for me to have been given this journey by my Creator. I would like to share this part of it with you. I have been privileged to have many special people come into my life to be my teachers. My first teachers were my parents and my family. They gave me love and shared the God of their understanding with me. I always joke that my Italian heritage gave me a Ph.D. in fear and guilt. I thank them today however for all the lessons I learned in dealing with life. They taught me the value of sharing, how to let go of control, the gift of faith, and to be able to be open to God of my understanding. They, like me, would win awards for dysfunctionality. As a result, I am more open to look at this word, dysfunctionality, as a normal part of life. Don’t be afraid to face it, embrace it and let it become your teacher. Thank you to my family for all the lessons I have learned.
Thank you to Morgan and Jack who were my mentors when I was introduced to recovery and the 12 Steps. They were my spiritual teachers. Even with twelve years in the seminary and degrees in theology, I learned more from those two beautiful men about spirituality. Thank you, God, for the gift of their wisdom.
God also sent me a very special lady in my life, my wife and best friend who helped me to change my whole direction in life. She helped me to become open to new areas in health service. She had allowed me to experience three wonderful stepdaughters and seven beautiful grandchildren, all of whom are a special part of my spiritual journey today. Thank you, God, for these special teachers.
Finally, my Starting Point family, who over the 42 years, God has given me the privilege and honor of touching and being touched by so many people. I thank God for the gift of being able to be of service to others. Thank you, family, for your love and trust. Thank you, God, for these special people.
All growth takes place in family systems, not in isolation. I would like to thank God for all the families I have had the privilege of being part of over the past 80 years of my life. Remember each one of us are God’s creations. Try to look at each situation in life with the energy of healing and love. October is a time to renew our connection to our Creator in our pockets. Let’s live this month with the spirit of gratitude and openness and be grateful for our history, for the day and to be open to whatever the future will bring us. Enjoy the fall season!
God bless us all!
Below are the pertinent details about how-to access the virtual meetings for the Monday evening CoDA group:
Day: Every week on Mon, until Dec 28, 2020, 17 occurrence(s)
Time: Sep 7, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 879 5532 1154 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87955321154?pwd=Vk1ZNjlkTS8wQ1E2WTc5V0Y0WEJVZz09
By: Vince DiPasquale
In growing up as a small child, my Dad had some powerful lessons he tried to teach me that I’m finally beginning to understand. He used to say, ‘Have patience, little boy.” “Relax, take your time and enjoy the little things of life. Remember that everything happens in God’s time, not ours.” He would say, “enjoy each day, each moment as if it is your last”. He truly was a man of wisdom due to the struggles and experiences he had to endure in his life.
During the month of September, we reflect on the gift of Fall, the season of change and growth. It certainly does not mean we can do whatever we want. Patience is the gift that reminds us that true freedom only comes through struggle, sacrifice and just being open to a constant process of change. We live in a world that thrives on instant gratification. In many ways we have been spoiled by getting too much, too soon. Change and growth is a slow process. We have spent too much time blaming institutions and wanting them to legislate and solve everything. We are the architect of our own life. Change and growth come from each of us. Let us ask ourselves some simple questions. The ultimate question is, Who Are You? Have you taken time to look at yourself? You know that sometimes you have to lose things to truly appreciate them.
Life is short. When you are young you think you’re going to live forever. Today I am grateful for everything I had to struggle and work for. Today, as I write this, I am 80 years old. As I look back on my life’s journey, I’d like to share some key moments.
My childhood: We lived a simple life in a little row house in Camden, NJ. Our only heat was a coal stove in the kitchen. I was so excited in 1947 when we got radiators! We were also the first family to have a television. It only had one channel.
Seminary: In 1954 when I went away to the seminary in Connecticut, I was only fourteen and had to learn how to live on my own. I was scared and still learning how to grow up. In 1957 I was uprooted and transferred to Mother of the Savior Seminary in Blackwood. It was time to start over again. Even though I didn’t know why I was being transferred, at least I was close to my family. My life was a constant process of change and adjustment. In 1962, I was transferred to Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., where I would finish college and do four years of training in theology. My father’s word of ‘patience’ was getting stronger. I realized that my life was not going to go through the normal process of growth. Everyday had so many expectations that I had to live up to. I had no idea ‘who I was’.
