Dr. Bob's Last Talk

Delivered at the first international conference of
Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, Ohio in 1950

My good friends in AA and of AA. I feel I would be very remiss ifI didn't take this opportunity to welcome you here to Cleveland notonly to this meeting but those that have already transpired. I hopevery much that the presence of so many people and the words that youhave heard will prove an inspiration to you - not only to you, butmay you be able to impart that inspiration to the boys and girls backhome who were not fortunate enough to be able to come. In otherwords, we hope that your visit here has been both enjoyable andprofitable.

I get a big thrill out of looking over a vast sea of faces likethis with a feeling that possibly some small thing that I did anumber of years ago, played an infinitely small part in making thismeeting possible. I also get quite a thrill when I think that we allhad the same problem. We all did the same things. We all get the sameresults in proportion to our zeal and enthusiasm andstick-to-itiveness. If you will pardon the injection of a personalnote at this time, let me say that I have been in bed five of thelast seven months and my strength hasn't returned as I would like, somy remarks of necessity will be very brief.

But there are two or three things that flashed into my mind onwhich it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis; one is thesimplicity of our Program. Let's not louse it all up with Freudiancomplexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind, buthave very little to do with our actual AA work. Our 12 Steps, whensimmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love andservice. We understand what love is and we understand what serviceis. So let's bear those two things in mind.

Let us also remember to guard that erring member - the tongue, andif we must use it, let's use it with kindness and consideration andtolerance.

And one more thing; none of us would be here today if somebodyhadn't taken time to explain things to us, to give us a little pat onthe back, to take us to a meeting or two, to have done numerouslittle kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never getthe degree of smug complacency so that we're not willing to extend orattempt to, that help which has been so beneficial to us, to our lessfortunate brothers. Thank you very much.