Dr Robert Smith, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous
Delivered at the first international conference of Alcoholics Anonymous at Cleveland, Ohio in 1950 —- My good friends in AA and of AA. I feel I would be very remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to welcome you here to Cleveland not only to this meeting but those that have already transpired.
I hope very much that the presence of so many people and the words that you have heard will prove an inspiration to you – not only to you, but may you be able to impart that inspiration to the boys and girls back home who were not fortunate enough to be able to come. In other words, we hope that your visit here has been both enjoyable and profitable.
I get a big thrill out of looking over a vast sea of faces like this with a feeling that possibly some small thing that I did a number of years ago, played an infinitely small part in making this meeting possible.
I also get quite a thrill when I think that we all had the same problem. We all did the same things. We all get the same results in proportion to our zeal and enthusiasm and stick-to-itiveness.
If you will pardon the injection of a personal note at this time, let me say that I have been in bed five of the last seven months and my strength hasn’t returned as I would like, so my remarks of necessity will be very brief.
But there are two or three things that flashed into my mind on which it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis; one is the simplicity of our Program. Let’s not louse it all up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind, but have very little to do with our actual AA work. Our 12 Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love and service. We understand what love is and we understand what service is. So let’s bear those two things in mind.
Let us also remember to guard that erring member – the tongue, and if we must use it, let’s use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance. And one more thing; none of us would be here today if somebody hadn’t taken time to explain things to us, to give us a little pat on the back, to take us to a meeting or two, to have done numerous little kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never get the degree of smug complacency so that we’re not willing to extend or attempt to, that help which has been so beneficial to us, to our less fortunate brothers. Thank you very much.