Alcoholics Anonymous History In Your Area
10th Anniversary Of The Founding Of AA In Cuba
This is an excerpt of an email from a friend of p2’s who was part of the group that brought the first AA meeting to Cuba 10 years ago. Arkie and his wife just returned from the 10th Anniversary of that first AA meeting in Cuba.
We just returned a few hours ago from taking part in a magnificent event — the 3-day celebration, in Holguin, Cuba, of the 10th anniversary of the founding of AA in Cuba. I went with my wife, Ruth, and Bruce K. from San Francisco, the guy who rounded up seven of us in the first place to go to Havana in Jan. 1993.
This visit was quite an eye-opener. From our first meeting on 1/18/93 with six Cuban alcoholics, all of whom subsequently went out and drank, there are now 160 groups throughout the country and an estimated 3,000 active AA members. Full general service structure with a staffed office in Havana, trustees, districts, areas; central offices in all the larger cities, the works! 400 members attended the 3-day event in Holguin. An unbelievably moving experience.
During the all-day sessions at the 10th Anniversary event in Holguin, Cuba, last Saturday, a Cuban woman rounded up my wife, the other American woman with us, and around twenty other Cuban women, and said, “C’mon, let’s have a meeting of just us women!” They went into a part of the big church where the conference was being held and shooed out a bunch of guys, then they spent over 3 hours in what turned out to be Cuba’s very first women’s AA meeting!
Ruth tells me that during the meeting, two of those present came out as gay, saying that it was the first time in their lives they had felt comfortable talking about it in a group of any kind. One of them had mentioned it once in an AA meeting and was pretty much scolded by the men present. Cuba is what Americans would consider quite “backward” when it comes to issues of gender and sexual orientation. Based on previous experience, I have a feeling that women-only AA meetings may take hold in Cuba.
Sort of on the same subject, we were invited to a private home that night by a friend of the oldest AA in Cuba (ten years), who said “We’ve killed a large pig and want you to come help us eat it.” Who could turn down such an invitation <G>? When we arrived, said porker was duly spread-eagled on a large table, perfectly roasted and delicious, and we shared it with a couple of dozen Cuban AAs. One of them was Matica, the first woman to get sober in AA in Cuba, whom I had met in a hospital in Havana in June of 1993, and who claimed I was the first person she had ever met who was alcoholic and talked to her on an equal basis! Wow, what a feeling!
For those who erroneously think Cuba represses religion, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Holguin gave the official inaugural welcome to the event, stating, in a fairly long and passionate address, that not only is AA an example of true democracy in action, but also an example of how Cuba should not reject new concepts just because they come from supposedly “alien” (i.e., yanqui) sources.
From the AA History Lovers web site–a great source for AA History