The Marina Dock Newsletter September
Dear Marina Dock Members
As we go to press an ongoing natural disaster of apocalyptic
proportions is wreaking havoc on the Gulf States of Mississippi,
Alabama, and Louisiana. Our hearts go out to the victims in
that region for their unprecedented grief and loss. It is heartwarming
to see how many countries, many of whom don't always see eye-to-eye
with us politically, are reaching out and offering assistance.
Disasters of this magnitude always seem to bring out the best,
even in the worst of us. Tragedy and loss seems to reinforce
the inherent need in all of us to reach out and help others
in their hour of need. This reaction seems to be an irrepressible
core human value that transcends cultural and racial differences.
For those of us who have had our own personal encounters with
loss and powerlessness, we know from our own experience, that
over time things will get better, and the human spirit will
triumph. In the words of one of Mississippi's favorite sons,
"I believe that man will not merely endure. He will prevail.
He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an
inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable
of compassion, sacrifice and endurance." William
We all live in the
same world and no matter how immediate or pressing our own personal
problems seem, they pale by comparison when we contemplate disasters
of this magnitude. We don't live in a vacuum, being sober is
to be alive; we experience the capacity to feel pain and joy.
Now is a time for reaching out to our fellow citizens, and in
whatever small way we can, ease their pain and suffering. I
am sure many of our Southern brothers and sisters in the recovery
community would appreciate, right now, an email or phone call,
just to let them know we are there for them, that we care. I
fondly remember my visit to New Orleans in May
of 2002 and wrote the piece further on about my visit.
Our coffee, by the
way, is by all accounts pretty good - comparable or better than
anything else available around the City, and it is available
from 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and on
Friday and Saturday nights, it is available until 1:30 a.m.
We're open longer hours than Tully's, Starbucks,
A RENEWED APPRECIATION
My weekend trip to
New Orleans was my first time out of the City in about seven
years. Before this, my idea of the Deep South was Millbrae,
San Carlos, Burlingame and Redwood City. New Orleans is definitely
interesting, well worth visiting, and I'm glad I made the trip.
What I got from my
trip was a renewed appreciation for something I had taken for
granted for many years: having 12-Step meetings in abundance
daily, and not having to ride public transport for several miles
in order to find a meeting.
MEETINGS LARGE AND
are good" is the refrain; it's just "that some are
better than others". For a lot of us, including myself,
that somehow translates into "good" if it is a well-attended
meeting and "not good" if the meeting is small (a
small meeting being a dozen people or less). All of the meetings
I attended in New Orleans were great meetings and all of them
were, in terms of number, around fifteen people or less but
were considered "big" meetings by New Orleans' standards.
What this experience
did for me was to make me take another look at the smaller meetings
at the Marina Dock through a totally different lens and realize
that the smaller meetings, usually mid-morning and early afternoon,
were absolutely vital for those of us who work irregular hours
and cannot make early morning or evening meetings.
MARINA DOCK BUILDING
MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!
THERE IS A GOD! The Sellers of the building have accepted our
offer! If this isn't proof of God, I don't know what is! Our
effort to save the building was of Herculean dimensions - involving
the commitment of many talented individuals who pooled their
financial and intellectual resources so that the Marina Dock
could continue the good work it has being doing at this location
for almost twenty years.
If there was ever any question about what the Marina Dock means
to so many people, it has been unequivocally put to rest. Stay
tuned! More to follow on this subject as we prepare for the
next 20 years of carrying the message.
To all of you who have helped in this
effort, "thank you" from the bottom of our hearts.
We are confident that all the individuals who rely on us daily
also sincerely thank you!
I would also like to thank everyone
who contributed last month - without your monthly support nothing
is possible "one day at a time." We are continuing
to offer our discounted memberships. Please ask at the desk
about our yearly and monthly membership fees, or check online
"First you take
a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes
you." F .Scott Fitzgerald, 1896-1940.
Almost every month
someone sends us a letter of Marina Dock appreciation. Here
is one in response to last month's newsletter. We welcome input,
especially stories from our readers which are recovery related.
I am writing
a letter to you, as a testimony to the unique recovery effort
that The Marina Dock represents, based on my own experience.
The Marina Dock,
first and foremost is the only recovery center I have come
across that offers a complete one-stop place for all twelve-step
programs available. An example is a recent Saturday: I was
able to attend four twelve-step meetings in a six-hour period
(5 p.m.-11 p.m.), three A.A., one N.A. I did not have to travel
across town, look for parking, and lose time. All the meetings
met a particular need and subject of recovery.
I first began
to attend meetings at The Marina Dock in 2003. Faced with
four Federal felony counts incurred while I was under the
influence, in March, 2003, I began a journey of attending
daily A.A. meetings. The Marina Dock offered not only a marvelous
assortment of A.A. meetings, but other support groups as well:
A.C.A., C.O.D.A., N.A., and more. Add to that the luxury of
being able to lounge in the Marina Dock foyer, with snacks
and beverages, and engage in lively recovery-related conversations
with a variety of people from all walks of life, many of them
with multiple years of sobriety. The end result was that I
received a sentence of four months in prison instead of ten
years, based on my recovery and support system, primarily
A.A. meetings at The Dock, and the Veteran's programs. I was
able to amass twenty-eight months+ of clean and sober time.
I ended up working
for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a cemetery groundskeeper.
A good friend of mine has an eighteen year old son who, this
past year has embarked on major research into alcohol, marijuana,
and luxury drugs like ecstasy. I suggested to the young man
to consider A.A. meetings as a way to have a complete research
viewpoint. His response was that A.A. was for 'old drunks'
(although he avoided saying "like you").
I was able to
present him with the August 2005 copy of the Marina Dock News.
The headline article described the new demographics of A.A.
as a younger crowd ages 23-33. He was impressed and agreed
to consider the facts. His parents have been divorced for
ten years plus. His mother and he have decided to attend ACA
meetings as a start. This is a wonderful example of how the
Marina Dock is of service to the entire community, including
non-alcoholics, whom our hats are off to!
Today I keep
it simple, doing what's in front of me. I don't take that
first drink; I am working the steps (to the best of my ability)
with a sponsor. I attend meetings daily, I take time out for
prayer and meditation, I count my blessings and I am grateful
for what I have.
FRANK BRENNAN, JULY
Sometimes I believe
he is still hovering around somewhere in my vicinity. Every
once in a while when the meeting room door opens, and we are
greeted with that initial flurry of chatter and laughter from
the emerging group, I expect to see his image surrounded by
a bevy of admirers as he makes his way to the social room to
introduce me to some newcomer he has just befriended. He had
no time for formality or decorum; he just got right in there
and did what he did best; he was an "in your face"
kind of guy when it came to carrying the message. He would be
very happy to know some very grateful individuals have come
forward and bought the building so that we can remain at 2118
Greenwich Street. It's a time to remember those who paved the
way for us, and in their own inimitable way, made everything
I have today, possible. "May his shadow never grow less."
In closing, I would
like to again thank all the wonderful people who made the latest
miracle possible. The challenge of everyday operational expenses
remains unchanged however, and will probably increase, understandably
so, as ownership costs increase. The Marina Dock needs your
monthly support. If you'd like to know more about the future
of the Marina Dock and how you can help with additional expenses,
please feel free to contact me at:
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"