Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter December 2004

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons,

We are coming to the close of another very successful year for the Marina Dock. We managed not only to keep our doors open, but we also made some very significant improvements to the facility. Have you noticed the beautiful exterior paint job, compliments of Mareno Painting, to the outside and our entrance? If you ever need a paint job, Mareno Painting is the way to go. Ted is not only a very successful painting contractor; he is also a very reflective and deeply spiritual individual who is passionate about helping others. Several times over the last few years, he has helped us out when things were rough. I first met Ted around twenty years ago when we almost got into a beef over a parking space right outside the Dry Dock. He pulled into a space that I believed to be mine. I leaped with great indignation from my vehicle, seething with an overblown sense of entitlement and self-righteousness, only to see him head into the 3:30 PM meeting - then held in the old back room - the same one I was attending. We ended up having to hold hands for the Serenity Prayer at the end of the meeting, and we have been friends ever since. That Serenity Prayer is something else, here I was about to pull Mareno out through the neck of his shirt, and the next thing we are praying together, becoming the best of friends, and helping each other out now for over twenty years.

It is, however, an Inside Job

You couldn't but notice the major improvements and paint-job in the East Room. I thought we would never actually finish the work we started over two years ago, before we ran out of money. Recently, the tenants upstairs started to complain about the clapping in the early morning and late evening emanating from our East Room meetings. The only solution available to us was to ask the groups to refrain from clapping in the AM and PM meetings. Then along comes a miracle disguised as an individual reaching out for help, who noticed our predicament and without any hesitation wrote a couple of very generous checks, and, just like that, the problem was solved. We soundproofed the upper ceiling that was full of holes, we replaced the missing tiles in the secondary ceiling, and we painted the entire room a lighter shade of pink. We also put a futon in the East Room (on a trial basis) to see if people like it. There were some initial rumblings, but once we moved it to its current location by the front window the dissenters seem to have acquiesced. That same angel in our midst has bought new cushions and covers for the futons in all of the rooms, and donated the futon and two new secretary and speaker chairs in the East Room. Thank you again, anonymous donor, from all of us who rely on this place for our daily sustenance.

On the Topic of Noise Abatement and Complaints

You may have noticed two copies of a letter of complaint from a neighbor, about talking and smoking outside her window, in the early morning and late evening. Consequently, we have decided, unlike the rest of the country, to move to the left, the left of our entrance that is. When you leave a meeting and go outside to chat, smoke etc., do not linger outside the front of the building. Move to the left, towards Webster Street. The demarcation line is the first tree, or what we are now referring to as The Tree and Beyond. We need everyone's cooperation on this one, including secretaries. The staff cannot police this 24 hours a day, so if you see someone smoking or talking outside, ask them (politely) to move up the street towards the tree. The other issue we need to remind secretaries of, is to pass the baskets for the Seventh Tradition, starting from the back of the room. If you ask why, we suggest you partake of the Secretary's Workshop, held once a month on Saturdays at 1.30PM. The next workshop is on Saturday, December 4. This workshop really does make a difference, a few nights ago I spoke at the 8:15 PM meeting and the Secretary followed the format to the letter.

The Holidays and Staying Sober

I never really needed a reason to get drunk. It could be we lost a war or won a battle, or the 'Niners lost, or nowadays, the 'Niners won. It was the holidays and I was lonely, or I was flush and needed to spend money. If you are someone who feels shaky over the holidays and need some support and protection, we at the Marina Dock will be there for you. The Marina Dock will have a Midnight Meeting Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, and Sunday, the day after Christmas. The following week, we will have the same schedule: a Midnight meeting New Year's Eve and a buffet starting around 8:00 PM and a Midnight meeting New Year's night.

The Marina Dock, a Place of Attraction rather than Promotion

It's obvious we try to model our public relations policy on Alcoholics Anonymous. We make every effort to make people feel safe, comfortable, and attracted to what we do and what we have to offer. As a declaration of our confidence in your ability to give freely of what you have, we have decided to leave the newly painted East Room walls free of posters, flyers, and signs, etc. That way, you can attend a meeting without the sensation that you are riding BART. We have a few more little jobs to do in the East Room, like installing base boards and finding more black chairs, which we will try to accomplish over the next month or two.