Ordination and Ministry: In 1966 I was ordained a priest and everybody, especially my family, was proud. I now had an identity. I was a priest with more expectations. Later I was sent to my first parish in Vineland, NJ. I went from the frying pan into the fire. The priest I was to live with was very sick. All of a sudden, I was running the parish alone. What a scary adjustment! Over night I was an administrator running the show. Thank God for my experience in the seminary of being the stage manager for some great plays. The next three years, I found myself playing so many roles – priest, administrator, youth program director, teacher. There was no time to sleep. The positive part of this is that my eyes were opened to where God would lead me. My ID was work and that I was always available. In 1969 I was sent to a poor inner-city parish in Atlantic City. My ‘Savior’ identity crisis went into high gear. I was becoming the rebel, going against society, running around & becoming a thorn in the side of all. From working in the prison system, the civil rights movement, to running the parish, I was a one man show.
The Starting Point is born: In 1977, I was tired and took a leave of absence. I went to Philadelphia and on October 17th opened a half-way house and soup kitchen for alcoholics. This was the birth of The Starting Point. It was also the beginning of a new journey, which would lead me to make some major decisions. In time, I would get married and start my life as ‘Vince’. It only took me forty-four years of not knowing who I was.
With Dad’s spirit, an open mind, and a lot of help from my wife’s family and the recovery community, I’m now on the journey of just being me. Now I understand that patience is a virtue. As Dad would say, everything in life will find its way. If you embrace patience and stay open to God’s will; all things will come. Thank you, Daddy, for your guidance and direction. I pray that I will continue on my journey.
May God bless and guide us in the spirit of gratitude, humility and love. Thank you, God, for each day.
ABA – Anorexia and Bulimia Anonymous
Now Every Wednesday at 5:30 pm (via Zoom.)
Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous (ABA) is a fellowship of individuals whose primary purpose is to find and maintain recovery in our eating practices, and to help others gain recovery. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop unhealthy eating practices.
Vince DiPasquale (856-854-3155 x102) and Anne Cavaliere (856-266-3487)
Below are the pertinent details about how-to access the “virtual meetings:”
- Time: 5:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
- Day: Every week on Wednesday
Join Zoom Meeting
- Use the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89499038381?pwd=RU5QNlQ0U093YUVpRFFOcHlqM3BxQT09
- Meeting ID: 894 9903 8381
- Password: 988218
- Optionally, Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZ0pfuCorTMpEtW2TKY7xNFh-_WfFgZnWhV5/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGhqjIjGtedsxGGRpx5Bor4XfTztlxej7dqzivOOndLTCX-e911NJR4Ktbn
By: Vince DiPasquale
August is a time to kick back and reflect. We have all been through so much these past months.
A friend of mine put together some quotes of mine from the lectures I do. I would like to share them with you as food for thought.
- Look at people the way they are and not the way you want them to be.
- Attitudes are learned so all attitudes can be changed.
- Self-esteem is another form of spirituality.
- We came into this world for a purpose.
- Acceptance is facing the reality of what is.
- Never deny anyone their pain and struggle. No pain, no gain.
- If you keep it inside it becomes a mountain. Share it; let it out and it gets smaller.
- Share with someone who won’t give advice, but just be there for you.
- For every defect there is an asset. From the defects you discern your assets.
- What you can do, you do. What you can’t do, don’t do.
- Make peace with yourself.
- The grieving process begins anytime you end something.
- When you meet someone who is obnoxious remember they have come into your life to teach you what obnoxious is.
- Sometimes you must wallow in the mud until you begin to realize, it’s “mud”.
- We don’t want closure. We want to hang onto something that so we can place blame.
- Self-esteem comes from the inside out.
- Good healthy growth is 10 steps forward and 8 steps back. That’s progress!
- You have no control over anyone else.
- Nothing happens by accident.
- The sun comes up even on a cloudy day.
