Author Archives: Starting Point

UPDATE: “Virtual” \ Online Counseling Sessions With Your Practitioner Are Now Available

As the ongoing Coronavirus crisis continues to unfold, most (if not all) of our practitioners have now embraced “virtual,” web or phone-based practice models.

Please feel free to reach out to your practitioner(s) using the contact info on their practitioner profile found at or call the Front Desk at 856-854-3155, Ext 0. Our receptionists are currently manning The Starting Point phone system from home.  Messages left will be forwarded to the appropriate practitioner on a daily basis. Vince, and the rest of the staff, are in constant contact with one another.

Rest assured, our primary goal is to be here for our clients and the entire Starting Point family.

Also, if you find yourself in an immediate crisis, another important resource is the Camden County Crisis Hotline at 856-428-4357.

Please take care, stay safe, and stay connected,

Loretta Depka
Executive Director
856-854-3155 Extension 179

The Starting Point, Inc. of New Jersey
12 Steps to a Brighter Future
215 Highland Avenue, Suite C
Haddon Township, NJ 08108

NOTE: AA Words of Wisdom 7:00 Friday Meeting Is Now A Phone Meeting Via Zoom (See Below For Details)

The Friday Night 7:00 AA Words of Wisdom meeting will be a Zoom virtual meeting until further notice.

Virtual Meeting Details:


Pass Code:



NOTE Meeting Change: ACOA 1:30 Wednesday Meeting Is Now A Phone Meeting Via Zoom (See Below For Details)

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

Video Via internet link:



NOTE Meeting Change: CODA 7PM Thursday Meeting Is Now A Phone Meeting Via Zoom (See Below For Details)

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

  1. Use the following link:
  2. Meeting ID: 181 577 084
  3. Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system:



NOTE Meeting Update: AL-ANON 6:30 Friday Meeting Now Offers Phone Meeting Option Via Zoom (See Below For Details)

New (Optional) Zoom Meeting Option

Details: Video Via internet link:


Show Me (My Creator) – from Vince D.

I’d like to share some thoughts from my meditation book, Meditations with Native American Elders: the Four Seasons.

The manner in which we walk through life is each person’s responsibility, and we should remember this with each new sunrise. We should carry a vision of God’s will in every area of life. One day at a time, each morning we need to spend time praying to the Creator.

We share in prayer, my Creator, this morning I ask You to show me, in terms I can understand, what you would have me do. Each of us is responsible for  taking the time to do this.It will bring joy and peace of mind to all of us. My Creator, give me the vision each day of what you want me to do. Faith and prayer will help us through this journey.

Sending prayers and love to all.  May God bless and guide us on our journey today and every day.

Vince D.

Have No Fear – From Vince D.

Friends and family,

I’d like to share a prayer by St Francis de Sales. “Have No Fear”.

“Have no fear for what tomorrow may bring. The same loving God who cares for you today, will take care of you tomorrow and every day. God will either shield you from suffering, or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.”

Let’s try to give each day to God in prayer and with an attitude of gratitude and humility.

Sending prayers and love to all. May God bless and guide us on our journey today and every day.

Love, Vince D.

Message for today (from Vince D.)

Let’s take time each day to pray for God’s grace and guidance.

Dear God, thank You for the gift of life. We are facing a powerful new reality. Help us as we adjust to a new lifestyle. Give us the gift of patience and love. Help us to be open to the spirit of change. Teach us – with a spirit of gratitude and humility – to be open to the lessons that this crisis will teach us.

Only a spirit of faith and grace are the gifts that will guide us through this trial. Help us to try to live in a spirit of acceptance and sharing our prayers and love to others. Give us strength and hope as we do our best to live each day in prayer, knowing that you are our guide. We ask this in Your Name. Amen.

Sending prayers and love to all.

May God bless and guide us on our journey today and every day.

Vince D

Reflection on Prayer: On Gratitude and Humility …

Would like to share a prayer from my retreat prayer book.

Reflection on Prayer ~ I asked God for strength that I might achieve; I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health that I might do great things; I was given illness that I might do better things. I asked for riches so that I might be happy; I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have people’s praise; I was given weaknesses that I might feel the need for God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayer was answered. I am, among all people, the most richly blessed.

