Dear Marina Dock Members
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
raised Year-to-Date. Uses have been:
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!).
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
"Life may not be the party we hoped for... but while we
are here we might as well dance!"
South Riding, VA
The Marina serving
the recovery community since 1986: Where results always exceed
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
The solution is love,