Are you an Addict?

Only you can answer this question. For most of us who have admitted defeat, the answer is very clear. Yes, we had a problem, and no, we couldn’t fix the problem by ourselves. No one in Crystal Meth Anonymous will tell you whether you’re an addict or not. Our Third Tradition states, "The only requirement for CMA membership is a desire to stop using." We determine for ourselves whether or not we are an addict. Some of us knew we were addicts before we entered the program, and some of us weren’t sure but knew we wanted to do something about our problem with crystal meth. Visit our "Are You An Addict" page to learn whether you might be an addict.

What are the Twelve Steps?

The Twelve Steps are a set of principles designed to produce a spiritual awakening. The Steps promote actions that help us to achieve and maintain sobriety. They offer a plan for recovery that helps repair the damage our addiction to crystal meth has caused. The Steps guide us in new ways of living to create a fulfilling life in recovery. Staying clean is our primary goal. When our actions are consistent with our principles, we can have inner peace and can embody honesty and serenity.

Why “One Day at a Time?”

The idea of never using crystal meth again was impossible for most of 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, so 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. Staying in the here and now makes sobriety possible. Yesterday is gone; we cannot say what tomorrow will bring. For these reasons we say that we stay sober one day at a time.

frequently asked questions

Below are common questions folks have about Crystal Meth Anonymous meetings, fellowship, phone lists and more. Just click on the question to reveal the answer below. If don't find your question listed, or you've read all the answers and still have questions, we invite you to attend an open meeting of CMA.

What happens at a CMA meeting?

There are different formats and topics for meetings—some focus on specific issues or important themes in recovery—but all of our meetings have one thing in common: We will always find recovering crystal meth addicts there, talking about what using crystal meth did to their minds and bodies, how they got and stayed clean, and how they are living their lives today.

What do I do at a CMA meeting?

Often nothing feels more uncomfortable than trying something for the first time, especially if we don't know what's expected of us. CMA meetings have a basic structure and are led by a Secretary (or chairperson). After the readings, they will ask for newcomers or those attending for the first time to identify themselves by first name only. This is not done to embarrass anyone, but does allow us to get to know you better. Typically, you would say "Hi, my name is _____ and I'm an addict." 

You can also just say your name—whatever makes you feel comfortable. Sometimes listening is the best thing you can do. We look forward to welcoming you. 

Click here to find a meeting near you, or online.

Am I a Crystal Meth Addict?

Only you can answer that question. No one in Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) will tell you whether you’re an addict or not. Some of us knew we were addicts before we entered the program, and some of us weren’t sure but knew we wanted to do something about our problem with crystal meth.

Ask yourself these questions:

If you answered yes to any of these, you might be an addict. If you’re not sure, we suggest you come to a CMA meeting. Anyone who has a desire to stop using crystal meth is welcome. 

Visit the Are You an Addict page to learn more.

What exactly is crystal meth anyway?

Crystal methamphetamine is an addictive psycho-stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It can be made using different chemicals, many of them quite caustic, dangerous, and destructive to the environment.

Is using Crystal meth harmful?

We know from personal experience that using crystal meth can be dangerous. Many of us have suffered serious consequences. Some of us have ended up in emergency rooms, psychiatric wards, or jails. Many of us became paranoid, hearing voices and believing we were being watched by the authorities or persecuted by other people. Some of us experienced lowered inhibitions which led to careless and irresponsible behavior. Others have experienced fatigue, weight loss or wasting, heart and lung problem problems, skin abscesses, insomnia, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, and brain injuries.

 how can CMA help me with my problem?

We are not doctors, therapists, or drug counselors. We understand what it’s like to be addicted to crystal meth because we are recovering addicts. We know how it feels to keep making hollow promises to stop and breaking them again and again. We know what it’s like to suffer as a result of our drug use—financially, socially, romantically, professionally, emotionally, and physically. But by working together with fellow recovering addicts in CMA, we are rebuilding our lives and learning how to stay free from active addiction.

Click here to find a meeting near you, or online.

 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.

