The Marina Dock Newsletter February
Dear Marina Dock members
and patrons alike,
The holidays were a huge success at the Marina Dock. We had a
big turnout for the two buffets on Christmas Eve and New Years
Eve. It was really quite encouraging to see so many people enjoying
themselves and participating in the gifts of sobriety.
We had one scary moment, when a couple of young fellas, slightly
under the weather, from one of the bars down the street, decided
to settle their differences over a girl, right outside our front
door during the midnight meeting. First it was a shouting match,
then one kid threw a hay maker which missed its intended target
and landed squarely on our front window, our $500.00 to replace
front window. Fortunately, it withstood the impact. I ran outside,
followed by Big Joe H, who is about six eight in his stocking
feet, and we bawled these two guys out. Both of them looked like
they hadn't drawn a sober breath since around Labor Day. They
didn't argue and went quietly about their business, until they
thought they were safely out of earshot, then one uttered contemptuously
to the other: "F****** Alcoholics."
It's always fun when you come across guys who are so drunk they
don't know their own pedigree, pointing the finger at two guys
who have not imbibed in over twenty years respectively - "methinks
they protest too much".
I want to take a moment
here and thank Ron G for his stalwart performance in helping out
with the buffets. Ron is relatively new in recovery but he is
definitely not short on willingness, he seemed to be there helping
out all the time over the holidays. Also Maureen Fitz, Jessica,
and Bill G from Redwood City as well as the many individuals who
chipped in financially to cover the cost.
For your information
In case you have not
noticed there are several workshops available throughout the week
that need support. The Meditation Workshop on Sunday evening is
probably the best kept secret in town. Then we have the Art Therapy
Workshop conducted by Jody H every second Wednesday of the month.
We have a Fourth Step Workshop every Monday evening and the Relationships
Meeting on Saturday evening. You may recall this was the famous
Frank B meeting of the Nineties, where close to a hundred people
would show up. I am not sure how many of them actually achieved
successful relationships but they certainly had a lot of fun trying.
In any event, this meeting is now crying out for support. I have
just learned Big Joe H and a fella by the name of Rudy have taken
it over and plan to restore it to its original format. Who knows
maybe they can recapture those great moments of the past. You
should come down on Saturday night 6.45 PM and check it out. Incidentally,
all of these meeting plus the times are posted on our website
at www.marinadock.org. Ultan, our Webmaster has really given us
a website to be proud of, check it out. Also, our new option of
direct payment for membership and/or donations is really catching
Now, more than ever, we need new members to keep us
afloat. Ask at the counter about membership and discount deals.
Never say never
I stated in an earlier
newsletter that I was retiring from the debating society as it
pertains to opinions on the nations ongoing economic schizophrenia.
I was hoping by this time things would turn around and we would
be "out of the woods", so to speak. It ain't happening.
It appears the big problem with this recovery is its one-sidedness.
Apparently it has not translated into any job creation. I believe
last quarter the economy created a net gain of one thousand jobs.
The effects are obvious in San Francisco's recovery community,
where people are relocating to more affordable places out of State
and others are moving to the rapidly diminishing undiscovered
rural areas of California. The only variable that seems constant
in all of this is the flow of newcomers into the Marina Dock,
and, of course, we all know from our own experience that newcomers
are, for the most part, not just spiritually but also financially
Amazingly, for reasons yet obscure, the Marina Dock continues
to provide the highest quality of services to all its many patrons.
We continue to defy the odds. Everyday I am thinking of new ways
to improve our facility and make things better and more attractive
If we ever break out of the economic doldrums, I would like to
renegotiate the lease at the end of 2004 and do major structural
improvements to the East Room, improvements like raising and soundproofing
the ceiling, as well as a new carpet, and a different type of
seating arrangement. The days of people in recovery sitting on
uncomfortable chairs in dingy smoke filled rooms in neighborhoods
less than hospitable is basically the stuff of young Hollywood
scriptwriters caught in a fifties time warp. That fact is we are
in competition with all kinds of businesses and in order to survive
we have to make what we have to offer not only safe but also attractive.
