Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter FEbruary 2007

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons:

Once we get into February we know the holidays are truly over, and now it's back to the reality of taking care of business. It is time now to deal with all that boring stuff like going back to work, driving the kids to school, applying for financial aid, renewing the membership at the local gym, even though I haven't used it since August, and of course I should call my accountant to see if I can file for an extension this year. I haven’t even looked at my taxes yet. Then there was that week in February I promised myself some months ago, a week in Mazatlan with some fellowship friends. Darn it! There is that remodeling job on the kitchen I was supposed to have finished two years ago, I can’t go to Mexico and have the kitchen remodeled, and I just don't have the funds for both. I could use my credit card; maybe I should call my Debtors Anonymous sponsor? She will probably shoot it down.

Everyone loves Raymond, Except Me

Then there was that cute guy, Jacques, I met at the Convention in Canada last year, he wanted me to visit him at his vacation house in Puerto Viarta, my friend Irish Tony calls it "Puerto Viagra." Yes, I know he is sixty, but he has a lot of sobriety, and he seems to like me. Don’t get me wrong I really love my husband Raymond, but he is boring me lately with his neediness and his incessant demands for love and affection. He talks constantly about how wonderful it used to be between us in the early years of our relationship. Every time I hint at a vacation he keeps bringing up the trips we take every summer to the Rodeo Ranch in Montana. I wish Raymond would just get real and show me some serious loving, right now; I can’t stand this living in the past stuff. Why does Raymond, my beautiful romantic and passionate Ray of five years ago, now appear so mundane, always tinkering with his Harley, and talking about riding in the wind up the coast with his biker friends from the law firm he works for. The guy is fifty for God’s sakes, I cannot take much more of this hankering after the past and these ridiculous infantile manifestations of the "American Male Menopause" and why does he always need to be right all the time, by reminding everyone he went to Yale? Why can't he be dashing and self-assured like Jacques, Jacques is so dapper so urbane and successful to boot, he dabbles in the financial markets, something to do with hedge funds? It is all very deep and mysterious. He always seems to say the right thing, he is interested in art and literature, and he is sooo! well read, his grandparents were French, although he grew up in New Jersey. I can’t stop thinking about him. Raymond just does not seem to be there for me anymore. I want to work an honest program, I don’t want to hurt Raymond, but Jacques is definitely causing me a spiritual, not to mention hormonal dilemma, Maybe I will put everything off for right now, I should read the "Third Step Prayer," and call my sponsor? I will arrange to meet her at the 5:15 at the Marina Dock. The Marina Dock. Wow! I just realized that is where I went to my first meeting, straight from the Salvation Army detox program twelve years ago this February.

What Happened

In 1995 I was living in a Tenderloin Hotel with my abusive pimp boyfriend, he owned me and he controlled every facet of my being, I did crack and alcohol during the day and exchanged sex for money at night, except when I was too sick and physically beaten to get out of our rat infested hotel room. I had run away from my alcoholic family in Gary, Indiana when I was fifteen and spent the next ten years on the streets of San Francisco drinking and drugging. One cold and rainy Christmas Eve, about seven o'clock in the evening, I was walking barefooted and bedraggled down Eddy Street trying to escape the brutal beatings from my psychotic boyfriend/pimp. As I pass the Arlington Hotel, this older gentleman is coming out of the Hotel with a younger lady, they were both startled by my appearance and they practically blocked my path. With little formality the older shorter man who was wearing a tweed cap and a big overcoat with a flower in the lapel, said "Holy Christ" what happen to you, are you ok, are on drugs, did someone beat you up, where is the asshole, where are you going? The questions came in staccato like rapidity and I was simply too broken and demoralized to answer. It turned out I did not need answers, for these two individuals already knew my story. "I am Liz." the tall well dressed lady announced as she reached out to shake my broken and trembling blood stained hand, and this is my friend Frank What’s your name Frank growled in what I later recognized as his gruff but loving demeanor? My real name is Vanessa but my stage name is "Lovely." I whispered meekly. You an actress Frank asked skeptically? Well I am a dancer, I replied sheepishly, whenever I am well enough to do it, I work at "The Mitchell Brothers" on O'Farrell. "Holy Christ" that's enough , I don't need to know anymore , Frank chuckled , we will find you a safe place to get away from this asshole boyfriend of yours and if he gives you any trouble let me know. They drove me straight to the Oznam Detoxification at 1175 Howard Street and Frank and Liz would come to see me everyday.

My First Meeting

Frank and Liz bought me my first "Big Book" gave me my first Marina Dock schedule, and took me to my first meeting at the Marina Dock. From there I went to a Salvation Army women’s residential program for ninety days. My sobriety date is December the 24th 1995. On that dreary Christmas Eve as I fled in absolute terror from that Turk Street hovel, I had no idea that I was about to have a date with destiny in the form of two of the most tireless of workers among workers, in the form of Frank and Liz . I know now it was not a coincidence, for in God’s world there are no coincidences, everything is divinely arranged. In my years of sobriety I went to City College and then I went to State, I have a Masters in Social Work and I still attend five to six meeting a week. I met my Raymond at Union and Steiner "where love stories begin." We were married in 2000 Frank gave me away and Liz was a Bridesmaid .Sadly both Liz and Frank have since passed away , but their kindness and generosity will never be forgotten. I guess Raymond is still ok, right? I know he is no Leonardo Di Cappuccino but he is sober. He is mine and I love him. Jacques is just a fantasy; someone who could sweep me off my feet in a moment of weakness, when I am feeling unloved. My sponsors over the years have warned me about the Jacques of the Fellowship. Frank used to say, in A.A "there are no big shots; no small shots, one shot and we are all shot" Gee! I am really glad I thought this through; I still remember vividly the terror of Turk Street, the nightmares, the beatings, the hangovers, and trips to the Psychiatric Ward at General Hospital.

