In the beginning
Whether we are religious or not, most societies have some form
of late Spring ritual that centers around the concept of change
or a journey, a moving from one place to another. This symbolic
event usually involves a shift from a place of darkness and
gloom into sunshine, air and growth. The word "Easter"
for example takes its name from Ishtar, the Babylonian and Assyrian
goddess of love and fertility. Later when these ancient Pagan
beliefs reached Northern Europe, Ishtar became Ostara, the Anglo-Saxon
goddess of Spring, fertility, and the rising sun. In fact, the
old English Word for Easter, "Eastre" refers to Ostara.
It's interesting that the Teutonic Springtime celebrations,
which emphasized the triumph of life over death, were used by
early Christian missionaries to celebrate the death and resurrection
of Jesus. Christian Easter then gradually absorbed these earlier
My Ancestors were
I was born in Duleek,
pronounced Do-leek, County Meath, Ireland, about four miles
south of the majestic Boyne Valley where the foundations of
Christianity in Ireland were laid. It was on the Hill Of Slane
where St Patrick lit his famous Paschal Fire 432 AD which incensed
The High Kings of Ireland on the nearby Hill Of Tara. The Kings
summoned the young Patrick, the Christian son of a Roman Centurion,
to Tara for an explanation. It is there, legend has it, that
Patrick converted the Irish Kings and Chieftains to Christianity
by using the three-leaf shamrock to explain "The Holy Trinity"
of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. Right in the center of
all this lies the ancient passage-graves of Newgrange, Knowth,
and Dowth, overlooking the historic Boyne River, located about
four miles Northwest of Duleek between Slane and Drogheda. Newgrange
was constructed around 3200 BC, according to the most reliable
Carbon 14 dates available from archeology making it more than
600 years older than the Giza Pyramids and 1,000 years older
than Stonehenge. In 1993, Newgrange and its sister sites Knowth
and Dowth were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because
of their outstanding cultural legacy.
If you decide to include Ireland in your vacation plans, this
site is definitely a must for anyone interested in early Pagan
beliefs and rituals, and the origins of Christianity in Ireland.
Ironically, I never once visited Newgrange in all my years growing
up in Duleek. A few abortive attempts were made in a semi-inebriated
stupor but I could never get past Dolly Mitchell's pub on the
Slane / Drogheda road within a stones throw from this historic
site. I did finally make it to Newgrange in 1993 when I last
Tea or Coffee?
It must now be apparent,
to even the most optimistic among us, that the free-spending,
freewheeling days of unlimited economic expansion and growth
that characterized the mid-to late 1990's are definitely over.
I no longer even look at the price of oil/gas. I don't have
to. All I need to do is buy a two-pound bag of high quality
coffee, and for some reason oil prices impact coffee prices?
Yet again, The Marina Dock continues to defy fundamental laws
of economic supply and demand. We are now offering not 1 but
2 brands of high quality coffee, Peets and Equator, at prices
that are reasonable and competitive. If you are, like me, an
avid connoisseur of tea, you have to be impressed by our tea
selection. We go to great lengths to have an array of choices
for the discerning tea drinker. If there is a particular tea
you like, please let us know and we will try to make it available
to you. I would like to point out that last year we introduced
all paper, fully recyclable cups and other products, with little
added cost to our patrons. We were hoping this move towards
environmental correctness would inspire those who are not yet
members or donors to "seize the moment" and help us
out financially. In order to sustain this high quality of service
we need new members.
This month, you may have noticed, we installed a new AA literature
rack on the wall in the East Room. The Marina Dock provided
this rack to the groups and the literature/pamphlets are free
for the taking, made possible by the group's contributions.
We also have a new rack in the social room where members can
pick up Marina Dock schedules, as well as information on City
& County food, shelter, and mental health information, for
those in need.
Speaking of Health
We are now facing the prospect of being reported to the SF Health
Department by our neighbors to the right and the School next
door to the left; because of second hand smoke issues. It is
no longer acceptable for our members and patrons to smoke outside
on the sidewalk to the immediate right or left of our facility
- period - especially by the school fence. For years, we have
had an ongoing battle with the smokers among us, trying to get
them to cooperate and comply with this simple request. Now,
the gloves are off, we are in serious danger of losing this
space because of this major health issue. We are asking everyone's
support on this. If you see anyone smoking outside, please ask
them to move down to the corner of Fillmore and Greenwich to
smoke. The reality being, smoking is no longer socially acceptable.
