Dr. Bob’s Farewell Address at the 1950 International Convention

Dr. Bob's Farewell Address at the 1950 International Convention

AA’s First International Convention in 1950 marked several of AA’s most significant historical moments. For example, this is when the AA Traditions were officially adopted. The theme of the convention was “We’ve Come of Age.” Dr. Bob, who had been suffering from cancer and spent most of his time in bed, was able to make a brief appearance and deliver what turned out to be his farewell address.

A Tribute to Dr. Bob

How we were spared from professionalism, wealth, and extensive property management; how we finally came up with the book Alcoholics Anonymous is a story by itself. But in this critical period it was Dr. Bob’s prudent counsel which so often restrained us from rash ventures that might have retarded us for years, perhaps ruined us for good. Nor can we ever forget the devotion of Dr. Bob and Jim S.(who passed away last summer) as they gathered stories for the AA Book, three-fifths of them coming from Akron alone. Dr. Bob’s special fortitude and wisdom were prime factors in that time so much characterized by doubt, and finally by grave decision.

How much we may rejoice that Anne and Dr. Bob lived to see the lamp lit at Akron carried into every corner of the earth; that they doubtless realized millions might someday pass under the ever-widening arch whose keystone they so gallantly helped carve. Yet, being so humble as they were, I’m sure they never quite guessed what a heritage they left us, nor how beautifully their appointed task has been completed. All they needed to do was finished. It was even reserved for Dr. Bob to see AA come of age as, for the last time, he spoke to 7000 of us at Cleveland, July, 1950.

-Bill Wilson January 1951 Grapevine

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