Let’s live this day and every day in a spirit of gratitude and humility.

Sending prayers and love to all

Vince D.

Thoughts For Today (from Vince D.)

Some thoughts from my meditation book, “For Today.”

Thanking God every day is as necessary for me as breathing. Though my concept of God may change, whatever my concept is, I choose to give everything to God; my worries, fears, my family, friends, the state of the nation and the world.

Each day in prayer I do what I can and let God do the rest. We are truly living one day at a time in the spirit of gratitude and humility as we experience our powerlessness. For today, live in the spirit of the 1st step. We need each other.

Sending prayers and love to all. May God bless and guide us on our journey today.


“Love And Respect” (From Meditations with Native American Elders: The Four Seasons.)

I would like to share some thoughts from my meditation book, “Meditations with Native American Elders: The Four Seasons.”

“The base of all things is Love, Respect” by Vickie Downey: “The greatest weapon of any Spiritual Warrior is Love. Love will change minds, forgive, will let go, cause good luck, will heal, will cry, get rid of resentments, and overcome fear. Love loves Love. Any human being who is loving will be guaranteed respect. Respect loves Love. We need to Respect and Love ourselves and others. The Golden Rule: Love your neighbor as you Love yourself. Great Spirit today lead us on the path to Love.”

Sending prayers and love to all. May God bless and guide us on our journey today and every day.


Thoughts on “Grief And Sudden Loss” (from Practitioner Pat Obst, LCSW)

We are all spiraling in raw grief right now. We have all just experienced a sudden death – the end of life as we knew it.

We’re feeling shock, confusion, worry/fear, sadness, anger, hopelessness and even guilt. All of these emotions are very normal in grief. But first – “do no harm.” In other words, don’t shame yourself for feeling any of these emotions. We’re hurting and we need to practice the utmost self-compassion at this time. Kristin Neff is a wonderful resource on this subject. You can find guidance in how to be self compassionate on her website at –

Also, within our collective grief we’re each experiencing our own unique losses – loss of experiences like – knowing you may not get to see your first child get their high school diploma at a graduation ceremony, or welcoming a new born baby into your family and not being able to share in the celebration with family members, or saying good-bye to a loved one who passes and not being able to be by their side or find comfort with family at a funeral gathering.

Other losses are more urgent and scary – loss of income due to a layoff, loss of access to healthcare for other medical needs, loss of order and routine in life now that homes are filled to the brim with kids and parents all having to work and be educated from home.

The list of losses could continue on. It’s so important for us to acknowledge all that we feel around our grief. It’s essential to learn to be with our grief, to embrace our experiences and accept our feelings. Only when we sit with our grief can we listen to what it’s telling us and then reach out for what we need.

We must all make sure that we have a support system that is adequate for us and that will sustain us in our grief journey. A big part of a support system is having people, groups, professionals, etc. in place to build up and sustain our emotional and mental health.

We’re all in this together this time. As a grief counselor at Starting Point, I know that my colleagues and I feel that we are all part of the Starting Point family. Although we’re distanced from one another, we want to be a part of your support system. Therefore, our practitioners will be providing content on Starting Point’s Facebook page. Our messages will serve to provide compassion, encouragement, guidance and hope to sustain you through this time of
grieving and transitioning to a new normal. —Pat Obst, LCSW

Check our page often to tap into this vital part of your support system. We are here for you.

Thought Of The Month March 2020

“March Madness”

By: Vincent DiPasquale

This title has been given to the month of March because of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Yet as I reflect on the title of madness what I think of is the spirit and energy of change. To many of us it can be madness. We don’t realize how we have been programmed in so many ways. As we go on this wonderful journey called life to truly experience who we are, which is the ultimate goal of life, we need to always face life with an open mind and in the spirit of growth. There really are no absolutes. Everything is in progress – even our connection to our Higher Power is always in the process of development. Let’s look at the journey of life from five different areas. As human beings we have the following five parts ~ physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social.

