Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other, so that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from the addiction to crystal meth. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using. There are no dues or fees for CMA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. CMA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, and neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to lead a sober life and carry the mesage of recovery to the crystal meth addict who still suffers.
The History of CMA
In 1994, the founder of CMA–Bill C., a recovering crystal meth addict 16 years sober in A.A.–observed a growing number of other crystal meth addicts attending various twelve-step meetings in Los Angeles. Bill recalled that many of the secretaries of these meetings did not like the shares of the crystal meth addicts and were therefore reluctant to call on them in meetings. Bill maintained that there ought to be a place for these people to share.
Though the program of recovery as outlined in the Twelve Steps would clearly work for crystal meth addicts, the other meetings’ singleness of purpose meant that many who exclusively used crystal felt uncomfortable participating fully in these meetings and fellowships. Bill believed that these people would benefit from a special-purpose meeting for those recovering from addiction to crystal meth. From this idea the fellowship of Crystal Meth Anonymous
Attended by 13 people, the first meeting of Crystal Meth Anonymous was held September 16th, 1994, @ 9:45 pm at the West Hollywood Alcohol and Drug Center in West Hollywood, California. The speaker at that meeting was Don N. (who, by no coincidence, returned as the keynote speaker fourteen years later at CMA’s first General Services Conference at Park City, Utah).
Many of those original members who attended that first meeting–Nina, Eli, Pete, Michael, Rick and others–are still clean and sober and remain active in the fellowship as of 2009. Members of that meeting quickly started other meetings, and within a few months there were meetings daily in Los Angeles.
The early CMA meetings based their readings and program of recovery on that of AA and also of NA. Members of the fellowship worked the Steps, referring to literature and materials borrowed from AA, NA and CA. To this day such diversity has endured in the fellowship nationwide, as members refer to the experience embodied in the literature of other fellowships for guidance on working their program of recovery.
Members of CMA in Los Angeles started meetings in San Francisco and San Diego. Meetings also sprang up in Salt Lake City, New York City and Phoenix in 1998. By 2001, CMA meetings had begun in Atlanta, Georgia, and soon thereafter meetings followed in many other parts of the country.
Crystal Meth Anonymous, Inc.
In 1997, the seven Los Angeles meetings formed a committee and began the process of legal incorporation as a California non-profit corporation. Aware that these seven meetings could not claim spiritual authority to speak on behalf of the meetings developing throughout the country, they called this committee the General Services Committee (rather than World Services). They also developed a new-meeting packet to help people start CMA meetings in other parts of the country. Initially sent via postal mail upon a written or phoned request, then made available for online download the fellowship began to grow explosively.
In 2002, the IRS extended tax exempt status to Crystal Meth Anonymous, Inc., as a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation. With the recognition of CMA’s non-profit status, the original general services group in Los Angeles began seeking ways to open the collective voice of the fellowship to participation from groups worldwide. An advisory committee, the “Structural Reorganization Committee”, formed to study the service structures of other fellowships, contacts groups around the country for their input, and eventually proposes that CMA’s bylaws be changed and a new service structure be developed.
In an effort to align CMA’s GSC with the diversity and reach of the fellowship, a complete revision of CMA’s bylaws began in 2004, culminating in ratification in February 2006. Significantly, these bylaws endowed CMA with a Board of Trustees comprised of members of the fellowship from around the country.
The Fellowship of CMA Grows
In October of 2008, nearly 200 delegates, trustees, committee members and members of the fellowship gathered in Park City, Utah, for the first General Service Conference. A conference charter was ratified. The 12 Concepts for CMA World Service were adopted. Many issues were brought to discussion, and many found resolution. One memorable example follows:
For the past few years a discussion existed: “Is CMA a fellowship or a program?” At the first General Service Conference, the following statement was adopted; “The Fellowship of Crystal Meth Anonymous works a Twelve Step program of recovery. We have not felt the need to elaborate in great detail a specific CMA approach to the Twelve Steps: too many other excellent outlines already exist for following these spiritual principles. But our experience has shown that without the Steps we could not stay sober.”
As of the writing of this manual, this General Service web site lists approximately 500 meetings in 41 states and provinces in 3 countries.
The fellowship is currently preparing for the third General Service Conference to be held in March, 2011, in Phoenix, AZ.
- What are the Twelve Steps?
The Twelve Steps of CMA are a set of principles designed to produce a spiritual awakening. Including prayer and meditation, the Steps guided us to a more honest way of living and helped us to repair the damage caused by our addiction to crystal meth. By working the Steps, we learned how to lead fulfulling, sober lives.
Please click HERE for a list of the 12 Steps.
- How is CMA different from other Twelve Step fellowships?
We have found that we relate best to other crystal meth addicts because they understand the darkness, paranoia, and compulsions of this particular addiction. The Twelve Steps of CMA were adopted from Alcoholics Anonymous. We do not believe we are better or worse than those in other Twelve Step fellowships. At the same time, many of us fail to fully identify with a “falling-down drunk” or in the case of a heroin addict, a “nodding-off junkie”. The hyper-extended length and intensity of crystal meth’s effects, be it compulsive cleaning or sexual activity, were unique. Many of us have attended other Twelve Step meetings, but the feeling or identification in the rooms of CMA have helped us to keep coming back. After all, who but another meth addict understands the insanity that accompanies the high, and finally, the seemingly bottomless drop into depression that makes us desperate to use more?
- What about alcohol and other drugs?
Many of us struggled with the suggestion that we should give up alcohol and all other drugs along with crystal meth. For some of us, alcohol and other drugs can be a gateway to using crystal meth. Dangerous statements such as “But I’m not an alcoholic” or “A joint every now and then won’t hurt” can lead us down the path of addiction once again. After a few drinks we may find ourselves looking for crystal meth and entering the addictive cycle again.
The first step in recovery is to admit that we are addicts. Even if we are not addicted to other specific drugs, medical evidence tells us our addiction can easily transfer to other substances or behaviors. This is called “cross-addiction,” and our experience shows us it is a very real danger.
- What about relapse prevention?
We experienced great relief when, in time, the desire to use crystal meth was lifted. We know that is is easier to stay clean than it is to get clean. Relapse never had to happen, but if it did, it was crucial for us to be rigorously honest about our using, and in any self-examination that followed. We returned to a meeting immediately, called friends in the fellowship, and discussed our obsession to use. We did not risk being further caught in the familiar patterns and torment of our addiction. We tried to accept our mistake without being embarassed, and CMA members welcomed us back, listened, and often made helpful suggestions as we redoubled our efforts in recovery.
Relapse doesn’t have to be a part of our program. If we sincerely want to stay clean, the program makes it possible for us to not use drugs again – one day at a time.
For some of us, relapse has been a part of our path. We may not have been convinced we were addicts, and therefore hadn’t effectively worked the First Step: “We admitted that we were powerless over crystal meth and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Using again starts the cycle of craving. It is important to quickly break the pattern of relapse. If we do relapse, we can learn from our mistakes, uncovering what elements may have been missing in our program.
If you feel you may relapse we suggest you reach out. Call someone from the program, get to a meeting and discuss the urge to use.