Click here to find a meeting near you, or online.

How much does it cost to join CMA?

There are no dues or fees for CMA membership, we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Typically, each CMA meeting passes a collection basket to cover expenses such as rent and literature. Members contribute as much or as little as they wish.

Is CMA a religious Organization?

No. CMA is not allied with any religious organization, though ours is a spiritual program. Most of us believe that our own willpower is not enough; we found a solution to our crystal meth addiction with help from a power greater than ourselves. Each of us defines this power as we wish—some 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 every imaginable belief and non-belief.

What advice would you give to new members?

Here are a few suggestions that worked for many of us in the early days of recovery:

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.

Click here to find a meeting near you, or online.

What if there are no CMA meetings near me?

Sadly, this does happen, but there are several online meetings within the Northern California district. At the top of our Meetings page, we spotlight three online meetings, including one in Spanish. The CMA Online Nooner is held every day at 12:00 pm PT, and the California Coastal Virtual CMA meeting is held every evening at 8:00 pm PT. Both of these meetings are "open" which means they are open to anyone with a desire to stop using. Visit our Meetings page to learn more. 

If you would still like to find an established in-person meeting near you, many of us get a lot out of attending other fellowships—they all use the same Steps. 

You might even consider starting a meeting in your area. For suggestions on how to start a CMA meeting, visit our Start A Meeting page.

What are the Twelve Steps?

The Twelve Steps of Crystal Meth Anonymous are a set of principles designed to guide us to a more honest way of living and help us repair the damage caused by our addiction to crystal meth. Working the Steps, we learn how to lead fulfilling, sober lives.

Click here to learn more about the 12 Steps of CMA.

How Does CMA work?

Like other Twelve Step fellowships, CMA’s approach to recovery consists of three basic components:

Click here to find a meeting near you, or online.

How is CMA different from other 12-step fellowships?

We find we relate best to other crystal meth addicts because they understand the darkness, paranoia, and compulsions that go along with 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 the experiences of members of other Twelve Step groups. The hyper-extended duration 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 helps us to keep coming back. After all, who but another crystal meth addict understands the insanity that accompanies the high or the seemingly bottomless drop into depression that makes us desperate to use still more?

Click here to learn more on our What is CMA page.

What about relapse?

We experienced great relief when, in time, the desire to use crystal meth was lifted. We know it is easier to stay clean than to get clean. Relapse never has to happen, but when it does it is crucial for us to be rigorously honest about our use and in any self-examination that follows. We return to meetings immediately, call friends in the fellowship, and discuss our obsession to use. We try to step away from the familiar patterns and torments of our addiction. We accept what happened without being embarrassed. CMA members welcome us back, listen, and often make helpful suggestions. We then redouble our efforts in recovery.

Relapse does not have to be a part of your story.
If you 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 part of our path to recovery.
Maybe we weren't convinced that we were addicts. Maybe we hadn’t effectively worked the First Step where "We admitted that we were powerless over crystal meth and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

It is easier to stay clean than to get clean.
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.
We can uncover what elements may have been missing from our program. We suggest rigorous honesty and returning to meetings immediately.

If you feel that you may relapse, we suggest that you reach out.
Call someone, get to a meeting, raise your hand, and discuss the urge to use.

Click here to find a meeting near you, or online.

What is a Sponsor?

A sponsor is someone in the program with some recovery time—usually a year or more—who helps guide you through the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of the CMA program. He or she can be the best friend you have in the program. 

One suggestion: BE HONEST WITH YOUR SPONSOR! You may be surprised at the peace you feel. Sometimes, you try a temporary sponsor to see if working together is right for the both of you.

How Do I find a Sponsor?

When you raise your hand to share at a meeting, that is a great opportunity to let the group know that you are looking for a sponsor. Many meetings have a dedicated service position called a "Newcomer Liaison" who can help answer questions or connect you with sponsorship.  

Listen to the shares from the floor. Often times you will hear something in a person's share that sparks a thought, or piques your interest. Speak to them after the meeting. 

Many meetings maintain a phone list with the names and contact information of folks who are available to sponsor.

