Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter June 2006

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons:

The Marina Dock would like to thank everyone who came forward and helped us out financially over the last two months. The month of May, we are happy to report was a vast improvement over April, and we are hoping June will be even better still. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have such devoted and generous supporters. Over the years I have become resigned to the fact, that the only way to get people to donate money is to ask for it. I came to that realization not just through trial and tribulation, but by observing all the other charitable organizations that are constantly requesting funds from their supporters. It seems like every nonprofit in the country is now asking people to donate their vehicle. I am sure there are many people right now who yearn for the days of the locomotive, and if gas prices keep going up, I imagine cars will be donated in record numbers. The problem is the car has to be sold before any rewards are reaped.

We are not complaining we will be happy with whatever we get no matter what form it takes, we are grateful for small mercies. I have toyed with the idea of raising our prices for a couple of years now , two or three bad months in a row would probably be the deciding factor, but our downward trend seems to come in cycles of thirty to sixty days and then we pull out of it. In that respect we are decidedly different from the Stock Market, which seems to get the jitters every time they see consumer confidence waning, the most recent downturn it seems was precipitated by a drop in consumer spending last month at Wal-Mart. If there is such a thing as reincarnation I would like to come back as a "Messianic born again Wall Street analyst" and perhaps finally unlock the holy grail of hidden forces that actually dictate market trends.

Jails, institutions and death

I can never get into a discussion about the stock market without reflecting on "Bill's Story" in the "Big Book." Bill had a measure of success on Wall Street in the mid to late twenties before the liquor had its way with him, and by the early thirties Bill was floundering on the shores of New York's hospitals and psychiatric institutions.

Bill's Story
"Then I had a promising business opportunity. Stocks were at a low point of 1932, and I had somehow found a group to buy. I was to share generously in the profits. I went on a prodigious bender, and that chance vanished. I woke up. This had to be stooped. I saw I could not even take one drink. I was through forever, before then, I had written lots of sweet promises, but my wife happily observed that this time I meant business. And so I did. Shortly afterward I came home drunk. There had been no fight. Where had been my high resolve? I simply didn't know. It hadn't even come to mind. Someone pushed a drink my way and I had taken it. Was I crazy? I began to wonder for such an appalling lack of perspective came near being just that. Sticking to my resolve I tried again. Some time passed. Confidence began to be replaced by cocksureness. I could laugh at the bars. Now I had what it takes! One day I walked into a place to telephone. In no time I was beating on the bar asking myself how it happened. As the whiskey rose to my head I told myself I would manage better next time, but I might as well get good and drunk then. I did just that.
The remorse horror and hopelessness of the next morning is unforgettable. The courage to do battle was not there. My brain raced uncontrollably. There was a terrible sense of impending calamity. I hardly dared cross the street, lest I collapse and be run down by an early morning truck for it was scarcely daylight. An all night place supplied me with a dozen glasses of ale. My writhing nerves were stilled at last. A morning paper told me the market had gone to hell again. Well, so had I. The market would recover but I wouldn't. That was a hard thought. Should I kill myself? No not now. Then a mental fog settled down, gin would fix that. So two bottles, and -oblivion.
Chapter 2, the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous.

There are many today who proclaim the big book to be archaic, bemoaning the fact it contains language that belongs to an earlier time, that some of the stories are not relevant to today's world. I disagree; "Bill's Story" is timeless, transcending historical context, an epic of truly Shakespearean dimensions, a story one could easily encounter or read about, in the financial district of any major city. In fact one of my first AA friends was a guy who had lost his seat on the stock-exchange, and when we met he was living at a half-way house in the Haight. He had graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University, and owned a house in Pacific Heights. At that time he was in his early thirties, still mentally sharp and ambitious, he wanted to get his life back in order and make amends to his wife and kids. Brendan was charming, generous and urbane, with a penchant for getting married. He would put together a year or so and the next thing he was introducing you to his new wife. For years he came to "The Dry Dock " and then he disappeared , then about five years ago I saw him shuffling down the street being assisted by a much younger woman sporting a wedding ring. I said hello to him but I could tell he did not recognize me. You know Brendan? The lady inquired optimistically. I used to, I replied sadly, but not anymore.


With all the preoccupation last month on frivolous matters such as money and rent, I did not have the space to inform you that our beloved morning person Bernice has retired and moved to the Delta. Bernice will be greatly missed by all her many admirers. She opened up for us every morning for over six years. There were many mornings where Bernice showed up for work as I was leaving from the night before, and the coffee would be brewing long before the 6:00 AM: people arrived. She worked about double the time she was supposed to and said she would work all day and provide her services for free if she had to, she loved The Marina Dock and was always in a state of gratitude, attributing her success in recovery to her relationship with The Marina Dock and the multitude of people she befriended in the early mornings meetings. Bernice is a straight shooter never one to suffer fools lightly, she was not above telling someone where to get off when it came to defending The Marina Dock and yours truly. She was a loyal and trusted servant and will be greatly missed. She told me she will be back from time to time to visit her friends and engage in some early morning fellowship. For Bernice The Marina Dock was sacred ground, a special place where it all started for her, a place that transformed and fundamentally changed the course of her life. Thank you again Bernice for all the great memories. You have helped me so many times over the years, times when I was baffled "by things that use to baffle me." I never really thanked you for the numerous occasions you offered words of solace and encouragement when things appeared overwhelming.

Sought through Prayer and Swami's Meditation

Swami will be away for the first couple of weeks in June, and when he returns, he will have his workshop at 9:00 PM: on Sunday. We decided this is a much more convenient time for his many followers to attend the workshop. There is not a lot going on recovery-wise between 9:00 PM: and 10:00: PM on Sunday nights, so we expect to see a lot more people showing up at that time. In a recent article by Colin Allen in "Psychology Today' the author writes:

"The brain waves of meditators show why they're healthier. Neuroscientists have found that meditators shift their brain activity to different areas of the cortex-brain waves in the stress prone right frontal cortex move to the calmer left frontal cortex. In other words, they were calmer and happier than before. This mental shift decreases the negative effects of stress, mild depression and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdale, where the brain processes fear." Researchers at Harvard Medical School used MRI technology on participants to monitor brain activity while they meditated. They found that it activates the sections of the brain that governs the functions in our bodies that we can't control, such as digestion and blood pressure. These are also functions that are often compromised by stress. It makes sense, then, that modulating these functions would help to ward off stress-related conditions such as heart disease, digestive problems and infertility."

Donate Your Vehicle To The Marina Dock

We make it easy for you: fast, courteous,
Convenient, and a tax write-off!
And the proceeds from your donated vehicle are so helpful to us!

In just a few minutes time, we'll arrange to pick up the vehicle, give you a donation receipt, and take care of DMV paperwork.

Yes we accept vehicles that have high mileage, wear and tear, and a lot of years (in most cases), so please don't hesitate to give it a try! We can accept cars, trucks, motorcycles, RV's and boats.



With Gratitude

"Irish Tony"


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