Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter September 2005

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons,

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 Faulkner, 1897-1962.

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, and Peet's!


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.


"All meetings 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.


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 at

"The Price Was High"

"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.

Wednesday August 31st 2005

Hello Tony!

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.

Peace Brother Tony,

Respectfully submitted,

Timothy S.


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.


With Gratitude,

Anthony T. Murray "Irish Tony"


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