Dear Marina Dock Members
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
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.
MONTH OF MARS
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.