Physical – We have a body, a sacred gift given to us by God. We need to build a relationship with our body. It is always in the process of change as each day we get older. If we treat our body with honor and respect it will treat us the same. Physical madness is when we beat up our body in many ways and sometimes, we have to hurt really badly until we are ready to surrender and begin the journey to the healthy side. Isn’t is interesting that we think that we are invincible. Struggle and pain are ways we grow. In time we learn to listen to our body and we stop the madness and accept the reality that we can nurture and respect this sacred gift that God has given us. Be gentle and love in a special way God’s gift to us, our physical body.

Intellect – We are people with gifts and talents. Each one of us is unique. We have a responsibility to develop our skills and talents. If you improve your mind you can do things beyond your imagination. The madness is that we over-analyze and are critical of ourselves. We are all God’s children and we have so many gifts to share. However, unless we use them, we will become stagnant and stuck, preventing growth. Don’t hide your gifts and don’t run from learning. We are never done because there is so much to be discovered on our journey. Keep feeding your mind and you will discover your potential. Always remember the power of positive thinking.

Emotions – One of God’s greatest gifts is to be in touch with our feelings; which makes us fully alive. To be able to share our feelings is such a gift. Feelings takes us on a roller coaster of life. All of our feelings our special. Remember feelings are neither right or wrong. Whatever you feel just go with it. They teach us the pulse of life. If you don’t believe me go to the heart section of a hospital. Hook yourself up to a monitor and if the lines go up and down you are alive. Feelings and emotions are the heartbeat of life. The madness is when we try to stuff or deny our feelings. All feelings need to be processed and shared. We all need to have outlets for our feelings. They need to be released to people who are healthy and will listen to us. When you are able to share your feelings, you will feel clean inside. Remember for every negative feeling there is a positive one. Stay balanced and alive.

Spiritual – Our spirit makes us the unique individuals that we are. We are all spiritual creatures connected to the spiritual circle of life. Once again, we ask the question, “Who am I?” We are all in the process of writing our life’s story. Each one of us is a unique book in progress. We need to celebrate life. Our spirit will only grow when we share it with others. The madness is when we look at ourselves negatively and put ourselves down. We damage our spirit through addiction and fear. We are all powerhouses of love. Take the time to be a person of faith and believe in yourself. There is a free spirit in all of us. Take responsibility for your life, live it fully and know that you are part of God’s creation. Your positive energy will reach out and touch others. Build your spirit, be open to grow, take responsibility for life and remember you are never done. Play, celebrate and always remember we are connected to our Creator to pray, meditate, play and love. These are the gifts of the spirit which will never die. As you touch others it will live in them. Be a person of spirit and love to be fully alive.

Social – Finally we are social creatures of which none of us is an island. We have need to interact and be connected to others. We all need playmates and people with whom we can share our gifts and talents. The madness occurs when we isolate and run from life. Unless we share our gifts and talents with others we will shut down and become depressed. We all have a need to be part of a family. We are all lovers and need to share that love if it is to grow. Get out there and enjoy the ride but don’t do it alone. We need each other.

Healthy March Madness is to let loose and celebrate ourselves and others. We are God’s children. Let’s love each other and be open to learn from each day. May we all be blessed on the journey of life.

Enjoy the ride!



Be Part of the 4-H Recovery Club!

Honesty – personal and with others. Being Honest will help bring sanity into your life.
If you are honest, you won’t have to remember what you said.

Humility be humble. This is a gift that only you can give to yourself.
When you have humility, you become open and teachable, which is the only way to achieve personal growth.

Humanness – we all have faults and failures. We all experience the ups and downs of life. It’s ok to make mistakes. That’s what makes us human. Learn forgiveness, not just for others, but also for yourself.

Humor – Humor is the ability to have fun and laugh. So laugh at yourself and go have some fun!
He who can laugh at himself will never cease to be amused

There are no dues for this club – only rewards!

(Reprinted from The Starting Point Newsletter Spring 2002, Vince DiPasquale’s Lecture Series: Steps 1-3)


Offsite Event : Eleven Step Book Store Retirement Sale

Help us support the owner in their new adventure. They have been an invaluable resource to the recovering community at large in the South Jersey\Philadelphia area!

Thank you, 11th Step!