What is Crystal Meth Anonymous?
Crystal Meth Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, so they may
solve their common problem and help others to recover from 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 message of recovery to the crystal meth 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 learned how to lead fulfilling, sober lives.
How does CMA work? Like other Twelve Step fellowships, CMA’s program of 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 program get to know us and provide us with the satisfaction of following through on our promises.
How is CMA different than other Twelve Step programs? 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 Alcoholics Anonymous. We do not believe we are better or worse than those in other Twelve Step programs. 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 programs, but the feeling of identification in the Rooms of CMA has helped us to keep coming back. After all, who but another meth addict understands the insanity that accompanies the high and, finally, that seemingly bottomless drop into depression that makes us desperate to use
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 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 crossaddiction. 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 program, 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
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.
TO THE NEW COMER
The purpose of this pamphlet is to
help answer some of the questions
newcomers may have about recovery
through Crystal Meth Anonymous. This
pamphlet has been written by members
of our fellowship, all of whom have
found recovery through CMA.
What is Crystal Meth Anonymous?
Crystal Meth Anonymous is a fellowship
of men and women who share their
experience, strength and hope with each
other, so they may solve their common
problem and help others to recover from
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 message of recovery to
the crystal meth addict who still suffers.†
Am I an Addict?
Only you can answer that question.
For many of us, the answer was clear.
We could not control our drug use.
Our lives had become unmanageable.
Have you tried to stop using crystal meth
and found that you couldn’t? Do you
find that you can’t control your use
once you start?
If so, you may be suffering from the
disease of addiction. The fellowship of
Crystal Meth Anonymous can help.
Can I Recover?
There is a solution. Our experiences may
differ externally, but internally we believe
they are very much the same.
Many of us that had been arrested, lost
our jobs and the trust of our family and
friends, now lead productive, honest and
purposeful lives. To do so, we place our
sobriety before all else and remain open
to a spiritual life. If you want what we
have, and are willing to go to any lengths
to get it, then you are in the right place.
We encourage you to stay close to the
CMA fellowship and experience recovery
How Can I Stay Sober?
1. Attend meetings and fellowship.
Meetings are where we find the support
of others who are recovering from
crystal meth addiction. We suggest
attending 90 meetings in 90 days in
order to get a better understanding of
how Twelve Step recovery can help you.
2. Get a sponsor and do Step work.
A sponsor is a person in the fellowship
that helps guide us in working the
3. Get involved in service.
One of the best ways to stay sober is to
help others in recovery. Even a person
with only two days sober can help
someone with one day.
What About God?
Crystal Meth Anonymous is a spiritual
program, but we believe our members
can define what spirituality means
What is crucial to recovery is an adherence
to spiritual principles. Among these, there
are three—honesty, open-mindedness and
willingness—that are vital. With these, we
will not be defeated.
Many people in recovery whose lives were
ruined by meth pick up drugs again out
of desperation. We are addicts: We’re
wired for using in good times and bad. If
it should happen to you—if you relapse—
don’t give up! It may feel like the end of
the universe, but it doesn’t have to be. It
can be a new beginning. Please, please
come right back. Relapse doesn’t mean
we will never be able to stay sober. It just
means we need to try again if we really
want to live a life free of active addiction.
Relapse is not a requirement
Though relapse is a reality for some, it doesn’t
have to be a chapter in every recovery story.
We try not to use the excuse of others who slip
and still recover to use once more—especially
because the consequences of a slip can be
devastating. Maybe we find an hour’s relief from
whatever problem chased us out, or a moment
of the old excitement we were craving, but then
it’s just new kinds of hell. The last time you
got high, was it pretty? Some of us in Crystal
Meth Anonymous ended up in a hospital.
Others finished our last run after a police chase,
sporting a pair of shiny bracelets and some new
bruises. Some of us sold our body and soul for
that last high. Still others don’t come back.
If we do relapse and make it back to the rooms,
the best thing we can do for ourselves and
others is pick up a newcomer chip and share our
experience openly. Other addicts will benefit
from our experience. We can remind them
that using never gets any better. Above all, we
should be kind to and forgive ourselves. We
keep coming back until the program sticks, and
we stay. In the fellowship of CMA we find the
support we need to hang on to recovery and
start new lives. Fellow addicts will love us until
we can love ourselves enough to work the Steps
Our experience teaches we never have to use
again. The program of recovery works when we
avoid getting high one day at a time. Sometimes,
we have to take it minute by minute. If we fall
off, we get up and try again! Our recovery is
successful if we work for it. When we work as
hard to stay sober as we did to get loaded, we
will recover. And recovery for us means being
given a new life we never dreamed possible.
How does a relapse happen?
Those of us who don’t relapse stay sober
because we work for it. Are you ready to work
for it? In time, we learn to recognize when we
are in “relapse mode” so we can stay sober in
tough times. We believe a relapse begins long
before we return to using. Most of the time,
before we turn back to crystal, we start with
alcohol or some other drug. This is why CMA
members practice complete abstinence from all
Other signs of slippery thinking: Often we begin
skipping meetings or stop going altogether.
