The Marina Dock Newsletter March 2005
Dear Marina Dock Members
The Marina Dock continues
to provide the highest quality service to the Bay Area Twelve
Step recovery community. We attribute our success, primarily
to our donors and supporters, as well as our flexibility in
making adjustments, in a rapidly changing world. Thank you again
for your continued monthly support without which we could not
exist. I believe it's fair to say the new people we see coming
through our doors today are very different from the new people
of 25 years ago. The stigma associated with alcoholism still
exists but public awareness and the collective level of consciousness
have definitely been raised.
I remember when I
first started to come around the program in 1981, that people
in meetings would jokingly allude to their $20,000 "Big
Book." That was in reference to the various detox programs
then available through some of the hospitals in the San Francisco
Bay Area. These hospital programs cost around $20,000 for a
28-day detoxification. At that time the patient's health care
provider picked up the tab. Then, in the early Nineties, the
HMOs became the dominant force in the health care industry and
they quickly realized that treating the disease of alcoholism
was a costly business due to the high degree of recidivism,
characteristic of this particular malady. It was no longer "cost
effective" so they essentially got out of the business,
paving the way for the residential and outpatient treatment
programs that are now de rigueur.
The Marina Dock works
closely with treatment facilities in San Francisco. Our staff
has a solid working knowledge of City and County substance abuse
services and other treatment options. On request we will assist
individuals in finding residential and outpatient programs as
well as long-term recovery oriented housing for those seeking
safe, clean and sober living situations. We also refer people
to the Oznam Detox Center at 8th and Harrison Street, the McMillan
Drop-In Center 39 Fell Street (at Fell and Market), which is
open 24 hours and will assist substance abusers in finding a
higher level of long-term care. We also call the Mobile Assistance
Patrol (MAP) for individuals who are under the influence who
request transportation to a hospital or detoxification facility.
When people contribute to the Marina Dock they are not only
helping to provide a Twelve Step meeting place and social club,
they are indirectly helping many other individuals who are still
suffering. For $30 a month or one dollar a day you are helping
out and making a huge difference in the lives of people you
don't even know exist. Tonight, for example, I ran into an old
friend William W from Orinda. He was on his way to the Monday
Night Workshop at the Marina Dock and we got to reminisce about
his early days at the Dock.
Here is an excerpt of what he wrote as a testimonial to the
Marina Dock/Dry Dock:
Great spending time with you earlier this evening, and always
great fun to reminisce. And thanks for the offer of assistance
with the screenplay. Never know what life has in store.
Text follows-let's stay in touch more often,
On The Dock:
The Marina Dock is a magical place. Thousands of people have
been touched by it. Great and miraculous events transpire
within its walls.
It was in February
of 1990 that I first passed through those doors. As an alcoholic
and a drug addict, unemployed, homeless but for the good graces
of my parents, and had just gone through a tough break-up
with a woman I cared greatly for ... all of which had collectively
brought me to Alcoholics Anonymous.
I was fortunate
to spend long hours at the Dry Dock - it served as a field
expedient spin-dry, particularly for those on a budget. Through
the course of my first year, I attended roughly 400 meetings
at all hours of the day. The Dock was absolutely vital in
this early stage of sobriety, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude
to David, Georgie, and Irish Tony as well as the many other
members in attendance there. Each person in those meetings
helped me, whether they knew it or not.
After the first
month, I was soon renting a small room in an old Orinda mansion.
I would leave in the morning and walk over the hills to the
local BART station, where I would hop the gate and steal aboard
the San Francisco train. I would slip between the cameras
at the Montgomery Street end, jump on a 45 Muni, and arrive
at the Dry Dock. This would average about four to five hours
round trip. And in between, I would spend the entire day at
the Dry Dock, going to meetings, sharing and being of service.
Recently I celebrated
my 15th AA birthday; I was sober at my Father's wake. He died
following a long illness, and had finally achieved sobriety
after years of alcoholism. Being in recovery had restored
our relationship, once broken for decades, and I had the honor
and privilege of being there for him in his final hours.
experience with my father, his love of flight, his reawakening
through AA, and his passing were all represented in that final
moment of time. Once again, the program and my Higher Power
had quietly brought me full circle.
Over the years,
the pink cloud comes and goes, directly in proportion to my
level of commitment to sobriety. I find that when I clean
house, trust God and help others, I'm living in the solution.