It's Not Too Late

We sent out a financial statement last month to all our members and donors. If it doesn't jibe with your records, let us know. You will receive a final statement for 2004 at the end of January 2005. There is still time for a tax-deductible donation for fiscal 2004. As I mentioned before, the direct credit card payment is a great option and something we hope you consider. This month I want to enclose another letter of gratitude from a former Dry Dock/ Marina Dock patron. I have not seen Leta in many years, but as you can see, it's a small world. Have a safe, serene and beautiful holiday season.


With Gratitude,

Anthony T. Murray "Irish Tony"


It was Monday night November 15th, 2004 and I was at the Pont St. meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous in London. I shared that I got sober in San Francisco. Afterward a woman named Jenny came up to me and asked if I might know the Dry Dock and her uncle "Irish Tony".

It took me right back to some of my favorite memories. Such a gift. The Dry Dock on Greenwich. I attended multiple meetings on a daily basis during the first years of my getting clean and sober. That is where I heard the promises of continuous sobriety. One day at a time, all in a row. Remembering the 1989 earth- quake, it was late afternoon and I was in my studio apartment. All of a sudden, the street buckled and everything shut down. After wandering about the Marina area looking at the damage and trying to make sense of what had happened I made my way to the place I felt most secure and safe, the Dry Dock.

The electricity was out, but the room was welcoming with candle light and familiar faces. Thanks to David and Georgie and the volunteers, the Dock was open and we spent hour upon hour having meetings and offering help. Shelia offered me her second bedroom until I felt comfortable enough to return to my apartment. The kindness and caring that came out of the people at the Dry Dock was amazing.

Frank B was one of the many that reached out to me. He told me I was teachable and reteachable. And that I was doing just fine. I was too timid to call others or join the other members for coffee after the meetings. But Frank Brennan would call me several times a week and ask if I was doing alright. He always had wild flowers pinned on his jacket lapel and good strong hugs from swimming daily at the YMCA. He spent most of his free time talking to business people about funding safe houses for men and women and talking to scared and angry alcoholic men and women like myself.

I attended the 7:00 AM meetings before work and found them to be so necessary for the day ahead. The same people where often in attendance and that was reassuring. I also attended noon meetings and meetings after work. Then there was the women's meeting and the Saturday morning meetings. I learned how to laugh again in those meetings. The tears were also often evident, but somehow I knew I had found a safe place for me and my self-doubts.

I read a notice about the International Convention that was to be held in Seattle during my first year of sobriety. I wanted to go and ended up sharing the flight with other Dry Dockers. I started to learn how to let people get to know me and to start trusting again.

I remember Si P with his bow ties and his evidence of a successful home life. I listened to what he said and wanted what he had. His gentle and soft way of sharing his story made it easier for me to accept my own life.

And there was a woman named Nellie. She was doing some theatrical work and talked about using gold stars on a chart to monitor her attempts at controlling her drinking and about the spiders she saw on the walls of her home. I was amazed that such a beautiful and talented lady had hallucinations. It gave me faith that I to could recover. Then there was Theo who worked for a publishing company and wore designer outfits and three inch heels. She would walk into the back room, smile and greet me and I just knew that I was going to be alright one day.

And then the lady I remember as the hat lady. A young women from an old, established San Francisco family who lived on her own and worked at the desk at the Dry Dock. She would always say hello and welcome me. She wore designer hats and made a strong impression on me. She spoke quietly and with dignity. So many kind men and women helped me find my path. Always reminding me to go to meetings and not drink between meetings.

And, Oh! the Thanksgiving and Christmas meetings hosted by the Dry Dock. The staff and volunteers would start arriving and some would dress up very fancy and the place would be decorated. And Frances F would be always visible doing kind works. We would each in our own way praise the beauty of our twelve steps and twelve traditions and the glorious fellowship. You would see everyone at least once during the holidays just to say thank you and remember what it used to be like and how far we had come.

I picked up my fifteen-year chip here in Portugal earlier this year and always remember how my life changed when I walked into the Dry Dock in February 1989. I have moved several times during my sobriety and continue to learn ever more about myself each time. About six years ago, I traveled to Southern Portugal and met and later married another American in AA, also from San Francisco and living here in the Algarve. The AA fellowship here offers daily meetings now and we had our first International Convention earlier this month. Both the Portuguese and English speaking meetings are coming of age. They keep me sober and in service and full of gratitude.

Leta RHS


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