Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter August 2004

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons,

The Marina Dock continues to be the favored location for recovery related twelve step meetings and workshops in San Francisco. Come to think of it, the Marina Dock is the only recovery related twelve step meeting place and workshop facility in San Francisco. Furthermore, the Marina Dock, on certain nights, is the only place in San Francisco - period - where you can attend a meeting and imbibe on a killer cup of Peets Coffee, all at a quarter to three. I consider myself an expert of sorts when it comes to the late night recovery milieu in the City. I can say, categorically, that we have no competition between 10:00 pm and 1:30am on Friday and Saturday nights. During the week, in case you have not noticed, this town looks like there is a curfew in place after 10:00 pm. So much for San Francisco's reputation as "The City That Knows How." By the way, if you are ever, in the small hours of the morning, feeling shaky and in need of some contact of the humankind, then give us a call you will most likely find someone at the other end of the phone, hanging out, guzzling coffee and shooting the breeze. If you are in the neighborhood come on by and feel the love. Remember this is a 24 hours a day program, everyday.

The Place is Jumping

I have lost count of the number of new faces I have seen over the last four months. Every treatment center and rehabilitation program in the Bay Area has our address and points their clients in our direction. We don't have to ask them how they feel about the Marina Dock. The sense of relief they exude and their enthusiasm for what we have to offer speaks for itself. We all remember what it was like to be new, and if you don't, I suggest you refresh your memory. That feeling of impending doom and financial insecurity, for me, was all consuming. Sometimes, we tend to overlook the fact that the majority of these new people are not just bankrupt in the spiritual sense but in every other department as well.

Thinking Outside the Box

Try to remember that next time you reach for your checkbook, if you make a donation to the Marina Dock, that not only are you directly helping the alcoholic or addict by reaching out, but, indirectly, it reduces your likelihood of being the victim of a crime, like credit card fraud, having your car broken into, being harassed for money every time you walk down the street by a guy in the middle of a wardrobe malfunction, or maybe something even more gross. Not to mention an endless array of direct and indirect State and Federal taxes for building more jails, more institutions, hospitals, and healthcare facilities to warehouse and feed such individuals. These are definitely things that we should ponder when we are wondering how our tax dollars are being spent. The amount of people incarcerated in this country, who carried out a crime while under the influence of a substance, is staggering. Yet, for some reason, this gets little media coverage. I guess being an alcoholic or an addict lacks the media attention of other more exotic diseases, despite the fact that alcohol and drug abuse costs the American economy an estimated $276 billion dollars per year in lost productivity, health care expenditures, crime, motor vehicle crashes, and other conditions. Almost half of all traffic fatalities in the United States are alcohol related.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Every American adult pays nearly $1,000 per year for the damage caused by addiction. One quarter of all emergency room admissions, one third of all suicides, more than half of all homicides and incidents of domestic violence are alcohol related. Between 48% and 64% of people who die in fires have blood alcohol levels indicating intoxication. There are more deaths and disabilities each year in the US from substance abuse than any other cause. About 18 million Americans have alcohol problems; about 5 to 6 million Americans have drug problems. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking. More than nine million children live with a parent dependent on alcohol or illicit drugs. Fetal alcohol syndrome is the leading known cause of mental retardation.

Overcoming the Stigma

Thankfully, we have evolved from the era where the general public still viewed with skepticism the idea that alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, and other destructive behaviors were anything more than a moral weakness on the part of the individual, so inclined. Fortunately, we now live in an age where the public recognizes that alcoholism and drug dependence is a disease with consequences that affect both physical and behavioral health. Evidence generated by scientific investigation demonstrates that treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse works. Treatment not only saves lives, it also saves dollars that would be otherwise spent in other areas of medical care and social services. For every dollar spent on addiction treatment, seven dollars is saved in reduced health care costs (NCADD).

I Know What You're Thinking

You are probably saying: "Well yes I agree, rehabilitation and treatment facilities are clearly worth supporting and are definitely turning peoples lives around, but the Marina Dock is not a primary treatment center or rehabilitation facility. So, why should I support it?" Because primary treatment facilities and detoxification centers are short term programs only, usually 30 to 60 days duration. It's what happens after an individual is released from a facility that determines his or her success in recovery, i.e., staying clean and sober. Research has shown that those who actively participate in twelve step recovery programs achieved long-term success (total abstinence from substance abuse). The Marina Dock has hosted over a hundred twelve step meetings every week for over eighteen years now. In an age where meeting places are becoming more expensive and more difficult to obtain, the Marina Dock is becoming more and more important in the whole scheme of things for the hundreds of people like me, who need contact on a daily basis with others in recovery. As a regular reader, and yes, surprisingly people do actually read the newsletter; we have to assume you have some interest in what we do.

How long do recovering alcoholics and substance abusers have to attend 12 step meetings? Abraham Lincoln was once asked how long a man's legs should be. The classic answer was: "Long enough to reach the ground." In case there are some who have not heard yet, our basic text states: "What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition" (AA Big Book, p.85). For me, that translates into going to any lengths to make contact with others carrying the message


Anthony T. Murray

"Irish Tony"


[ Back to archive index ]