What is A phone list? And what do I say to these people?

Just call or text to say hello, or to check in. It can be awkward or uncomfortable at first since many of us spent hours isolating. Talking with others in recovery helps us rebuild our social skills. You can share support, seek suggestions or make a commitment to meet for coffee. 

A phone list is a tool that gives us a way to connect with each other outside of meetings.

Click here to find a meeting near you, or online.

How do I get a phone list anyhow?

Many meetings maintain a phone list with a list of names of folks who are available to chat about recovery. If a meeting has a phone list, one of the trusted servants—usually a "Phone List Coordinator"—makes an announcement about the phone list, how to get a copy, and how to put your name on a list. If no announcement is made, you can always ask the secretary of the meeting for guidance. 

Click here to find a meeting near you, or online.

Why doesn’t anyone talk directly to other people during a meeting or respond to them?

We call that “cross talk,” and we discourage it. We want a safe environment where addicts can express frustration, sadness or difficulty coping with sobriety without being judged. 

If you feel that you want to share feedback, or advice, or praise, consider doing so after the meeting. As a good rule of thumb, it's best to ask the member if they are open to feedback or discussing what they shared.

What if I feel I really have nothing in common with some of you?

More than likely you may be sitting next to someone very different from yourself. You don’t share the same career, interests or go to the same gym. Try listening when they speak and you will hear the same struggles, fears and hopes that you may be experiencing. We are a diverse group of crystal meth addicts.

What about alcohol and other drugs?

Many of us struggled with the suggestion that we should give up alcohol or other drugs along with crystal meth. For some of us, other drugs can be a gateway to using crystal meth. Dangerous rationalizations “But I am not an alcoholic,” or “A joint every now and then won’t hurt” can lead down the path of addiction once again. After a few drinks we may find ourselves looking for crystal meth and entering the cycle of addiction all over again.

The first step in recovery is to admit that we are addicts. Even if we are not addicted to other 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 if Those Twelve Steps FREAK me out?

They seem like a huge final exam when you first read them. They are suggestions on your approach to your recovery. Working on them will depend on where you are in recovery and your own pace. Some of us waited for months while we absorbed other aspects of the program. May of us started right away.

Click here to find a meeting near you, or online.

What if I have partied with or even had sex with some of the people I see at a meeting?

It really is a small world, isn’t it? It is not uncommon for us to run across people in the meetings that we knew before recovery. Chances are, you are both different people than you were before. Take heart that you are both seeking recovery. If you feel that you are experiencing “triggering” thoughts or actions, then keep some distance for a while. They will understand.

What if This “God” thing is a problem for me?

The "god" or "higher power" that we talk about can mean anything you want it to mean. You can interpret what these terms mean to you. Your sponsor will help you navigate this in the course of step work. 

Often people start with the "Group Of Drug addicts" because together the group is stronger than the individual addict. What you call it or how you define it isn't as important as the relationship to someone, something, or some group that has the power to help you overcome your addiction. With the higher power we grow towards as we work the 12 Steps of CMA, many recovering addicts find they are never completely on their own.

What about All these slogans I hear?

They may sound trite or trivial at first, but they soon start making sense. Hearing “easy does it,” “keep coming back,” "it works if you work it," or “one day at a time” might sound strange at first. In time, you will begin to recognize the importance of all of them and soon you will be using them.

What’s do they mean when they say “fellowship after the meeting?”

Sometimes fellowship is the few minutes outside where we chat and say hi to the friends that we have made. It's also an opportunity to speak with someone directly, or ask a fellow member about sponsorship. 

We also make impromptu plans for coffee or grab some food somewhere together. Some meetings have a place across the street from the meeting and gather there every week. So, just hang around or ask.

After the “Closing Prayer,” what is that phrase that I hear?

Keep coming back! It works!

How do I deal with a friend or loved one who is using?

CMA is a Fellowship of addicts who support each other in getting and staying sober. There are family support groups available as well. We have compiled that information and some helpful suggestions on our For Family & Friends page.