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Audio Version

Christmas 2016 will be my 36th unbroken sober Christmas. I'm just another miracle of AA. The first 7 words in Step One stopped me drinking. The last 7 words in Step Twelve have allowed me to stay stopped. I believe that newcomers need to hear how long members have been sober. They need to hear that long-term sobriety is possible and that it isn't just 'a flash in the pan'.

Let me run through my pre-AA CV with you. I promise you that it won't take long. School was a failure. Work was a failure. Relationships were failures. Crime was a failure. There, I promised you that it wouldn't take long.

When I came to in that police cell the morning following my last drunk, I came to in more ways than one. I knew at long last that booze was the problem. That was a change in thought and attitude. Following my release on bail from the Magistrates Court I went to a phone box and called AA. That was another change in thought and attitude. The guy on the other end of the phone asked me if I wanted to stop drinking and I said yes. Another change in thought and attitude. He then asked me if I wanted to stop now and I said yes. Another change in thought and attitude. He told me where there was a meeting that evening and I made my way there. Another change in thought and attitude. At that meeting I said that my name is Kevin and I am an alcoholic. A huge change in thought and attitude. One of the guys at that meeting offered me a lift home and I went to bed that night without having had a drink that day and that was on 25 May 1981 and I haven't taken another drink of alcohol since.

The Big Book tells me that: "The stopping of drinking is but the beginning of a lifetime process" and that is my experience to date. The book also says: "There is a great deal of fun about it all" and that: "We aren't a glum lot, if newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence they wouldn't want it, we therefore insist on enjoying life". Wow! I never thought that my life would be fun but it has been and continues to be.

This Christmas I will spend at home with my young daughter. I just love to watch her unwrap her presents and see her wonderful smile spread across her face. She is the biggest joy in my life. She was my late Christmas present in 2003 coming into the world the first week in January 2004. To be present at her birth and to be walking around with her in my arms just minutes later made sense out of what is meant by: "We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which

used to baffle us. We will suddenly realise that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves".

If ever there was a Christmas message for mankind then it is to be found in the Promises contained on pages 83/84 of the Big Book. It is the greatest message of hope that I have ever come across. Rejoice! I wish everyone in AA a truly Happy Christmas.