Some addicts start isolating from their
sponsors, friends, and support networks. Others
may return to using because we stop working
the Steps or refuse to work them at all. Difficult
situations may lead us to believe that using is
the only way out of our misery. The common
thread is that the drive for isolation at the core
of our disease begins to disconnect us from the
program and fellowship so vital to our survival.
What can we do if we sincerely wish to stay
sober but still have the desire to use? We get
a sponsor and work the Steps. We practice
the principles of honesty, open-mindedness
and willingness, and we take action. Taking
suggestions from our fellows who stay sober,
we can begin to learn a new way of living.
Remember, CMA is a spiritual program; the
standard relapse prevention tools work only
so well. We greatly increase our chances of
staying sober when we work the Steps, develop
a relationship with a Higher Power of our
understanding, clean up the wreckage of our
past and help others.
Admission and Acceptance
It’s never too soon to get a sponsor and start
working the Steps. We may hear people
suggest that the only Step you work perfectly
is the first one: “We admitted that we were
powerless over crystal meth, and our lives had
become unmanageable.” It’s true. On any day
that we’re truly living this Step, we are more
likely to stay sober.
Why did we come to CMA in the first place?
If we didn’t have someone breathing down
our necks, were court ordered, or have an
intolerable feeling deep inside, we probably
wouldn’t be here. Are we powerless over crystal
meth? Is life unmanageable? If we’re ready to
accept this truth, we admit it every day, one
day at a time, even after we’ve learned to pick
up chips instead of meth. Once we accept this
basic truth about ourselves, we have taken the
first step towards recovery.
There is a solution
Crystal meth used to seem like a good answer to
our problems. Not anymore. We came to CMA
because we finally realized that our drug use
was causing most of our difficulties. So when
the urge to use again becomes strong, we take a
deep breath, reach out for help, and trust in the
better answer we are finding a day at a time in
our fellowship, in the Steps, and in our Higher
Power. We never have to use crystal meth or any
other drug ever again.
Over-the-counter drugs possess risks, especially if they are mind-altering substances.
They can get us high—just as alcohol and other drugs can—becoming new problems with new
consequences and unmanageability. Many of us talk to our sponsors honestly about any and
all chemicals we take, just to be on the safe side.
Clean and Clear
In recovery, we practice a new way of life without drugs and alcohol. Today, many of us
can’t imagine any feelings — good or bad — from which we would have to escape by taking
a drug. We can tolerate discomfort and see what new experiences might be on the other
side of it.
In our active addiction, our lives revolved around drugs: looking for drugs, being high,
coming down from using, “white knuckling” it to stay clean for short periods…. Everything
took a back seat to drugs. Clean and sober, living a program of recovery, this is no longer
the case. Remaining abstinent and working the Twelve Steps, we have a spiritual awakening—
a change in our personalities. The obsession to use is lifted. We find a new freedom and a new
happiness, a life beyond our wildest dreams.
Sponsorship One of the first suggestions offered in CMA is to get a sponsor. Just what is a sponsor? How do we get a sponsor, use a sponsor and be a sponsor?
What is a sponsor? An addict who has made some progress in 12-Step recovery and shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis, with another addict who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety. Sponsorship responsibility is a basic part of the CMA approach to recovery from addiction through the 12 Steps.
What does a sponsor do? There is no single best way to sponsor. All members are free to approach sponsorship as their own personalities may suggest, using their own individual experiences. A sponsor is a person who:
• Can often relate to the situation and care
• Leads by example, focusing on humility,
responsibility, anonymity, honesty, and
• Provides a guide through the 12 steps,
• Encourages the sponsee to attend meetings,
find a home group, get a service
commitment, and attend service events.
• Encourages work with other addicts.
• Makes suggestions to help the sponsee live by
the principles of the program
• Introduces recovery literature
• Notes progress that the sponsee may not be
able to see
• Helps the sponsee identify character defects
How to get a sponsor All we had to do was ask. Some of us asked CMA members whose recovery we admired. Some of us asked our friends in CMA to recommend someone. Others asked for help getting a sponsor when we shared at meetings. Some meetings have
Sponsorship Coordinators or Matchmakers who could help us.
hen we got the courage to ask for help, we usually got a positive response. Many of us were told “yes, I’d be happy to” right away. Some of us were invited to meet and discuss it to see if it seemed like a good match. Sometimes someone agreed to be an “Interim Sponsor,” sponsoring us for the short-term or to try it out.
