The Marina Dock Newsletter October
Dear Marina Dock Members
Once more you have risen to the occasion and banded together
as a community to do what many thought impossible. The Marina
Dock, as everyone knows by now, put together a small group of
investors to purchase the building we currently rent on Greenwich
Street. Hardly a day goes by without someone approaching me
to express their gratitude and relief that such a feat was accomplished.
The Marina Dock has apparently achieved institutional status:
a San Francisco institution - an institution to which a deeply
emotional and psychological attachment has developed for many
grateful individuals, including myself. Over time, the Marina
Dock has changed many lives through relationships wrought on
this sacred ground. It is not the first time I have expressed
these sentiments, but now, we have really come of age - we have
taken a quantum leap forward.
I would like to thank all of the
people over the last 20 years who contributed to the Marina
Dock through membership, donations, and attending meetings -
from the people who wrote sizable checks to the $5.00 and $10.00
donations. When things were shaky, you kept our doors open so
we could get to where we are today. What is most amazing is
that the people who came forward and purchased the building
were motivated not by profit or self-interest, but a desire
to make a difference through altering the destiny of future
generations reaching out for help.
MY MESSAGE TO THE
I felt it was my duty
to attend the recent investor group meeting so I could personally
thank them for their efforts, on behalf of the Marina Dock recovery
community. What this group achieved reminds me of a quote by
the great Irish Humorist, John Mahaffey, 1893-1919, who said
"Ireland is a place where the inevitable never happens
and the unexpected constantly occurs." I told them how
elated everyone felt. The last few months have been a challenge,
to say the least. I think it's fair to say it was the only period
in my life that I briefly regretted not having a "Type
A" personality; however, that notion, I must add, was short-lived.
I know one thing for sure, this was definitely a "God Thing"
- it had little to do with me. God brings people into our lives
for a reason, and a number of them are, thankfully, Type A's.
We are blessed to have so much talent in our midst.
THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN
We recently decided that our Members and Patrons should be given
an opportunity to contribute to the monthly Newsletter, thereby
making it more inclusive and probably more interesting. Of course,
if I were to be rigorously honest, I might have to admit hiding
a bad motive behind a good one, and confess to the fact that
I have succumbed to mental fatigue. Here is a sample of some
of the many letters from our Members who wanted to share memories
and express their gratitude toward The Marina/Dry Dock for the
role it played in changing their lives.
Across the Sea
It was summer, 10 or 11 years ago when I first visited the Dry
Dock. I was visiting somebody that I knew who had worked there,
Irish Tony, (and still does, tirelessly!) and didn't really
know what to make of the place. I saw lots of weird looking
people sitting around and chatting and some of them were asking
me 'How are you today?" I thought "Well, these are
Being young (18) and a bit naive and just starting out in my
drinking career, I thought it very strange that people should
want to sit around and drink coffee! After all, I am Irish,
so for me 'the pub' was a social place where people hung out
and drank alcohol. So, being keen to acquaint myself with what
I knew best, I set off to find 'a pub' in SF. I was disappointed!
You had to be 21 to get served in the US of A! And so I continued
my journey from pub to pub and from country to country -Ireland
to Jersey, Channel Islands, drinking Guinness to champagne and
then on to Greece and the famous 'Raki'!
For me, it took only 10 years for me to have had enough. As
a friend of mine said, "At first it was fun, then fun with
problems and then just problems!" I finally got sober on
12th December 2003 in my hometown in Ireland with a loving group
called 'The Mustard Seed' in County Meath. They took me under
their wing and showed me the '12-Step Program' and how to find
the 'God' of my understanding.
It was at this time that Irish Tony gave me a call and told
me that I was in the right place! Although I didn't think so
at the time! The simple kit of spiritual tools were laid at
my feet and I took them and I remembered those people at the
Dry Dock and then it finally clicked that I was one of them!
I was sent the monthly Newsletter and read it eagerly from wherever
I was and looked forward to the news and advice it gave. I am
delighted to hear that the Marina Dock has been saved and I
look forward to visiting next spring where I hope to meet you
My life today couldn't be more different from the life I used
to lead. I have a wonderful home group; wonderful A.A. friends
and I have just started a great job in a great part of London.
I have been given so much by A.A. I have also managed recently
to kick my nicotine habit so for anyone struggling with that,
you can do it!
agus Beannacht Leat,
(Goodbye and Blessings with you all!)
Thanks for the nice feast last night. Congratulations on your
anniversary. In my travels, I have been to several other Fellowship
Halls and Centers. It is very difficult to run a place like
the Marina Dock. There are so many pitfalls, mostly involving
outside issues. I want to tell you that I think you do a good
job at the Marina Dock. You make it look easy. That is the sign
of someone who is good at their job. It is not easy. I know
Thanks for doing a good job to make a place for all of us to
go to. Good luck on many more years of success at Marina Dock
and in your own sobriety.