I hope these quotes help you see how simple life really is. Enjoy these beautiful days. Make sure you always celebrate life in the spirit of gratitude for each day!
The month of July teaches us the lessons of freedom. To be truly free we need to spend time learning to live in the spirit of awe and acceptance. In these two simple words we learn the special secret life. We have been given the gift of life from our Creator. When we stop and look at God’s creation we have to be in awe. Each day let’s learn not to take life for granted. Each of us has a purpose in this world. Each of God’s creatures are both teachers and pupils to us, if we can learn to face life’s journey with the gift of acceptance.
We are told not to limit the view of ourselves, remembering how special we are. Each one of us is a combination of talents, feelings and thoughts. Our spirit and energy give us the spark to look at life in a special way. Let’s use the words of the Tao to examine our spiritual journey though this world.
How you view yourself doesn’t limit what you can accomplish. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to learn to embrace our history. Instead of trying to change our history, let’s learn to embrace it, accept it, and let it become our teacher. Our story, our history is the greatest book in the process of being written. Each day we write a new chapter. We are told in the Tao not to despise our history because it is the natural course of life. If we are to accept life on its terms it will pay us back a hundredfold. We are taught by the process that we will experience the real meaning of freedom. To be fully alive is to look at the world through the eyes of nature. The world we live in is a great adventure. It’s God’s gift to us and must be treated with respect. If we respect ourselves, if we honor our journey, we will be able to help others honor themselves.
The Tao teaches us that if we take time to do our work the energy of our journey will reach out to others. The 12th step of our program teaches us that if we have the courage to work on ourselves, to experience a spiritual awakening, then we will be able to carry this message of life to others by example. Remember, if we live in the spirit of life, try to look at all things through positive eyes and continue to be open to growth, we will be able to look at all things in the spirit of gratitude.
If we can face life with its struggles and joys and never lose the spirit of awe, life becomes an adventure. Let’s try to accept it on life’s terms. Try to look at all experiences with a positive attitude and life will show us the way. We are on God’s journey and our goal is to learn the lessons of life and one day hear our Creator say “Job well done. Welcome home.”
Being free is to be responsible for our life’s journey. This is the month of freedom. As you celebrate Independence Day take time to reflect on all the gifts we have. Don’t take life for granted. Get out there and live it.
God Bless you on your journey.
Meeting has gone virtual. If interested in participating in the virtual meeting, please contact Kim at 856-341-4252.
(Emotions Anonymous (EA) is a twelve-step program for recovery from mental and emotional illness.)
CODA 7PM Thursday Meeting Is Now A Phone Meeting Via Zoom
Below are the pertinent details about how-to access the virtual meetings for the Thursday evening all-women CoDA group:
- Time: 7:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
- Day: Every week on Thu, until Apr 30, 2020, 7 occurrence(s)
- Dates: Mar 19, 2020 07:00 PM, Mar 26, 2020 07:00 PM, Apr 2, 2020 07:00 PM, Apr 9, 2020 07:00 PM, Apr 16, 2020 07:00 PM, Apr 23, 2020 07:00 PM and Apr 30, 2020 07:00 PM
Join Zoom Meeting
- Use the following link: https://zoom.us/j/181577084
- Meeting ID: 181 577 084
- Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system: https://zoom.us/meeting/vJwscu6vrjMuDImapvV_UYbXGdkTmbjXdA/ics?icsToken=98tyKuigrz4tHdSdtF_9RbUqA9r7bPHMl1Vnp6JNiinaNhlRWiTyPdZPMLhHFPmB
UPDATE: Codependents Anonymous – CODA (Coed), Monday’s 7:30 PM : Virtual Zoom Meeting (See Below For Details)
Topic: CoDA* Zoom Meeting
(*Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) is a twelve-step program for people who share a common desire to develop functional and healthy relationships.)
Day: Every week on Mon, until Dec 28, 2020, 17 occurrence(s)
Time: Sep 7, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 879 5532 1154 , https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87955321154?pwd=Vk1ZNjlkTS8wQ1E2WTc5V0Y0WEJVZz09