Sun Shine: Café Reyes serves up an evolution in recovery

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It was precisely a year ago, in Lawrence, when the moment arrived. Reyman Ortiz was getting high, the only constant in a tumultuous 25-year war with substance abuse and impulsivity.

“I was sitting on a bench doing a blast” of heroin, he recalled early last week. “Then I looked up to the sky and said, ‘God, if this is going to be my life, take me.’ ”

Two years earlier in Framingham, Louis Torres’ pivot point was more secular but no less of an epiphany. “It was when, for the first time, I took cash from my mother” to buy heroin, part of a two-decades-long drug dependency he used as a temporary salve for internal anger. “I never had been at that low a point but when I did it, I said, ‘I have a problem. I have to look for help.’ ”

Ortiz and Torres have stayed clean and sober since their respective reckonings. They’ve also emerged as twin pillars of a building success story at Worcester’s Café Reyes, the spirited Cuban-style restaurant at 421 Shrewsbury St. staffed by Latino men in recovery.

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