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Anne Ripley Smith – Alcoholics Anonymous – Refresher


Dick B.
© 2008 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Why Bill W. Called Dr. Bob’s Wife Anne the “Mother of A.A.”

Some Revealing and Significant Quotes about Anne Smith

Bill W. said:

Anne was the wife of Dr. Bob, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous. She was, quite literally, the mother of our first group, Akron Number One. Her wise and beautiful counsel to all, her insistence that the spiritual come before anything else, her unwavering support of Dr. Bob in all his works; all these were virtues which watered the uncertain seed that was to become A.A. . . . In the full sense of the word, she was one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Language of the Heart, 353-54.

Lois Wilson (Bill Wilson’s wife) said:

I loved Annie and Bob from the moment I saw them. They were so warm, so gracious, so good. . . . Soon Annie was showing great wisdom in giving help and advice to those who sought it. . . . Annie’s part in the formation of A.A. and consequently in the formation of Al-Anon should never be forgotten, especially by Family Group members. Lois Remembers 96, 173.

Sister Ignatia (Dr. Bob’s assistant at St. ThomasHospital in Akron) said to Dr. Bob:

With the spirit of Christmas alive again, I cannot help but think of Anne and her generous giving of herself in so many ways and to so many people. In the early years of AA here at St. Thomas, Anne meant so much to me. I called her countless times about patients and she had the right answer or soon found it for me. . . . As the years wear away, her influence in the beginning and growth of AA will be appreciated more and more. Darrah, Sister Ignatia: Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous, 131.

Henrietta Dotson (wife of A.A. Number Three Bill Dotson) said:

On Friday, June 28, 1935, I met Anne Smith. . . the most thoughtful, understanding person I have ever known. . . . Bill W. was there at this time. After they talked with me for awhile, Anne asked me if I would like to “go all the way with God.” I told her I would. She said we should kneel, which we all did, and told me to surrender myself to God and ask Him if He had a plan to reveal it to me. Anne taught me to have a “quiet time” in the morning that I might feel near to God and receive strength for the day. . . . Anne taught me to love everyone. . . . Maybe in the early part of 1936, Anne organized a “woman’s group” for wives of alcoholics, whereby in her loving way, she tried to teach us patience, love, and unselfishness. Robert Smith and Sue Windows, Children of the Healer, 42-43.

Robert Ripley Smith (“Smitty,” son of founders Anne and Dr. Bob) said:

As history evolves, there are a very few persons whose quiet, soft-spoken, anonymous activities, whose unfailing faith, whose deep spirituality, have aided in the recovery of millions of desperate human beings. The way that help was given, steadfast love was shown, was so subtle, so unassuming, so void of self-seeking that only a few know of the debt that is owed. Such a person was Anne Ripley Smith, my mother, beloved wife and partner of Dr. Bob, and truly the “mother of A.A.” (Robert R. Smith,  Foreword to Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939, ix.

Key Remarks by Anne Smith in Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939

To those she helped, Anne frequently quoted from 1 John 4:8

            He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is love (Dick B. Anne’s Journal, 4)

About the unmanageable life, and God’s available answer, Anne wrote:

What do you do when you pray? O Lord manage me, for I cannot manage myself. That we are so in touch with the Holy Spirit that he can give us at that moment a message that is accurate and adequate. . . . Surrender is a simple act of will. What do we surrender? Our life. When? At a certain definite moment. How? Oh God, manage me because I cannot manage myself. (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 20)

Explaining a “power greater than ourselves,” Anne wrote:

Paul speaks of a wish toward good, but the power to carry it out is lacking. A stronger power than his was needed. God provided the power through Christ, so that we could find a new kind of relationship with God. Christ gives the power, we appropriate it. It is not anything that we do ourselves; but it is the appropriation of a power that comes from God that saves us from sin and sets us free (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 22)

As to the “Four Absolutes,” Anne wrote:

            Check your life constantly by the four absolutes (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 33)

Concerning the Book of James and confessing faults one to another and praying one for another—the heart of the James 5:16 practice, Anne wrote:

            I must share to be honest with God, myself & others (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 39)

Then, as the importance of Jesus Christ, she said:

Have you a Christ that can rid you of your sins and send you on your way rejoicing? (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 43)

Speaking of conversion, obedience, and the new birth, Anne said:

God is willing to take my past spiritual experience and weld it in a new spiritual experience, God has spoken. The moment I hear and obey His voice and come to the place of complete surrender on every area of my life, is the moment of rebirth, reunion with Christ and a start on a great revival campaign. Rebirth, reunion, revival involves decision, discipline and dare. . . . Surrender involves the explosive experience of a Holy Ghost conversion, the expulsive power of a new affection (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 46)

Coining the expression one day at a time, she wrote:

            Be willing to live a day at a time, an hour at a time (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 51).

Stressing daily Bible study, prayer, overcoming temptation, and service to others, she advised:

Let all your reading be guided. . . . Of course the Bible ought to be the main Source Book of all. No day ought to pass without reading it (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 60)

Start the person on a new life with simple, concrete and definite suggestions, regarding Bible study, prayer, overcoming temptation and service for others (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 78)

Having an experience of God, she explained:

A general experience of God is the first essential, the beginning. We can’t give away what we haven’t got. We must have a genuine contact with God in our present experience. Not an experience of the past, but an experience of the present—actual, genuine. When we have that, witnessing to it is a natural, just as we want to share a beautiful sunset (Dick B., Anne’s Journal, 65)

And there are many many more in Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939!

Study Resources You Will Find Helpful

Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939: A.A.’s Principles of Success, 3rd ed., 1998
http://www.dickb.com/annesm.shtml
Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d ed., 1998
            http://www.dickb.com/Akron.shtml
Dick B., Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots and Successes, 1997
http://www.dickb.com/Turning.shtml
Dick B., When Early AAs Were Cured and Why, 3rd ed., 2006
http://dickb.com/alcoholismcured.shtml
 

 

Robert R. Smith and Sue Smith Windows, Children of the Healer (MN: Hazelden, 1994)
DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 1980)

Gloria Deo

dickb@dickb.com; PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; 808 874 4876
http://www.dickb.com/index.shtml

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
     
 
         
     
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