It's not that we don't understand or empathize with smokers
-most of us smoked at one time or another. However, times and
attitudes are definitely changing towards smoking, and our neighbors
are complaining. We do have a Nicotine Anonymous meeting on
Saturday morning at 10:00 AM and we have space for more if anyone
wants to get involved in starting additional meetings.
We lost two of our Marina Dock family over the last couple of
Stephan P, 1948-2005
Stephan was a member in good standing for many years. Stephan
was a gentleman and a scholar, who loved English literature,
poetry, photography, music and travel. Having successfully overcome
his own internal struggles, he became interested in the lives
of those less fortunate around him. He was drawn by his passion
for photography to create character studies of the often tragic
lives of the people on the streets of San Francisco. Stephan's
passing will leave a void in the lives of those that loved him.
Jill J, 1967-2005
Jill was born and raised in Yuba City, California. After graduating
from high school, she went on to receive a degree in communications
from UC Santa Barbara. Jill moved to San Francisco and became
a highly professional businesswoman in both public relations
and later real estate sales. Jill was active in the recovery
community - attended a lot of meetings, sponsored other women
and had service commitments. She tried to give to others the
gifts she had received from sobriety.
In 2000 at age 30, Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer. After
reconstruction surgery and chemotherapy the disease went into
remission. In 2002 the cancer returned but Jill kept working,
attending meetings, and carrying the message. When she became
too sick to attend meetings her friends brought meetings to
her house. At the end Jill was surrounded by a multitude of
close friends from within the fellowship and UC Santa Barbara.
Jill passed away on March 11, 2005. She succumbed to the ravages
of breast cancer that she had battled for six years. We will
miss her. May the spirit with which she lived be an inspiration
to each of you every day.
Please join us in celebrating the life of Jill. There will be
an open Memorial Service, Saturday, April 9, 2005 from 11:30
AM to 1:00 PM at Fort Mason, Building C, Room 260.
By Kathleen M and
friends & family of Jill's
The Sunday 5:15 PM and the 6:30 PM AA meetings need a new secretary.
There are some other weekday meetings that also need a secretary.
The Codependents Anonymous groups on Saturday 4:45 PM, Tuesday
6:20 PM, and Friday 6:30 PM all need people who are willing
to serve and support -otherwise they are in danger of folding.
We have a new Sugar Anonymous group on Thursdays. Check the
schedule for the time. We could probably use some more Nicotine
Anonymous meetings, now that smoking especially outside The
Marina Dock, is becoming increasingly more difficult to indulge
in. That's kind of how it is for all addictions: we surrender
when the pain of maintaining the addiction exceeds the pain
of letting go and letting God (surrender).
The Secretary's Workshop is close to becoming mandatory for
people who are new to service in AA at the Marina Dock. For
years we have had complaints about individuals not knowing what
they were doing when it came to conducting an AA meeting. Now
there is a marked improvement in the quality of service due
to this very important workshop. The workshop not only covers
AA Principles and Traditions, but also answers questions pertaining
to the Seventh Tradition and the difference between the Seventh
Tradition and contributions to Hospitals and Institutions (The
H&I can) in an AA meeting. The Workshop is held the 3rd
Saturday of every month at 1:30 PM in the West Room. If you
are new to service or someone who wants to know more about being
of service this Workshop answers all your questions.
We need you
We are always in need of funds. If you are still considering
a donation, I believe there is still time for a 501(c) (3) tax
deduction for 2004. We welcome donations of any amount. Recently
a woman sent me this testament as to why she wants to make a
monthly $10.00 contribution to the Marina Dock:
1. I got sober at the Marina (Dry) Dock and probably wouldn't
have stayed sober in the early days without the Marina Dock.
2. The Marina Dock's
is in a safe, inviting and relaxing neighborhood which is important
to me as a woman.
3. I found a lot of people like myself just out of rehab or
newly sober at the meetings.
4. From my location in Lower Pacific Heights, I only need one
bus ride (22 Fillmore) to get there.
5. The many daytime meetings (Noon to 5:15 PM) work perfectly
into my schedule. Saturday's 3:30 PM meeting is also one of
6. I also like the fact that I have the option of attending
NA meetings at the Marina Dock in the evening because I have
problems other than alcohol.
7. On the days that I don't have to see my probation officer,
I can hang out at the Marina Dock all afternoon and attend a
variety of meetings.
8. I'm originally from Baltimore and a few days ago I ran into
a couple from my old neighborhood in a meeting.
9. It was through a chance encounter at the Marina Dock that
I got my first sober job in San Francisco.
10. Although I don't make a lot of money, I have pledged $10.00
a month to the Marina Dock as a gesture of gratitude. Thank
you for being there for me.
Elizabeth G., Lower
Anthony T. Murray