Ray Swings for the Fences

Just as I was checking my credit cards to see if I had enough credit left to have that week in Mazatlan, Ray called from the office. "Honey, I have a surprise birthday present for you, (my birthday is February 23rd) , I want to take you to Bazaruto Island off the coast of Mozambique, we leave on February 20th for three weeks, I have been saving up for the last five years to take you there, hence the trips to the Rodeo Ranch in Montana, sorry! Sweetie I have to run now I have a conference in the judge's chambers in 10 minutes, let's hit a meeting tonight". I Google this "Bazaruto Island", the brochures describe it as secluded, exotic and ecologically amazing. I put the phone down and sat in my favorite window seat that provides a sweeping view of The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Marin Headlands. A slight rain had started to fall on this humid late January evening, the fog horn sounded. From the elevated safety of our third floor apartment I watched the bustling evening commute make its way north across the bridge. Brimming with gratitude and love for the world, I cried in ecstasy for the gifts sobriety had bestowed upon me. Raymond! I know everyone loves you, but they will never know how much I really, really love you. That night Raymond and I had a beautiful romantic candlelight dinner, and afterwards we hit the 10:00pm at the Marina Dock. Jacques was there, still looking dapper but appeared sullen and depressed, he shared at the meeting that he was "having problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission." After the meeting I used the remaining credit on my card and made a contribution to the Marina Dock.

Vanessa. R

Funds if you can help

February from a business perspective is a really short month, 28 days which makes a big difference when you have bills to pay. I want to again express our deepest gratitude to the people who donated over the last three months your generosity has impacted hundreds of new people who came through our doors in the last ninety days. I would again like to remind everyone were are a nonprofit charitable trust 501 (c) 3 and all donations are tax deductible. I believe you have until April of 2007 to make tax deductible contributions for 2006. No donation is too small, too large or too late.

Give us Your Teeming Masses

If you were around the Marina Dock during the holidays you had to be impressed by the sheer number of people attending meetings, we were hard pressed to keep the coffee flowing. It is great to see so many new faces, albeit troubled, but hopeful faces nevertheless. It is interesting to observe the bewilderment when a new person comes through the doors. I happened to be there around the first few days of the New Year when a fella came in whom I suspected was new. He was over by the counter getting himself a coffee and I asked him if he was ok? "Oh yes, yes" he exclaimed with a feigned confidence, but as I moved closer to him I could smell that familiar pungent odor of stale alcohol coming out through his pours, it’s that day after one where your body is detoxing and sweating it out. About 10 seconds later he bursts out crying and tells me he is ashamed to be here and he is so full of remorse for allowing this to happen to him, why me, etc. I tried to comfort him and directed him to the 6:30 pm beginners meeting where I introduced him to some people with a lot of time. I reassured him he was in the right place and that this was not about shame and humiliation, this is a disease and there is a solution. He seemed to settle down and he found a seat for the meeting. About 45 minutes into the meeting he comes tearing through the door in a rage, demanding to speak to someone about "this A.A" It turned out I was the only person in the social room so I figured I have the honor of this one. Now he is in the center of the room, ranting and raging about God and about A.A being a religious program and claiming he had been duped by all of us. "This is a religious organization and everyone in there is reading about God, and I don't believe in God he fumed." Well I don't believe in God either, I said compassionately, but he obviously believes in me. That got his attention. What do you mean he demanded? Well I countered this program works for people who believe in God, for those who don’t believe in God, and even for people like me who thought they were God.

Trusted Servants Workshop

Lately I attended a few late night meetings at the Marina Dock and I was struck by the number of new people who through no fault of theirs had little or no knowledge of service and or A.A. traditions. We must encourage newcomers and old-timers alike to attend the periodic "Three-Way trusted servants workshops" hosted by the Intercounty Fellowship at Central Office, 1821 Sacramento Street, between Van Ness and Franklin. The next one is Saturday February 10th, 10:00am to 12 noon. Come and hear three speakers, each sharing their experience, strength and hope on a different trusted servant position: secretary, treasurer and literature person. Learn how these vital roles interact and help your group carry the message. Coffee and snacks will be provided. For more information call Patty M. at 415-923- or Monika H. at 415-618-0426. You can also ask at the Marina Dock, 415-567-1775 for the flyer. In fact we are close to making it almost a Marina Dock prerequisite for any new person with a commitment in early sobriety (first 2 years) to attend these ongoing workshops. Our fellowship and its traditions is constantly threatened from within by those purporting to have the inside angle on all matters spiritual and otherwise, if you are new you are more likely to be susceptible to this "lunatic fringe" element, that fortunately are a minority, but a problem nevertheless. See enclosed Newsletter article, April 2000, from the A.A. Central Office. There are those who hold the misguided belief that A.A. can be all things to all people that is why we have traditions and principles to ensure our singleness of purpose i.e., "to carry the message to the alcoholic who is still suffering."

We covered a lot of ground this month, in closing I would like to thank everyone who contributes and supports us. I apologize for the delay in getting out the Newsletter this month. I was too busy having a minor stress-related anxiety attack. I went to the emergency at St Mary's and they told me I am good for another month, at least.

The Solution is love,


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