The Marina Dock Newsletter December
Dear Marina Dock Members
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
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.
Anthony T. Murray "Irish Tony"
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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