We lost Three Over
(1931-2004), a great friend and former Dry Dock employee, passed
away on Monday morning, January 19th, at his residence in San
Francisco. Jim got sober in 1988 and shortly thereafter started
working at The Dry Dock. Jim had more lives than Shirley McLean.
He grew up in Denver Colorado joined the US Navy and served in
Korea and Japan. After his service he attended law school and
became a trial lawyer. Jim would on more than one occasion laugh
about his legal career and how he had to give it up because it
inevitably interfered with his other passion, drinking. He later
worked as a stage hand and acoustics specialists with the San
Francisco local. Jim was a brilliant and passionate individual
with charm and humility to boot. One time he helped me out with
a paper on Fourteenth and Sixteenth Amendment rights for a criminal
law class at City College. The next week when I showed up in class
the teacher was pronouncing my brilliance to the entire class.
When Jim asked me how the paper went, I told him "the instructor
thinks you are brilliant". He shot me one of those modest
Johnston grins and said with just the slightest hint of a southern
drawl "really." He was one of a kind, was our Jim, contentious,
brilliant, and impossible not to like.
(1928-2004). Fred died suddenly on Saturday morning, January 24th,
at his residence in San Francisco. Fred had close to 30 years
of continuous sobriety and was a big supporter of the Marina Dock/Dry
Dock since the beginning. Fred grew up in Philly and went to College
and later worked for cruise lines back east before moving out
to California in the sixties. He worked for many years in the
east bay as a financial controller for a large company and after
retiring he found a new career as a voice over artists on television
and radio. He was also very involved in the San Francisco Comedy
Improv scene for many years. Even if you did not know Fred personally
you probably heard his voice on radio or TV doing commercials.
He had that unmistakable what I would call a unique hybrid nasal
Philly/New Jersey/ New York accent from a sixties gangster TV
show, an east coast Joe Friday type if you like. Nevertheless,
Fred's first love was AA and his passion for helping others. His
home group was Frank Brennan's old haunt "The Compass Group"
on Wednesday night. Memorial services and funeral arrangements
will appear in the San Francisco Chronicle this week and also
on our Marina Dock Website.
(1923-2004) died in early January as the result of a stroke. Lucy
had over 21 years of sobriety and was very active in the rooms.
She was a regular at the Marina Dock showing up pretty much on
a daily basis. Lucy was also well known locally and internationally
as a labor activist and organizer, going back to the early years
of Harry Bridges and the waterfront strikes of the thirties.
And Never The Twain
A few misconceptions
that need clarification. There appears to be some ongoing confusion
about the Marina Dock and its relationship to twelve step programs,
specifically Alcoholics Anonymous. The Marina Dock is a nonprofit
corporation, operating as a clean and sober meeting facility and
social club for individuals and groups seeking recovery through
the Twelve Step model.
The different groups meeting at the Marina Dock are autonomous.
They rent the rooms for meetings and they pay the rent to the
Marina Dock just like they would to a church hall, school, or
any other place they choose to rent around the city. Recently,
you may have noticed that we (the Marina Dock) went to extra lengths
to emphasize that distinction by reducing the rents for meetings,
thereby allowing groups to be more autonomous and at the same
time making it possible for them to meet their respective Seventh
Tradition requirements. The people who work at the Marina Dock
are employed by the Marina Dock. They, of course, could also be
members of AA and /or other twelve step programs. However, these
individuals should in no way be (nor is it intended to be) construed
as special workers, as isdefined in AA's Eight Tradition, no more
than a Parish Priest would, who rents a hall or a room to an AA
If anyone has questions on these or other issues, the best place
to find the answer is to attend the AA secretaries workshop held
every month at the Marina Dock.
Now, more than ever,
we need new tax deductible membership dues, donations and contributions
to keep our doors open.
Anthony T. Murray