Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter FEBRUARY 2006

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons:

Twenty years ago this month the great Marina Dock adventure was launched as the Dry Dock. The brainchild of one John David M., with a supporting cast, that resembled a 12-step version of a Who's Who? in America. Wade D. was definitely in the mix, as was the irrepressible "man in the cap himself", the now deceased, Francis Xavier Joseph B.

Although I have told this story numerous times with various twists, I believe it's worth repeating.  David had a great idea but no funds, along came a young woman with a small amount of sobriety, a big heart, and a fifteen hundred dollar line of credit. B., always the wheeler and dealer, through his connections with Vincent De Paul arranged for some second-hand furniture to be delivered, and when I say second-hand, I mean second-hand. The chairs were those fold up jobs with the hard wooden seats that were first used for guests of the Spanish Inquisition and a couple of old sofas that looked like they were rescued from the great San Francisco '06 earthquake and fire. It all worked, however, and the place was jumping right from day one.

Why The Name Change?

Sometimes people ask me why we changed the name to the Marina Dock. We had to; when we incorporated into a non-profit in 2000, we had to change the name. We did however have another reason for making the change. For all the years we were listed in the telephone directory as the Dry Dock we got about twenty calls a week, mostly from women, asking for John, Harry, Luke, Patrick, etc. When I told them we could neither confirm nor deny that a person by that name was in our establishment, a sound of strained silence and frustration came from the other end of the line. "What do you mean confirm nor deny? He's supposed to be there.", was the response. "Ma'am, if he is here he would most likely be in the meeting", I would venture. "Meeting, what kind of meeting?" the voice from the other end would come back, now getting louder and more demanding, "he's supposed to be at work, not a meeting, he left here this morning to go to work at the dry dock" "Madame, this is the Dry Dock and nobody by that name works here. Then it would get really nuts, after about a ten minute phone conversation you realized this lady is trying to reach the San Francisco Shipyard, where her husband works. I decided, if I change the name, two or three things would change right away: no more crazy phone calls.

Update on the Building Fund:

$4,600 raised Year-to-Date. Uses have been:
  1. Painting West Room / touched up East Room
  2. Add crown molding to West Room window
  3. Add new Mecco-type shades to West Room window
  4. Replaced East Room ceiling tiles
  5. Bi-Monthly Industrial Cleaning Service
Projects to come:
  1. Raise ceiling in East Room - remove drop ceiling
  2. Electrical Upgrade
  3. Possible use of the basement area for Marina Dock meeting?

London Calling

One cold spring Thursday night in 1994, a yearning for a deep change in my then, desperate and unhappy life led me to theDry Dock. I had heard of AA from a friend of mine and was just about coming to realize my powerlessness over alcohol. I don't know what I expected when I walked in to the Dock, but it certainly wasn't a friendly face and hearty handshake welcoming me to the Club! Irish Tony was the first person I met in SF AA and showed me the room where the 7.30 pm meeting was.

That first meeting remains entrenched in my memory as I heard people talk about their alcoholism, their feelings and their lives! My walls of denial came crumbling down around me. That first night, as I went home and looked into the clear starry sky, I felt moments of hope and that I was going to be alright.

It was suggested to me to get a sponsor, which I did, and started working the steps. Slowly, the guilt, shame and remorse that I walked in the door with, began to dissolve away. A fellowship surrounded me and supported me when things felt too overwhelming.

The Dock was my sanctuary in my early days, and in fact early years of sobriety. The noon weekday meeting became my home group, where I would see characters such as Walking Don, Frank V. (master of acronyms), Kevin O'M., Van, Eleanor R., Ben W. and many others. That little pink room was where my spiritual adventure started; where I heard my higher power speak through other people; where people kept telling me they would love me until I could love myself, easy does it, keep coming back!

I also especially liked the Thursday night women's step meeting, where I found friendship and trust like I had never known. I am grateful especially to Christie D.

I often think of my early days in SF AA and especially at the Dock. I am so thankful members recommended 90 meetings in 90 days (I did about 190!) and feel as if it set a firm foundation for my sobriety.

I am now living in my hometown of London, England with my husband Mike K and our two beautiful daughters. Perhaps one day they'll be a London Dock (here's hoping!).

Vanessa B-K
January 2006

A message I hope you take the time to read

Monday, 30 January 2006

In case Emily has not been communicating with you, on December 6th through 11th, I almost died from thoracic aortic aneurysm dissection. Someone sent this to me and it really hit me like a rock. Had I died it would not have mattered what I had wanted to do or the friends I "wanted to see" or what I wanted to do with my grand kids. All of those options would be gone forever.

So, if you have the time please read the following message. And give some thought to the friends you've wanted to talk to, the places you wanted got but were too busy, the things you've wanted to do with your kids or grandkids but put of because you just didn't have the time.  In addition, damn it, I love chocolate ice cream!

Please, read this very slowly or print it out to Contemplate Later & Follow its advice. Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine. I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible. How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word "refrigeration" mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, "How about going to lunch in a half hour?" She would gas up and stammer, "I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, it looks like rain." In addition, my personal favorite: "It's Monday." She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together. Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college. Life has a way of accelerating, as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to us gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of "I'm going to", "I plan on", and "Someday, when things are settled down a bit."

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she/he is open to adventure and available for trips. She/he keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her/his enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her/him for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to... not just something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, whom would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?
Make sure you read this to the end; you will understand why I sent this to you.

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask, "How are you?" Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow." And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say "Hi?"
When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift thrown away.... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over and Show your friends and family how much you care. Do it today.

To those I have sent this to... I cherish our friendship/family and appreciate all you do.
"Life may not be the party we hoped for... but while we are here we might as well dance!"

Bert W,
South Riding, VA

The Marina serving the recovery community since 1986: Where results always exceed expectations

We now have a Wednesday evening 7:30 PM fourth step workshop facilitated by Christian, in addition to Paul's ongoing Monday Night 8:30PM Workshop on Steps 1, 2 and 3.  Swami's Sunday night meditation is also back at 7:30 PM.

We now have a new Portuguese speaking A.A meeting on Sunday Morning 11:05 AM. I want to mention the parking again.

The public parking garage on Moulton Street is a great deal, take the alleyway entrance off Webster between Greenwich and Lombard, it's open all day and late into the night, city rates. Another piece of parking information, that relates to the morning meetings. Parking is free up to 9:00 AM except on the two Street Cleaning days, which I believe are Tuesday and Friday. Check the signs.

Also, if you arrive after 8:00 AM and want to attend the 8:30 AM meeting, you can feed the meter in advance of the 9:00 AM meters in effect time, the meter will automatically credit your payment from 9:00 AM. That way you don't have to leave the meeting to feed the meter. Remember it must be one minute or more after 8:00 AM.

As always we want to thank you in advance for your continued support, our new motto being "If you can help us we are most grateful, if you are seeking help, we are even more grateful for placing so much trust in us". We try to do one thing well instead of a lot of things badly, without your faith and trust we could not do it, thank you, one and all. We invite you to send us recovery related stories/anecdotes for the newsletter our readers like them


The solution is love,

"Irish Tony"


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