"Our Primary Purpose is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety."
Our online convention to celebrate “30 years of AA in Romania” was a wonderful and inspiring success. We had over 200 people join us during our two speaker meetings from 18 different countries. We also had a special guest speaker, Jenny P, a friend of Bill and daughter of Jan P who first carried the message of AA into Romania during communism. Jenny's impactful sharing showed all of us in recovery the risks and lengths her father went to in carrying our messages of hope to suffering alcoholics here in Romania. Her sharing also prompted us to deepen our historical realization that our message of freedom from the bondage of alcoholism knows no boundaries.
AA in Romania officially began in 1991, after the fall of communism. However, during the brutal regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu, Jan and Fran of Spokane, Washington, in 1984, secretly started Group One and put down the groundwork that evolved into today’s celebration of AA’s official arrival in Romania 30 years ago. The article below seems as if it rolls off the screen of a Hollywood writer, yet it is true. Fran was a visiting professor from the United States and so, his family was under constant surveilance. The government erased their AA tapes and confiscated their AA literature. Their apartment was bugged and they were followed through the streets of Romania. Once, Fran was dragged off a train and interrogated. Although one could be arrested for just talking about AA, Fran never set aside his commitment to helping alcoholics in need of a AA's solution. Jan and Fran's presence in Romania remains Epic, extending from hearts joined in Love and Service and a visceral, life-giving belief in the Primary Purpose of AA.
“My wife and I lived in Romania during 1984-1985, and during all that time--quietly, to avoid the attention of a distrustful government--the two of us met together as AA Group Number One.” (Excerpt from "Grupa Una"). Link to full Article Below
Grupa Una (Group One)
The AA Grapevine, July, 1990
Other Grapevine articles by Jan P:
The AA Grapevine, December, 1985
The AA Grapevine, December, 1994
Copywrite by The AA Grapevine, Inc. Articles are made available here with permission.
Fran P on YouTube: Service Above All. “I was just an agent. I was just like a telephone wire between the People of AA and Rodica” (Rodica was Romanian AA Member #1)
Fran P on YouTube: Sobriety is Genuinely, Truly a Gift. "Our initial sobriety is a little tiny window in life…” Fran shares how it is our primary purpose to do what we can to keep windows open and not interfere with the light of the Higher Power and how gratitude for the miracle of our fellowship is a pathway to new life.
Bill W, said: “The Big Book should always be representative of the membership.” In the spirit of that suggestion, Fran P. led the development of the 4th edition of the Big Book, keeping the first 164 pages intact and adding new stories that were indeed "representative of AA’s ever-growing, evolving membership".
On Page 164 of Alcoholics Anonymous ("The Big Book"), it states that as you move forward in our 12 Step program of recovery, “You Will Trudge the Road of Happy Destiny". This may seem like a contradiction. It is not! How do we reconcile “trudge” with “happy destiny”? What our co-founder, Bill W, is clear about is this: We have to do the necessary work to be liberated from the ravages of alcoholism. “We must clear away the wreckage of the past” or else we will never find our level footing or move in a new direction. Our meetings, literature and fellowship give us insight and light for this journey. We discover that the vitality in our slogan , “you can’t keep it unless you give it away”, points toward broader pathways for our new lives in recovery. Helping other Alcoholics is just as important as helping ourselves. Here, our trudging finds new meaning because our lives will expand and move away from the isolation we find ourselves in. Gradually, we connect with humanity and the world around us as we begin and stay on "The Happy Road of Destiny".
We are a small group of English speaking members of AA from different places in the world living in Bucharest, Romania. We work together to establish the Principles and Traditions of AA in our lives and in our groups. We welcome newcomers and visitors from the global AA community to attend our 2 weekly meetings. We believe that recovery is a One-Day-At-A-Time experience. Our experiences have confirmed to generations of AA members that “rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path"
Video: Bill W and his First Step:
Our Co-Founder Bill W. tells about his final days drinking and the discovery of Hope. His wife, Lois, Founder of Al-Anon is with him. Filmed at their home, Stepping Stones, in Katonah, New York. (1950).
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we can see how our experience can benefit others.