The Twelve Steps of A.A. and the Journal of Dr. Bob’s Wife
Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Anne Ripley Smith, Wife of Dr. Bob
Key Teachings in “Anne Smith’s Journal”
The best source of information about Anne Ripley Smith, wife of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Dr. Bob can be found in Dick B. Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939: A.A.’s Principles of Success, 3rd ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1998); ISBN 1-885803-24-9.
And see http://www.dickb.com/annesm.shtml.
Other helpful materials about Anne can be found in Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous (www.dickb.com/Akron.shtml); The James Club and The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials (www.dickb.com/JamesClub.shtml); The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous (www.dickb.com/Oxford.shtml); Turning Point: A History of the Spiritual Roots and Successes of A.A. (www.dickb.com/Turning.shtml); and Twelve Steps for You (www.dickb.com/12StepsforYou.shtml).
Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939: Teachings by Dr. Bob’s Wife
This 64 plus pages of written material by Anne Smith was obtained by me from General Service Archives in New York by permission of the Trustees Archives Committee, upon the recommendation of A.A. GSO Archivist Frank Mauser, Nell Wing, and Sue Smith Windows, daughter of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith. Some parts are difficult to read. Some were typed up
by Sue Windows for her mother. Some were duplicate pages. And some have long been missing.
Anne began recording her teachings (from the Bible, the Oxford Group, and the Christian literature she read) in her journal in 1933 and continued until 1939 when Wilson’s Big Book was published.
Anne was an ardent Bible student. She had been a school teacher. And she attended the big Oxford Group meeting in Akron in 1933. She and Dr. Bob attended Oxford Group meetings in Akron until the founding of A.A. Group Akron Number One in 1935. At that time, Anne began holding Quiet Time meetings early in the morning at the Smith Home. Alcoholics and their families attended these meetings. Anne began these Quiet Time meetings with prayer, then read the Bible, then led group prayer and seeking God’s guidance, then conducted topical discussion from her journal, and on the Bible, and on subjects in devotionals like the Upper Room.
There is so much material packed into Anne’s Journal that closely resembles the contents of Bill Wilson’s Twelve Steps of 1939 that it is both possible and likely that Anne shared the journal teachings with Bill and Bob in the Smith Home during the summer of 1935. In fact, Dr. Bob’s daughter Sue Smith Windows often wrote about her mother’s journal and said that Bill and Lois picked it up in Akron at the time of Dr. Bob’s death and took it with them.
And, on my visit to Stepping Stones about 20 years ago, I found a binder containing her journal and titled “Annie’s” notes with a copy of Soul Surgery and some Shoemaker sermons stuffed in the back.
Anne’s Teachings on Step Subjects—What She Taught about Steps 1 to 4 subjects.
And notice the frequency of Anne’s mention of Jesus Christ, of phrases that later became easily observed in Bill Wilson’s writings, of Bible verses, and of Jesus’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7).
Step One: (1) “What do you do when you pray? O Lord manage me, for I cannot manage myself.” (2) “Surrender is an act of will.”
Step Two: (1) “Paul speaks of a wish toward good, but 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 us 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.” (2) “2nd step. To get in right relationship with God.”
Step Three: (1) “Try to bring a person to a decision to “surrender as much of himself as he knows to as much of God as he knows.” Stay with him until he makes a decision and says it aloud.” (2) “Surrender is a complete handing over of our wills to God, a reckless abandon of ourselves, all that we have, all that we think that we are, everything we hold dear, to God to do what he likes with.”
Step Four: (1) “Why are people so afraid to face their deepest problems? Because they think there is no answer. When they learn there is one, they will believe it can work out for them, and they will be really honest about themselves. . . . It is absolutely necessary to face people with the moral test.” (2) “It’s not self-examination but God’s examination.” (3) “Who checks another checks himself. If I have an urge to check because of personal feelings, I am not seeing in light of Christ’s love. Criticism born of my own projection. Something wrong in me. Unless I can crystallize the criticism, I had better look for mote in my eye” [See Matthew 7:1-5] (4) “Basis of an interview. Is a challenge on the four standards. . . . Make a list. Help them to make a list of things. . . . Am I ready to write then down and willing?” (5) “Why I had been absolutely honest but not living.” (6) “Resentments to be faced and set right.” (8) “Restitution to be made.” (9) “Follow Christ’s absolute commandment” [to love] (9) “Emotion—anger, irritability, envy, jealously, hurt feelings, self-pity.” (9) “Fears—of inefficiency, incompetence, failing powers of application and success… of infection, or serious illness…and of your secret self, of discouragement, and public speaking” (10) “Fear and worry are atheism.” (11) “Telling a lie.”