Frequently Asked Questions
What is Crystal Meth Anonymous?
CMA has a simple message: Recovery from meth addiction is possible. You never have to use again. And you don’t have to recover alone.
We are Crystal Meth Anonymous. Together we practice the Twelve Steps as a new way to live, free from crystal meth use. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using. There are no dues or fees. We share our experience, strength, and hope to help each other stay clean and sober, one day at a time. Through our actions and service, we carry the message of recovery to the addict who still suffers.
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 learn how to lead fulfilling, sober lives.
How does CMA work?
Like other Twelve Step fellowships, CMA's approach to recovery consists of three basic components:
1) Meetings and fellowship
We attend meetings regularly to learn how others have stayed sober and to find support in our efforts to cope with fear, loneliness, grief or other emotions that might overwhelm us from time to time. After a meeting, we often go out as a group for dinner or coffee. At fellowship, we discuss the ideas we have just heard and get to know other members on a more personal level. Our experience has shown that daily attendance of Twelve Step meetings and fellowship are among the most effective ways to stay sober.
2) Sponsorship and step work
A sponsor is another recovering addict whom we choose to offer us guidance in working the Twelve Steps of CMA. They also share with us how they have stayed sober and make suggestions to help us stay sober as well. Sponsors do not tell us what to do; the choices we make in recovery are ours alone.
3) Service and commitments
We strengthen our sobriety by helping other addicts. We volunteer to do service. For example, we agree to make coffee, stock recovery literature, keep a group's finances, or stand by the door to offer a warm hello to a newcomer. These commitments keep us attending meetings regularly, help others in the fellowship get to know us and provide us with the satisfaction of following through on our promises.
How is CMA different than 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 adapted from the literature of 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, are unique. Many of us have attended other Twelve Step meetings, but the feeling of identification in the 'rooms' of CMA has helped us to keep coming back. After all, who but another crystal meth addict understands the insanity that accompanies the high and, finally, that seemingly bottomless drop into depression that makes us desperate to use still more?
What about alcohol and other drugs?
Many of us struggled with the suggestion that we give up alcohol and other unprescribed drugs, along with crystal meth. The first step in our recovery was for us to admit that we were addicts. We came to understand that our addictive behavior could easily be transferred to other substances. Physicians, psychologists and other professionals familiar with the treatment of our disease refer to this as cross-addiction. This is a very real danger. Further, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol or other drugs have often led us right back to crystal meth. For some of us, it took time, but for most it happened fairly quickly: our innocent escape to the neighborhood bar sent us back to our crystal meth dealers in search of our drug of choice. It is important for us to remember that alcohol is a drug, period.
What about relapse prevention?
We experienced great relief when, in time, the desire to use crystal meth was lifted. We know that it is easier to stay clean than to get clean. Relapse never had to happen, but when it did, it was crucial for us to be rigorously honest about our using and in any self-examination that followed. We returned to meetings 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 embarrassed. CMA members welcomed us back, listened and often made helpful suggestions as we redoubled our efforts in recovery.
Why one day at a time?
The idea of never using crystal meth again was impossible for us to comprehend. In early recovery, we were encouraged to make a commitment each day, not to use, just for that day. This pledge was still too much for some of us. In these instances, we promised ourselves something along these lines: "I won't use crystal meth, just for the next hour." This helped us to stay in the here and now and not to get caught up in what might be. For these reasons, we say we stay sober one day at a time.
Am I a crystal meth addict?
Only you can answer that question. No one in CMA will tell you whether you're an addict. Some of us knew we were addicts when we entered the program, and some of us weren't sure. But we all wanted to do something about our problem with crystal meth. Ask yourself these questions:
Have you tried to stop or reduce your crystal use and failed?
Is crystal making you feel depressed or hopeless?
Are you using more crystal: greater amounts or more often?
Are you missing work, social commitments, and family obligations due to your crystal use?
Are you spending more money on crystal than you would like?
Do you regret things you do while using?
If you answered yes to any of these, you might be an addict. If you are not sure, we suggest you come to a meeting. Anyone who has a desire to stop using crystal meth is welcome.
How do I join CMA?
The only requirement for membership in CMA is a desire to stop using crystal meth and all other mind-altering substances. Basically, you're a member of CMA when you say you are. It's that simple.
How much does it cost to join CMA?
There are no dues or fees for CMA membership. Typically, each CMA meeting passes a collection basket to cover expenses such as rent and literature. Members are free to contribute as much or as little as they wish.
Is CMA a religious organization?
No. CMA is not allied with any religious organization, but most of us found that our own willpower was not enough. We found a solution to our crystal meth addiction through a power greater than ourselves. Everyone is free to define this power as he or she wishes. Some people call it God. Others think of it as the CMA group itself, the forces of the universe, or the laws of nature. Some people don't give it much thought at all and still recover. In CMA, there is room for many kinds of belief and non-belief.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Here are a few things that worked for many of us in the early days of recovery:
We stayed away from the people, places, and things that we associated with our crystal meth use. We avoided seeing people who were still actively using, even if we considered them friends. Some of us changed our telephone numbers to avoid calls from using buddies or dealers. We changed internet screen names and identities to avoid triggering messages and e-mails. Some of us needed to stay away from the internet or home computers. We avoided any place where there was crystal meth use.
We attended CMA meetings regularly – every day, if possible. Some of us went to more than one meeting a day if we needed to. At meetings, we found the support and friendship of people who were struggling with the same problem we were. We had an opportunity to talk about what was going on with us right at the moment.
We exchanged phone numbers with people we saw at meetings. We called even if we felt shy or awkward when doing so. If we felt like "picking-up" crystal meth, we picked up the phone instead and reached out to a fellow recovering addict. Most people were happy to listen and share their own experience.
We found a sponsor. A sponsor is another recovering addict who offers guidance and support in a one-on-one relationship. When we started coming to CMA, people at meetings were there to respond to our questions, but that wasn’t always enough. Issues came up between meetings, and many of us found we needed close support as we began to live a life free of active addiction. Our sponsors gave us that support.
These are only suggestions. They are the actions we took to help us make it through the difficult days of early recovery. We know from our own experience that they work. We believe that by taking these same actions you too can begin to recover from addiction and start rebuilding your life.