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.
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.
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".
"No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we can see how our experience can benefit others."