Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter JANUARY 2007

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons:

Happy New Year to all our members and supporters, we are now entering our twenty first year at 2118 Greenwich Street, It’s hard to believe I have been associated with this miracle on Greenwich Street for this length of time. Before The Marina Dock, I think the longest I ever stayed in one place was about 45 minutes unless of course I include bars, where I spent twenty years of my youth lamenting the plight of the masses and tilting at windmills, Oh well! The big book says “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” Isn’t that the truth, Today I can muse over such flights of fancy and seem them for what they were i.e. the deeply disturbed and wild machinations of a chronic narcissist, Several people commented on the “Alive & Free” article we ran in the December issue, courtesy of Hazelden, apparently they found it useful in navigating the treacherous waters of family gatherings in early sobriety. Maybe that is why I have not been home in 14 years, I am not ready

The New Year: Will arrive with its own set of challenges out rent will increase and the cost of doing business at this location will increase accordingly. We are enclosing a financial statement with the newsletter for those who made financial contributions in 2006. In all we had two hundred people contribute out of a total of eleven hundred plus on our mailing list, if we could get the remaining nine hundred to donate $5.00 every month we would never have to talk about money ever again. Wow!!! What a fantasy that is. I would never have to count sheep, take homeopathic sleep aids, watch Tony Robbins, or infomercials about buying real estate at government auctions with no money down.

From Our Readers:

Bert. is a longstanding Marina Dock member since his early years in sobriety when he lived in San Francisco.

Tony, one year ago today at 7:30 PM my aneurysm dissected and Emily and I went through an excruciating experience and about 45 days in hospitals. But for the prayers of friends and family (and many folks I will never meet), my God and the best medical team in the world I would not be here to send this email. And I am. Wow.

I was asked to share a little of my experience, hope and strength resulting from that "event." There was a period immediately after the operations that the doctors wanted to sedate me to prevent any movement because my status was very tenuous my body needed a chance to heal. So I was in a drug-induced coma for several days and while Emily and my family and friends were around me and concerned I was having a series of "adventures" in my sleep. Someday I will write these down -- they were very clear and seem very real to me. And many of my friends and family were participants in these dreams.

I wanted to relate one dream event that took place during the coma period. I looked up and there was a face -- a large face with piercing eyes -- staring at me. Imagine a huge black sheet with a large face imprinted in it. Shut your eyes and imagine that this sheet takes up almost all of your view with the ends flapping in a wind. And you can see this face clearly. The eyes were large and saw right through me. I don't know how long I stared into this face before I realized that I was staring into the eyes of death. It was not menacing or threatening. The face was passive and just stared at and through me. At some point I realized that I didn't want anything to do with death, turned around and walked away.

The surgeon gave my successful survival chances at 7%. Not too much but just enough. Emily tells me that there was a point at which the doctors changed their description of my condition from looking away and shaking their heads to "cautiously optimistic." I will always believe that it was at the point something in me told me I didn't want anything to do with death and could walk away. And I did. I believe that all the prayers and good wishes of support were pulling me back. God smiled.

I firmly believe that we are here to give back to each other. When I was lying in the ambulance on the way to to the hospital in excruciating pain (at about 7:50 pm) I told Emily that I loved her and asked her to tell my two daughters that I loved them. I really did not think I would ever see them or anyone again. And for a few seconds I tried to think of a joke that would go with the situation. I thought it could help break the tension. None came to mind. But at least I reached back for my favorite weapon in times of desperation -- humor.

So a year later -- to the day -- I am enjoying every day and person.Probably the most important aspect of this event was my being in recovery. I try not to imagine what would have happened had I been in my pre-recovery, pre-Fellowship state. Too drunk to function or respond. Too soused to understand or care what was going on inside. Or driving toor from a bar, liquor store or club. I can tell you that one major benefit of the program is caring about yourself and knowing that you are worth saving. I was aware, alert and ready to act to save my life. And I had a life worth saving myself for. What a wonderful feeling that is.

With all my heart I want you to know that I love everyday and person in my life. It has been an excellent year -- my bonus year. I hope my emails, calls; messages have been a positive force in your life. That has been my purpose. Especially the humor. Thank you for all your love and support!!!! Your friend, Bert

Bert W
Taylors, SC

I first came to the Marina Dock right after moving to SF in late September of 1988 at the tender age of 21. Of course, it was called the Dry Dock at the time, but the deal was pretty much the same; a cozy lobby, a little counter with coffee and snacks and, of course, lots of12 step meetings.I seemtorecall that the walls were un-painted, raw wood and the lobby was filled with miscellaneous old couches. There was only one large meeting room in the back, what is now the West Room plus the middle room (they weren't separate rooms then).

Of course, at the time, I was not an alcoholic! How could I be? I had stopped drinking all on my own, cold turkey, about 6 weeks before moving to San Francisco. I used to take the 43 Masonic bus from my horrible temp job at UCSF to the meetings and then the 22 Fillmore to the 14 Missionat 16 and Mission to get home. I used to get car sick every time as the 43 careened through the Presidio, but I would manage to have a bowl of chicken noodle soup at the Mel's on Lombard before the meeting.The meeting room reminded me of a shed that might be connected to a green house: I kept thinking it should have waste high tables on which one could re-pot plants and rakes and hoes hanging from the wall .I only attended that meeting for about a year, at which time I thought "This is the answer! Self knowledge,"

ThenI decided I was tired of controlling my drinking. Within a few months I was drinking in the exact same way I had when I was teetering back tomy dad'skitchen over and over again for "just a little more scotch." Within 6 months I'd had a drunken suicide attempt. I was having panic attacks that would wake me up from a sound sleep with hyperventilation. A little experimental controlled drinking proved to me that, hell yes, I am powerless over alcohol .I was done trying it my way. I threw myself into AA with all the energy I could muster. Occasionally, I would go to a meeting that was on the AA list and discover that it had been disbanded. "Well, now what?" I'd think to myself. "How am I going to stay sober for this hour of today's 24?" I quickly learned to stick close to the Dock if I wanted to make sure I got to at least one meeting a day. The important thing to me is that the Dock has remained here. My recovery time was shortened, I'm sure, by the ready access to AA's at all levels of sobriety congregated at the Dock day and night, in meetings or hanging out in the lobby.

God bless the Marina Dock!!!

Meredith M.
San Francisco

A Reminder

It is about the same price to use the parking lot on Moulton Street, enter from Webster Street, as it is to park on the street, without the worry of getting a parking ticket, check it out it’s my new discovery. Incidentally, do not leave any items visible in your car; note I said visible instead of valuable. A potential thief once they see something will break your window, regardless of the items value. Cost to repair a broken window, $1,000.00?

Happy New Year to everyone 3 million times, for that is approximately how many success stories have passed through our doors since February 1986. A special thank you to all the great people who work and volunteer their time 18 hours a day 365 days a year at The Marina Dock, It is a very difficult job that from a distance looks easy, If you are still thinking about us as a possible source for a contribution or a vehicle donation, think no more we could use some of those tax-deductible donations to offset our increase in operating expenses in 2007.

A special New Year greeting to Wade D the man who knows more about the everyday goings on of the San Francisco Recovery community, The Marina Dock, and me, than anyone I know including myself, Wade is a timeless, ageless, indefatigable “worker among workers” from his the American Heartland, Wade. D in Valentine Nebraska. Happy New Year to you and your son Mike.

With Gratitude,


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