Best wishes, Jim H.
I attended my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous in Phoenix,
Arizona in 1973. I did not attend voluntarily, but was required
to. I was doing time in a federal facility and just 25 years
old. It was a speaker discussion, and the format was the same
as we use today. The speaker reminded me of the character that
played the Big Chief in the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's
Nest". He was Native American and stood about 6'5"
and weighed about 250 lbs. He had the look of a battle scarred
prize fighter. His eyes were clear, his hair was clean and shiny,
his clothes were clean. He shared his experience, strength and
hope with us. His story was amazing to me. He talked about what
it was like, what happened, and how his life had changed as
the result of A.A. and the 12 Steps. Upon being discharged from
that institution, I spent the next 6 years in a half-way house
where I stayed clean and sober without A.A.
I attended my next meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous 22 years
later at the Marina Dock. At the time it was called the Dry
Dock, which seemed appropriate, as I was badly damaged physically
and emotionally and in desperate need of help. That was November,
1995. My best friend brought me to a noon meeting. I became
a Member and kept coming back. At the time my ex-wife had been
diagnosed with breast cancer and we had a major landslide behind
our home during the wet winter of 1995. I was paralyzed with
self-centered fear and totally dependent on alcohol. I couldn't
stop drinking. I was "powerless" & my life was
I kept coming back every day. I had a sponsor but didn't work
the steps. I drank and used again. You all welcomed me back
with open arms. A second relapse & an attempt to end my
life brought me to my knees. You welcomed me back again and
told me you'd love me until I could love myself. I got another
sponsor and worked the steps. My life began to change. I kept
coming back. I attempted to practice the principles in all my
affairs. I started working with other men. I kept coming back.
The faces changed but the message remained the same. The Dry
Dock became the Marina Dock. I began to develop close friends
who understood and spoke my language. You shared and continue
to share your experience, strength and hope with me at the amazing
club called the Marina Dock, in the most beautiful city (in
my opinion) in the world.
you! Bill I.
Stroll Down Sobriety Lane
Several weeks ago while speaking in San Rafael, I was approached
by a lovely stranger named Cathy who asked if I would be willing
to speak at a meeting for her. After finding out it was on a
Friday night at 5:30 in the City at the "Marina Dock".
I reluctantly consented. I live in the East Bay now and Friday
night traffic into the City can test one's serenity! I was taught
early on never to say "no" to an AA request and I'm
a firm believer in karma! I'm not sure what part of my program
is keeping me sober so I keep on doing what has been working
all these 24 hours later.
I had left the City in 1993 and had not been back to the Marina
Dock since I moved out of town. It was wonderful coming into
the "Dry Dock" (as I will always know it as) to see
familiar faces and to know that that refuge was still available
to people in recovery. I was shocked to find out how close you
were to losing that space.
The Dry Dock was very important to me in my early years of sobriety.
The Monday night 7:00pm woman's meeting was my home group. I
was told to" stick with the winners" and it was here
that I made friends with women still sober today and whom I
still keep in contact with. We called ourselves "the Divas"
and affectionately called the Monday night meeting the "Hag
Group!" Many of us did not have family to spend the holidays
with and it was here that we would come to spend Thanksgiving
and Christmas Day and catch a meeting. It was such a comfort
to know that almost anytime of day or night you could pop into
the Dry Dock and find another alcoholic to talk to. I am so
grateful for all the hard work that
has gone into keeping the Marina Dock vibrant and alive.
The Promises have come true for me. I am sober 18 years and
A.A. is still my priority. I was always a "city girl"
and now I am a soccer mom living in the burbs with a sober husband,
child and Golden Retriever. God has a great sense of humour!
I have moved 3 times in sobriety and am grateful that my foundation
for my recovery began in San Francisco. I will always have a
special place in my heart for the friends that helped keep me
sober and for having an A.A. hangout like the Dry Dock.
heard the great news about the Dock! We can all breath easier
knowing that we have stability; the Dock will be here in the
future. Words cannot adequately express my/our appreciation
for your tireless effort in this regard. People have been wondering
where you have been of late - I knew. The work that you and
others put in takes hours and days and is/can be very stressful.
It was great to see you the other day - it must be nice to finally
be able to hang around the Dock, see friends and maybe relax
a little. All of us in the Program try to do God's work but
there are occasionally angels put amongst us -such as you.
in service, Marty
For information, please
call or email us:
In the meantime, it
is "business as usual," and we need your support-
50% of our income is from contributions and memberships. Thank
you in advance for your donations.
Anthony T. Murray "Irish Tony"