On January 25th, 1915, Robert Holbrook Smith(Dr. Bob) married Anne Robinson Ripley after 17 years of courtship. At the time of their marriage, Dr. Bob had been sober for one year and perhaps that was the assurance that Anne needed before going through with a wedding. Dr. Bob began to drink again shortly after their wedding and continued to struggle with alcoholism until taking his last drink on June 10, 1935. He remained sober for 15 years until his passing on November 16, 1950.
They could have hardly imagined the impact that they would have on the world for the generations ahead. Dr. Bob to become a cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 and Anne to later be known as “The Mother of AA”.
Anne contributed greatly to the spiritual foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous and of course to the families. After Anne passed away, AA cofounder Bill Wilson wanted to put together a tribute to Anne and sought out letters from friends. In one of the letters sent to Bill at his request the writer tells the following:
“In the days when no one could afford a hospital, in the days when her own kitchen was a battlefield where with prayer and hot coffee and good fellowship and still more hot coffee, a soul was encouraged to go forth and make a fresh stand against liquor, “because this time you’re not alone” Anne was the chief against despondency and despair. Think back now to those struggling days of 1935. Bill and Dr. Bob and some others would probably tell you that for a time Anne literally was Alcoholics Anonymous. The transition from family group to national organization was in vast degree her accomplishment.”