Alcoholics Anonymous & “The Mother of A.A.”
Anne Ripley Smith, Wife of Dr. Bob

Dick B.
© 2010 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Part Three: Key Teachings in “Anne Smith’s Journal” on Steps 5 – 9 Materials


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

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 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 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 opened them with prayer, then read the Bible, then led group prayer and seeking God’s guidance, and 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 in 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.

Anne’s Teachings on Step Subjects—What She Taught about Steps 5- 9 Subjects

Step Five: (1) “Confess your faults one to another. Sharing is having your life at God’s disposal.” (2) “Honest sharing issues in action.” (3) “There is no adequate presentation of Christ without sharing our own sins.” (4) “As we take down walls, we begin to give ourselves to others.” (5) “The only answer to jealousy is to own up to it.” (6) “Kinds of Sharing. . . . Sharing for release (confession).” (7) “There is nothing in our lives that we are not willing to share. It is the quality
of willingness.” (8) “Share specifically, uncomfortably so.” (9) “Pray before you share, quietly.” (10) “Share your life completely with one person at a time, so that there is nothing that you have not shared with someone at some time.” (11) “Dangers of sharing: “Is it uncomfortable? Is it dangerous to me, or my reputation, or to Christ? The world is full of witness as to the dangers of not sharing. . . . The only danger really is when people live a half truth and begin to compromise.” (12) “Sharing in relationship to the Gospel: Mathew 3:6 Sins Confessed. Mark 1:5 Sins Confessed. . . James 5:16 Share ‘My Life’. Not confess ye one another’s sins.” (13) “Sharing: All sharing must be redemptive. Being honest to God, self and other people . . . Sharing burns out the pride of self.” (14) “James—Confess your faults one to another 5:16 & pray one for another that ye may be healed.” (15) “I must share to be honest with God, myself & others.”

Step Six: (1) “Conviction. . . . Stay with him until he makes a decision and says it out loud.” (2) “Many people go into tirades about sin in the national life, but refuse to deal with it in their own life.” (3) “Lives depend on our openness to do.” (4) “Obedience is one of the key-words of the Christian life. Refusal to obey blocks the channel, and prevents further word from God.” (5) “Barriers to a full surrender. “Is there anything I won’t give up? Is there any apology I won’t make?” (6) “Be willing to ask God where I am failing and to admit sin.” (7) “Look out for denials, protests, self-justification, evasions, undue emotions.” (8) “The next step is the Cross. Get them to the place where they appropriate it. Get them to face up to the thing that is their cross in life. Pray aloud with them. . . . It is not enough to surrender sin, but we must also claim the victory of the resurrection life. It is God that does it. Nothing you can do is of any use.” (9) “Have you a Christ that can rid you of your sins and send you on your way rejoicing.?” (10) “What is it that gives you the ability to make a right diagnosis? The fact that you have had a deep conviction yourself. . . If this is to happen, men have to have free minds, and to smash old modes of thought and points of view which have been built up on a rigid interpretation of the Bible. The Holy Spirit is ready to dictate a perfect plan.” (11) “A small sense of sin means a small sense of Christ. The closer you get to Christ, the more sensitive you become to sin. The whiter the cloth, the more easily it is stained.” (12) “Is there anything in us which block’s God’s work. . . . Marginal areas of discipline must be so clear that you don’t come within a mile of temptation.” (13) “It is because we have ignored sin in our presentation of the Gospel that the message of the Gospel has lost it sting and blasting power. Our first need is an emetic, not a narcotic.” (14) “Complete surrender brings us to the point where the most trivial of incidents will witness to the love of God. You can’t surrender sin if you won’t admit it. . . . The issue is to run away or surrender. Surrender to Christ or criticize the group. The welling up of criticism is the externalization of more sin.”

Step Seven: (1) “Conversion. This is the turning to God, the decision, the surrender. (2) A maximum experience of Jesus Christ leads to a radical change in personal life, bringing about a selfless relationship to people about one, which is a challenge to those we come in contact with.” (3) “God is willing to take my past spiritual experience and weld it into a new spiritual experience.” (4) “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.” (5) “Christ only can remove them and replace with a new quality of life. Read Romans 12.” (6) “Face the truth. Do not pretend you can go on lifting yourself by your own boot straps. In all humility to God, “What would thou have me to do? I am wrong Father. You know better than I, you have more wisdom, show me the way.’

Step Eight and Nine: (1) “Any restitution I won’t make?” (2) “Resentments to be faced and set right.” (3) “Restitution to be made.” (4) “Help them make a list of things.” (5) “Restitution. In the matter of restitution, international retraction should be made by a positive, public statement equal in scope to the amount of damage done.” (6) “God can make me willing in the day of His power.” (7) “This involves and enterprises discipleship under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, running up our colors, and helping others to run up theirs.”;

Gloria Deo

Author's Bio: 

Writer, Historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and an active and recovered A.A. member with over 24 years of continuous sobriety. Author of 39 published titles and over 400 published articles on the history and biblical roots of Alcoholics Anonymous