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The Marina Dock Newsletter JuLY 2005

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons,

We got a lot of compliments on the June newsletter especially the article on "Women and Stress". I need to point out here, the newsletter is a team effort; there are several people behind the scenes who make it all possible. I am grateful for all the help I get on this monthly project. I also want to thank everyone who supported us financially in June; all it takes is a few decent contributions every month to turn a bad month into a good one. I know our contributors want to remain anonymous, but that does not mean we cannot acknowledge your generosity and support, which I make a point of doing every time I run into you in person. If I have not seen you in a while, thank you again, with gratitude, for being there for us.


According to John Keats (1795 -1821) the great English Romanticist, "a thing of beauty is a joy forever" came to mind a few weeks ago when I found myself sitting in the parking lot of Smart and Final over on 7th and Clement St. It was there I decided to take my five minutes of mindfulness for "Founders Day", June 10th. This place used to be an Italian owned neighborhood grocery store when I was still in my cups, over twenty years ago. My attempt at meditation was short-lived, interrupted by the sight of a huge billboard across the lot with an ad for St. Pauli Girl Bier. It took me a couple of minutes before I realized how much I had changed in sobriety, noticing that my attention was directed more towards the image of the seductive Nordic blonde than the product she was promoting. It was here at this very store on St. Patrick's Day 23 years ago, I and my friend, David G., decided to begin our St. Patrick's Day celebrations. We bought a big chunk of corned beef, a couple of heads of cabbage and several cases of St. Pauli Girl Bier as an appetizer. Our plan was to go home, kick back, have a few beers, cook dinner and quietly with reverence, pay homage to our patron saint. On our way back to 4th Ave., we both agreed that one drink at Max's 540 on Clement St., before we retired for the evening, was a very good idea.

Two weeks later, we got a call from the owner of Max's 540 to send someone over to pick up the corned beef, which was still in the freezer. "We," she added, "were not to enter the premises under any circumstances." All I remember from that particular odyssey is that the SFFD was summoned later that night to our 4th Ave. address to pump out several hundred gallons of water that had submerged our ground floor apartment. It's interesting how the young woman on the St. Pauli Girl Bier billboard first brought to mind the genius of Keats, and the brooding contemplation reflected in his poetry. It was not Keats, however, I was flashing on that hot and sunny Sunday morning 23 years ago, as I emerged from a 3-day brown-out. It was an entirely different poet, Johnny Cash (1932-2003), from the southern Arkansas hill country, which better described my condition:

Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert.

Cause there is something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there is nothing short a' dying
That's half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.


Irish Tony,

Thanks so much for writing what you do in the newsletter. I started receiving it a few months ago when my son moved to San Francisco (on what I think was ANOTHER geographic) and he sent me your info. I was interested and requested that I be put on your mailing list. On a recent Friday and Saturday, I drove to San Francisco to visit him and was very saddened to find out that he is still using and not doing well. I did not confront him, however, I did take care of myself and leave early, but my heart is definitely broken. Not only was I so comforted by what I read in the articles in the newsletter, I was also reminded of the fact that my own sobriety and well-being is dependent on how I perceive what is happening in my life, and that a spiritual solution is all that I really have in desperate situations like the one I am challenged with now. Living in the moment - I was taught in early sobriety - is where nothing bad happens, and that I can handle anything as long as I am living my life in the "now". I am also relieved to be reminded that you guys are there in case he ever wants to reach out and experience sobriety. I am in such a hopeless state of powerlessness over the reality that my 20 year old son is in the grip of a killer disease and that there is nothing that I can do about it, but thanks to a higher power who works through so many different channels, my son may obtain help from you guys if he is willing. His name is Jack if you have any more room in your thoughts and prayers to shoot one out for him. Thanks for being there.

Take Care,
Kathy C., Los Angeles

Hi Tony,

Good to hear from you from time to time. I started out my sobriety at the Dry Dock back in the 90's. My wife and I would drive up for the weekend and go to as many meetings as we could in two days before we had to go back to Reno, Nevada which is one of the hardest places to stay sober on earth. I rode with the second brotherhood of sober bikers which helped. Hey, if 15 bikers can't keep you on the straight and narrow, no one can. Everything was going fine until Linda and I bought this house on ten acres up on the hill in Fernley, Nevada about 28 miles east of Reno. I went to work for a New York-based plant here in Fernley building 60,000 gallon stainless tanks for the dairy industry and she was working for an auction yard herding cattle on her horse. We spent 70% of our time working to pay for this house and since the only meetings were at 7:30 p.m. and I got up at 3:00 a.m., I rarely made them. We were miserable. Last December 2003, I became disabled and had to quit working for good and she got fired about the same time. We were going to lose the house and the car in one shot. All I could do was apply for disability and vocational rehab. We kept our faith and since I wasn't working all the time, started going to meetings again. We continued going through ups and downs and just as we were about to lose everything, out of the blue, the family stepped in and paid off the house and car and I get accepted for disability and vocational rehab and Linda is acing her courses in veterinary medicine. Fernley is the fastest growing city in Nevada right now and when we moved here it was still legally just a town so we figured it was time for an AA Grapevine meeting on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. and a Coda meeting that Linda started. The Grapevine meeting signified that Fernley now had a meeting every day of the week. It took a lot to do it but I was persistent and got us in the Community Center for (sorry Tony) $40.00 a month. Twenty people showed up at the first meeting people and we are going strong. Linda's Coda meeting however, hasn't started off with the same enthusiasm. Last Wednesday we were sitting there looking at each other as we tried to conduct a two person Coda meeting and she started crying. That night at about 3:00 a.m. we were blessed with a beautiful baby horse. Around 5:00 a.m., I saw her standing next to her mother and I woke Linda up and she started to cry again. We have so much to be grateful for and we have a tendency to overlook that when times are tough. If it wasn't for the caliber of sobriety at the Dry Dock (Marina Dock) back in the 90's and the seed that was planted in me through your fellowship, none of this would have been possible. Now that I have a little time on my hands, I am going to come back to my favorite meeting place very soon. So I will see you when I get there, Tony.

Stay strong,
Dan & Linda, Reno, Nevada

Dear Marina Dock and Irish Tony,

Thank you for the healing place you provide - my son now has 7 months clean after 25 years of using. He attends meetings there daily and sometimes twice a day. Your June newsletter is great. I will be more mindful and join your Founder's Day "prayer".

Barbara, San Francisco, June 7, 2005


It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Peter Allen Sharpless, age 56. Peter was a long-term supporter and member of the Marina Dock. He passed away peacefully at his home in San Francisco June 15, 2005 after a courageous battle with cancer. Peter was born in Whittier, California and was a graduate of Whittier High School and a member of a pioneer Quaker family. Peter was a talented artist who attended The Academy of Art in San Francisco. His penchant for helping others led to his ultimate career as a medical technician at San Francisco General Hospital. He will be remembered for his great sense of humor, his charm and caring ways. On behalf of the Marina Dock recovery community, we wish to extend our deepest sympathy to his beloved wife, Denise, and the entire Sharpless family.

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We, the Marina Dock, must continue the good work, with your help of course.

With Gratitude,

Anthony T. Murray "Irish Tony"


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