Maureen Cappuccino, House Administrator
Written by Barbara Gillmeister
I truly believe there are no coincidences. Early on in the establishment of Gilly’s, before we even owned the property, I attended a Learn2Cope meeting. It was a wonderful group of warm, caring people who were facing tremendous challenges with their loved ones. A few weeks later, after receiving many many offers of furniture for the house, I said to my husband, David, that it was very overwhelming to handle all these offers with all the other things I needed to work on. Really, a few days later I had a phone call from a woman who said, ‘you may not remember me, but I sat next to you at the Learn2Cope meeting. My name is Maureen Cappuccino, if you need help with furniture and donations for the house, I would love to help you.’ My wishes were answered!!
Maureen instantly jumped into the whole project and I asked her to be the House Administrator. Maureen is the person who takes care of everything behind the scenes. She fund raises for gift cards, monetary donations, food donations, clothing, furniture, you name it, she finds it and gets it donated. Maureen made sure that all the guys in the house got gifts at Christmas time, writing down everyone’s sizes for robes, slippers and pajamas. She has learned new software platforms and applications to publish our beautiful and informative newsletter and how to develop data bases. She loves to make ‘honey-do’ lists for my husband, David. Maureen never ceases to forfeit an opportunity to be able to talk to a stranger about recovery and about Gilly’s House. I always say no one walks away from Maureen without giving her a donation or without more knowledge about and compassion towards addiction. I could keep going...
Here is a heartfelt letter that I, Maureen Cappuccino, presented to David and Nic Sheff at the Unlikely Story Bookstore conversation and book signing on 1/19/19 regarding my journey on what led me to become part of the solution:
Dear David and Nic, As the saying goes, most journeys start with a single step. Mine started after I read your books. Until then I was chasing my son in a misguided effort trying to control the situation as I thought was best, and in retrospect was doing everything wrong. I was isolating myself and devoting my time trying to find and fix him. Your books were the first I picked up to read about addiction. Beautiful Boy made me realize that I was not alone and Tweak educated me on the harsh realities of addiction.
With this new understanding, I joined a local parent support group called Learn to Cope (www.learn2cope.org) founded by Joanne Peterson, which saved my life! I then became active in #2069 addiction community (follow on Facebook) raising awareness , attending fundraisers and meeting other people actively engaged in fighting this battle. This process led me to meet Barbara and David Gillmeister, who lost their son Steven, in their home of an overdose in October 2016. In his memory they have established a 20 bed nonprofit sober home for men called Gilly’s House (www.gillyshouse.com), where I now work as the house administrator.
This journey of increasing awareness and commitment began and was sustained by what I first learned in reading your two books. Your willingness to open up about your circumstances has altered the course of my life and I will always be grateful. I look forward to reading your latest book, HIGH. This book’s perspective seems like no others I have read before. I will be promoting all of your books in the February edition of House Happenings which is the monthly newsletter for Gilly’s House. We are in the process of updating our Gilly’s House brochure but I am including the current one. Please take a moment to look at the two websites in this letter for updated information.
Thank you again for giving so much of yourselves to help so many people that are suffering because of this epidemic. I believe that thousands of people, most of whom you will never meet, have a level of gratitude towards both of you, nearly impossible to define; I am one of those people.
Gilly’s House, Inc.