Tags Posts tagged with "Recovery"


Marisa Vitali, creator of “Grace,” speaks after the screening of the film. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

By Marisa Vitali

Life happens in the in-between spaces, from here to there. Recovery happens in the in-between spaces, when no one is looking and no one is around. How do we choose to live? How do we choose to be in those quiet moments with self? Have I filled my void, my spirit with happiness?

Or do I look outside myself for a drink, a drug, food, sex, shopping, cigarettes; to make myself not feel; to fill the void, the gaping black hole of low self-esteem and low self-worth?

I’ve learned that in recovery I have a choice. I’m no longer a slave to my next bag of dope and I can choose to see the glass half empty or half full.

Myself, I want it all, but when I logically prioritize, longevity and quality of life are on the top of the list. Every minute I spend obliterated is one less finite minute I have to feel life.

I do my best on a daily basis to choose happiness; to live happy, joyous and free. Recovery allows me to be in a place of rediscovery. To relearn the wisdom I was born with and somehow let slip between the fingers of my mind.

Just to be living is truly a gift and one not to be squandered on those people, places and things that cause us pain. Life is a gift to be celebrated and shared with those we love and who bring us even more joy than we may already be feeling.

Having this opportunity to live in recovery, I so know it didn’t have to be this way.

I always say: My life is nothing what I thought it would be and yet nothing I ever could have imagined it to be.

I don’t know the source of life, but I do know the humility I feel when confronted by nature and the magical way everything is prepared for every situation it could possibly encounter. That delusion in and of itself eliminates anxiety and I’m in deep.

I have come to the realization that living life to the fullest is not about my achievements — it is about my breath.

“I’ve learned that in recovery I have a choice. I’m no longer a slave to my next bag of dope and I can choose to see the glass half empty or half full.”
—Marisa Vitali

This moment, right here and now. Feeling everything there is to feel and experience in this one breath of in and out. This is what is intended. To soak in every drop of this thing called life.

We all intellectually know about breath and present moments so I will spare you the details in favor of encouraging you to do what you truly desire before it’s too late. Or keep collecting excuses that will serve you well in your final moments.

Because all we really have is today. There is no need to mar this experience with drugs and alcohol in order to escape this moment, this breath.

Not to make you nauseous with platitudes, but I do feel an urge to recap the classics. Living at the highest-level means feeling good about your life. There’s give and take without malice or greed, there is healthy socialization with challenging, stimulating people of integrity. There is reverence way before relevance, so if you turned down that road, I suggest you make a U-turn in the first driveway.

That’s what we’re all here for: to live the good, the bad and the ugly. To feel, to grow, to better ourselves and to help one another. We are here to serve, regardless of our elitist aspirations, so share your talents and energy freely. Our influence is exponential and will outlive us for eternity.

If one falls, we all fall, and so it’s a treasure and an opportunity to uplift one another in times of need with love, compassion and authenticity.

We all fall eventually. I fall at the door of a true friend. One of the most vivifying experiences is the exchange of love, and that I’m not afraid to express anymore.

This life, this recovery is a journey; it’s all in the same, with twists and turns, mountains and mole hills.

No matter what I choose not to use. I am evolving into whatever my imagination is capable of, without ego and defects of character that keep me small, dictating how it all should play out.

We are so much more powerful than we could possibly acknowledge. Tap into that source. Your source of creation, whatever that may be for you. The answers you seek are deep within.

There but for the grace of God go I. Live free, as the only thing constant is change.

So change! Do something different. I dare you. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Simple yet true.  The clock is ticking. Seize the day and all that carpe diem s—.

But seriously, take a look around – this is all of your creation. You did this, you made this happen, you made these choices.

Will you run and hide like you’ve always done, or will you stand tall in the eye of the storm and dance in the rain?

We all have choices. I know what I choose. Do you? I dare you to live.

Marisa Vitali is a Northport native actress who created a short film about the journey of recovering from drug addiction.

Little Portion Friary is on Old Post Road in Mount Sinai. Photo by Giselle Barkley

After 35 years, Hope House Ministries is reuniting with its roots.

Earlier this year, in light of financial difficulties and a lack of manpower, the Franciscan Brothers of the Little Portion Friary on Old Post Road in Mount Sinai announced their building was closing. But this past spring, Father Francis Pizzarelli approached the brothers about acquiring part of the property, and now it can still have a future.

According to Pizzarelli, his Port Jefferson-based nonprofit Hope House Ministries began at the Little Portion Friary location, when it rented the friary’s guesthouse. The group has since grown, adding local properties such as the Pax Christi Hospitality Center on Oakland Avenue in Port Jefferson, where it shelters homeless men. Now it will return to where it all started.

Pizzarelli said the brothers were going to sell the 44-acre property to a developer who was going to build condominiums. Instead, Hope House will rent four acres of the lot — with the rent going toward the land’s purchase price — while the remaining 40 acres will go to Suffolk County. Hope House will change the facility’s name to Hope Academy at Little Portion Friary and use the building to further assist and support the people who are battling addiction.

With Long Island facing heroin addiction in particular as a widespread problem, Pizzarelli said he didn’t have enough space to help, so he first purchased an apartment house in Port Jefferson to accommodate those individuals brought in for assistance.

“What the friary is going to provide for me is greater space,” Pizzarelli said.

The young men who currently reside at the apartment house will be moved to the friary, and the additional space will give them more room to reflect and help further their treatment, the priest said.

The building required basic maintenance and renovations, including repainting the bedrooms, replacing carpets and cleaning the facility.

“When the brothers realized they had to leave, they weren’t going to spend money on a building that might have been demolished,” Pizzarelli said.

Hope House began renovating the building in September. Residents like Ann Moran of Sound Beach described the friary as a “little known secret” in the Mount Sinai area. She was pleased about the friary’s new future, saying, “I’m delighted that Hope House is taking it over and the [friary] won’t be closing.”

Pizzarelli said his neighbors were also thrilled that Hope House was preserving the friary’s nearly eight and a half decades of service to the community.

Despite the changes, one local tradition will remain — the bakery is and will still be open for business. For many years, the brothers were known locally for baking bread and have passed the baton to Hope House, which has been selling bread since October.

Pizzarelli said he kept the bakery “not so much to make money, but to basically honor the brothers and their 86 years.”

The labyrinth and chapel will also be available for community members to use.

According to the Little Portion Friary website, the friary helped serve the community through “prayer, study and work.” The brothers of the friary occasionally took in homeless people or others who simply needed a safe place to go.

The Franciscan brothers are currently in San Francisco and were not available for comment, but Pizzarelli said the brothers were also pleased to know the friary would be used for a good cause.

“The Franciscan brothers have always been supportive of this ministry and are grateful that [the] ministry will continue to give life to this holy ground.”