Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter March 2006

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons:

Thank you one and all for your ongoing support February, traditionally a difficult month for us financially was this year tempered by your generous contributions, thank you again for thinking of us. When it comes to raising funds, we have no illusions about the challenges we face every month competing for your tax-deductible dollars. I read somewhere recently there are over a million charitable trusts nationwide. They all make the same statement "contributions and donations account for almost half of their monthly income" it's true we simply could not operate without that support. The good news being, in February, many newcomers benefited from your generosity, we had a record numbers of new people coming through our doors. They all say the same thing "we love this place and we are so glad you are here."

Visitors from the Royal County

Meath men Jim B, Pat M, John R, and Brian from County Cavan arrived for a visit from Ireland last week. Jim and Pat were here about four years ago and they complimented us profusely on all the changes and improvements we have made since their last visit. I thought I would pass that along to you, after all it's your support that makes this possible. Jim B with over a quarter century of sobriety is a seasoned traveler in recovery; he mentioned all the different countries he has visited to attend AA conventions, some of them I never heard of. His next trip is to India for their AA convention later this year. I wished them all the best and asked them to say hello to all our friends in recovery back home many of whom have been to the Marina Dock over the years. You may not know that in the late eighties early nineties, we had a huge Irish contingent attending meetings at The Dry dock. There was a Friday night meeting in the east room that we called the "Irish Meeting" we had eighty to a hundred people in there. Then suddenly they all disappeared, they went back to Ireland to partake in the economic boom commonly referred to as "The Celtic Tiger" A far cry from the Ireland that I grew up in, a period know as the "hungry fifties" I can assure you if there was a tiger roaming around in those days he would quickly find himself going from a Celtic tiger to a much appreciated Irish Stew. The Irish visitors brought me a local paper from back home, I just happened to glance at the property section, I saw a two story house for sale in Navan, which used to be a small market town in County Meath, about 12 miles from where I grew up, selling for around four hundred thousand Euro. The median price for a house in Ireland is about the same as San Francisco. Before I left Ireland in the late seventies, I used to fantasize "if I could only stay away from the drink long enough, maybe I could get enough money together to make it to the States, where I would find fame and fortune. " I believe the operative word here is "irony." Which is defined as an " incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs." Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) one of the giants of Twentieth century American literature wrote a masterpiece entitled "you can't go home again." For years, I fought against this obvious truth, and still do at some level.


Can you believe we are already in March; which was originally the first month of the year and is named after Mars, the "God of War" the son of Jupiter and Juno, king and queen of the gods. Mars, the story goes, was loved by Venus, the Goddess of Beauty, but wishing to keep their love a secret from the other gods, they met only during the night, and Mars appointed his servant Alectryon to keep watch and to call him before the sun rose as he did not wish Apollo, the Sun God, to see them. One night Alectryon fell asleep, and so was too late to warn Mars of the sun's approach. Apollo saw them from his chariot as he drove across the sky, and told Vulcan, the God of Fire, who caught them in a net of steel, and thus held them prisoner, while the other gods made fun of them. As soon as he was set free, Mars, who was filled with anger against Alectryon for failing in his duty, changed him into a rooster, and driving him into a farmyard, condemned him to give warning every day of the sun's rising. Imagine how this story might play out today in one of the tabloids" "Hottie Roman Idol, Mars, busted by Vulcan on night out with young Goddess Venus. Mars doing time, driver Alectryon caught napping, is relegated to farm system."

You can tell this is a slow month. It's not like we don't have things to talk about, it's more about cost and keeping the newsletter within an 11x17 format of four pages. Between the printing, stamps, envelopes, the time actually spent stuffing envelopes and mailing the newsletter out, it costs about $1,000.00 a month. This is not a complaint; the newsletter is central to our whole operation and again accounts for a large part of our monthly income. Maybe this is a good time to talk about some of our expenses just to give you an idea of the challenges we face keeping The Marina Dock in existence. We have a quality-meeting place and social club in one of the prime residential real estate districts in the country. Last year 2005, our payroll and payroll taxes amounted to around $85,000. We have six people on the payroll as well as a few volunteers. We are now using fully recyclable products, like high quality insulated paper cups, which cost about three times more than Styrofoam, at about fifteen cents a cup. We offer Peet's coffee, which cost on average about $12.00 a pound as well as the highest quality teas. Then we have Garbage, PG&E, Water, Telephone/internet service, Workers Comp, and General liability insurance to mention but a few, amounting to around $1,500.00 a month. Yes, we all agree numbers are boring and no one ever wants to talk about them, that's why we have accountants, who by the way costs another $400.00 a month, and that is, as accountants go a deal. Over the years people have suggested, friends and acquaintances providing some of the services as a favor, forget it, I would never call myself a businessman, but one thing I have learned over the years, hire professionals, preferably people you have no other relationship with, period. The good news, we are very fortunate to have a number of generous donors in our midst, the ones who come through month after month. That is the highest compliment, in a way you are saying we like what you do, and here is our appreciation.

It pays to advertise

The information about the public parking on Moulton Street as well as the street parking has definitely paid off, people are using it. We also have a sign next to the beverage counter the give directions to the public parking lot, check it out. The Coda meeting on Saturdays 4:45 PM is active again, but it does need support. NA meetings every night now, and the evening AA meetings are all at 8:30PM now to make it easy for people to remember. The Swamis, Meditation Workshop Sunday night 7:30PM is gathering momentum, as well as the Fourth Step Workshop on Wednesday night 7:30 PM. Paul H's Workshop on the first "Three Steps" on Monday Night is so popular we may have to move it to the Moscone Center. If you meet the requirements and you are interested in being a secretary of a 12step meeting ask at the desk and you will be pointed in the right direction. We have a midnight AA meeting on Friday night that needs a new secretary and support, as does the Saturday midnight AA meeting. We accept used books as donations and you can request a tax-deductible receipt. Check out our new membership fees we make all kinds of deals, especially if you are interested in a long-term membership like one or two years. If you need help and you are reaching out we are there for you, if you would like to help, you are there for us. Bottom line we are there for each other. Happy Paddy's Day, and congratulations to my friend and popular Marina Dock patron and supporter Kathy F.L. on 10 years March 17th. Another miracle.

The solution is love,

"Irish Tony"

"It was bound to happen"


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