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Wellness at Casa Di Vita

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Wellness at Casa Di Vita
Casa Di Vita in the autumn

Casa Di Vita in the autumn

Lunchtime is much more than just the old routine at Casa Di Vita, Cazenovia Recovery Systems’ residence for women with substance use disorders.

Its daily wellness lunch menu is chock full of fresh vegetables and fruit and often features recipes selected and prepared by residents. There is always a pitcher of freshly made fruit-infused water. Staff members join the residents for healthy meals and shared conversation.

Lisa Johnston is site supervisor for the 19-resident facility on Buffalo’s West Side. “Feeling physically healthy helps you feel better about yourself and will help emotionally,” Lisa said. With help from our partners at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, the agency’s Wellness Committee encourages healthy living through numerous activities and seminars for staff. Residents are invited to participate and become better educated about nutrition and exercise. Casa Di Vita residents joined in the agency-wide “Five and Fit” challenge that promoted eating more fruit and vegetables, along with exercising five times a week.

Brie, a resident of Casa Di Vita

Brie, a resident of Casa Di Vita

Offering choice is fundamental to Lisa Johnston’s approach to assisting her residents in their recovery. In addition to the Healthy You group, residents may choose to participate in others on topics including healthy sober living, life skills, grief and loss, and relationships. The process group is a place where concerns and feelings are openly discussed.

Brie, a resident since September, appreciates the “good amount of independence” in the person-centered program that focuses on her health and recovery. “I was a drug and alcohol counselor who was also suffering from addiction,” Brie said. She completed detox and inpatient programs before arriving at Casa Di Vita.

Brie commented: “Being able to go to outside meetings and getting outside resources and help is great. It’s not only about self-help. It’s about putting good people and hobbies in place. Casa gives us just enough leeway to figure things out for ourselves.”

Casa Di Vita staff and residents

Casa Di Vita staff and residents

She spoke of the components she foresees in shaping her personal well-balanced life – school, internship, work, a 12-step program, sober friends. Meditation and mindfulness therapy are beneficial in helping her get there, as well. For now, she enjoys being at Casa Di Vita, taking frequent turns in the kitchen and being at daily lunch. “I get to cook a lot. I love feeding people. My favorite dish to make is mac and cheese,” she said.

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