The Marina Dock is where it all started for me and I am greatly
indebted to this place - it changes people.
William W, East Bay and San Francisco Fellowship.
Marina Dock Meetings
We now have a Sugar Anonymous meeting on Thursday evenings at
6:30PM and the Monday Night Steps 1,2&3 Workshop with Paul
H. is really popular. The 4th Step Workshop on Sunday night
is temporarily off the schedule. Louis returned to Italy after
many years in exile to reunite with his family. I am thinking
about resurrecting the old Fourth Step Workshop I used to facilitate
in the early Nineties, probably in April. I will keep you posted
on that one. It was popular at the time and a lot of people
benefited from it. If you are new or not so new and feel the
need to clean house it's worth thinking about. I must warn you
in advance this Workshop is about action and results, without
H has a wonderful Art Therapy Workshop on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday
of every month. We are so honored to have Jody here at the Marina
Dock. Jody taught art at the high school and college level,
then one day she found herself at the Dry Dock attending a women's
relationship support group. One day after a meeting a friend
from the group who owned a small press asked Jody to write a
book on her experience with a failed relationship. She quit
her regular job and began interviewing men and women across
the country that had similar experiences. The result was two
years later: the publishing of her book entitled SmartLove
(Changing Painful Patterns, Choosing Healthy Relationships).
Later, Jody studied chemical dependency at UC Berkeley and expressive
arts therapy at the California Institute for Integral Studies.
Art therapy is a powerful tool for recovery. Many people
use a substance because they are medicating an underlying
anxiety or depression. Some situations we face are beyond
words. If we express our feelings about the situation on the
page in vibrant color, we are less likely to drink, use, overeat
or use relationships to fill the void within. My Art Therapy
Workshop is designed to be fun, and everyone enjoys it. Sometimes
we will create a piece of art we will want to keep. Fierce
beauty comes from absolute honesty. It is only when we are
committed to our recovery that we can be totally open and
receptive to 'The Hero Within.'
Many years ago I worked as an Art Therapist counselor at a
well-known residential Recovery House in San Francisco where
I met Tony. I called him "Irish Tony" and the name
stuck. Most of the clients were new to recovery and were overwhelmed
by the intensity of their emotions, in some cases suicidal.
I encouraged these people through creative expression to explore
these intense and/or painful thoughts and emotions in this
supportive environment. We used paints, clay, and batik, to
create visual images of thoughts and memories. I have found
over the years of doing Art Therapy that anyone can benefit
from this method, of exploring inner issues through using
a variety of art materials.
Here are some
of my clients' views on Art Therapy:
am not trying to be an artist, I want to use visual symbols
to access the wreckage of my past, and explore feelings
and resentments that have imprisoned me for years."
Johnny G., recovering alcoholic, San Francisco, Bay View.
Therapy unlocked, not only the secrets to my own self-destructive
addictions, but to the terrible beauty within yearning for
recognition." Georgina S., co-dependent /addict, Oakland
If you are someone who feels
stuck or trapped in an inner world of fear and impending doom,
or are a CEO under pressure or overworked, or if you are problem-free
but would like an opportunity to explore and confront "The
Hero Within," this Workshop will definitely get you started.
Render Unto Caesar
There appears to be
some confusion with Marina Dock AA Secretaries and their responsibilities
when it comes to practicing the Seventh Tradition. Last year,
working with a group within the Fellowship, we decided to reduce
our room rents for AA meetings to reflect a more realistic meeting
attendance to rent ratio. The Marina Dock requests only the
stipulated rent for the meeting in question, no more no less.
How additional money over and above the rent is distributed
is not the Marina Dock's responsibility. A few weeks ago a new
format was distributed to each meeting with the rent for that
particular meeting clearly stated on the format. It is the secretary/treasurer's
responsibility to announce to the group (a) how much the rent
for the meeting is, and (b) how much they have collected at
each meeting and how the money is disbursed. We, the Marina
Dock, as a gesture of goodwill, made a room available free of
charge to the Secretary's Workshop so all AA secretaries and
other people interested in service can attend. The Secretary's
Workshop is conducted the 3rd Saturday of every month at 1:30
pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
February was very
disappointing financially but we know with your help, March
will be better. Remember, no contribution or donation is too
big or too small and you have the option of having your donations
paid automatically through your credit card every month. Thanks
again for all your support.
Anthony T. Murray "Irish