How to choose a sponsor When we
were at meetings, we listened to what people said. We looked for people who had something we wanted. We looked for people whose recovery we respected, who demonstrated the principles of the program in their day-to-day lives. A potential sponsor’s continuing ability to live a sober, happy, productive life was self-evident. Many of us picked sponsors whose experience was similar to our own. It helped us relate to them. Some of us picked people with experiences that differed from our own. Both ways worked. A sponsor is like a “safari guide” that we choose to lead us through territory that is new for us but familiar to them. We will inescapably be exposed to the personality of our guide, as part of the process. Agreement with personalities and opinions is not essential to recovery, but acceptance of the principles of the program is indispensable. It was suggested to us that we not pick anyone to whom we had a strong sexual attraction. Such attractions can get in the way of recovery, complicating the honest sharing between sponsor and sponsee.
Who can be a sponsor? We suggest
that sponsors have a working knowledge of the 12 Steps and personal experiences dealing with life in recovery. We discussed this matter with our sponsors. When to get a sponsor It is never too soon or too late to get a sponsor. Many of us got sponsors right away. Some of us needed to take time to decide who we wanted to ask. Some of
us resisted getting a sponsor. Looking back on it, that made our early recovery more difficult. It has been proven through our experience that working with a sponsor makes recovery easier. While we looked for sponsors, we were sometimes approached by people offering to sponsor us. Sometimes we said yes, but didn’t have to accept an offer that didn’t feel right. Sponsorship does not have to be a life-long relationship. Many of us began with an interim sponsor until we found someone available for a more permanent relationship. Some of us changed sponsors if it wasn’t working.
How sponsorship works CMA is based on the value of people who share a common problem helping each other. With our sponsors, we began to believe that we could do together what we could not do alone. Our sponsors were our hotlines. We called them when something triggered us to think about using, or when unpleasant memories came up that used to send us to dealers, bars, or the Internet. Our sponsors identified with our feelings and gave us hope that, in spite of how we felt, we did not have to use. Our sponsors acted as sounding boards when we had to make decisions. We found it a good idea to discuss major decisions with our sponsors, not so they could make the decision for us, but so they could share their own similar experiences. Sponsors unfamiliar with a particular dilemma often directed us to someone else in the fellowship who has had related experiences. Our sponsors made suggestions based on their own experience. Our sponsors sometimes gave us advice. We tried to be willing to accept the help being offered. Sponsors help not only when times are confusing or tough but also when things are going well. Success and hope are also shared with a sponsor. By simply sharing we find unconditional love, selfless giving, patience, tolerance, honesty and trust in this crucial relationship.
What about God?
The question here is what do you think about God? What’s your definition? God the Mother, God the Father? A Universal Force? Or do you not believe in God at all? Not sure? It is ok! This is not a religious program. CMA suggests we develop a relationship with a power greater than ourselves. This power is of your own understanding, or misunderstanding–it can be anything you choose, provided it makes sense to you. Your conception of a Higher Power is just that, yours.
Something had to change
Almost none of us came to CMA looking to find God. We came to CMA because we wanted to stop using meth, because we had a sincere desire for our lives to get better, or for a thousand other reasons. For far too long crystal was a power greater than ourselves. It dictated when we got up, when we passed out, and everything we did in between. Speed was our master… The fact of the matter is we really were no stranger to a Higher Power. Now something had to change. Whether we were court ordered, sent by our family and friends, or sick and tired of being sick and wired, we came to CMA because we could not quit on our own. Soon after arriving in the fellowship we began to realize the thing that needed to change was us.
For most of us, CMA was our last resort. Our willpower hadn’t been enough. Our own resources had been insufficient. We felt doomed to a life of active addiction without some outside help. Fortunately, CMA and its solution were there for us. In the First Step, we admitted we couldn’t stop using on our own; we were powerless to do so. We could no longer bear the unmanageability of our using lives. We needed a power greater than ourselves—something stronger than our addiction—to get clean. In the fellowship of CMA this power is often called Higher Power, God of our understanding or God. The most important thing is that your Higher Power can work in your life.
We came to believe Try to keep an open mind. There are probably as many concepts of a Higher Power as there are people in CMA. Some of us already had a clear idea of our spirituality when we came to CMA or began to re-explore the God we grew up with. Others decided to personalize a version of God they could relate to more easily. For others, God was not a being, but a spiritual concept: a force or the system that underlies the universe. Your Higher Power could be a concept such as love, hope, faith or compassion, or as many of us found, an unsuspected inner resource. Making your Higher Power the CMA fellowship, a Twelve Step Program, principles, the meetings, and your fellows works too. Another useful approach is thinking of God as Good Orderly Direction or a Group Of Drug addicts.
Some of us called our Higher Power God and others did not. Some of us didn’t worry about defining it. Others were uncertain and worried that the program wouldn’t work if we were unsure about all this God stuff. But even if all we could say was, “Supreme Whatever, I’m not going to make it without some power greater than myself!” that was enough for a good start. As long as we were willing to accept the aid of some kind of Higher Power, we could recover.
When we were ready to accept direction things began to change. Once we started we began to see the importance of having this “Power greater than ourselves” guide us in this new direction. We started to see and feel the effects of this Higher Power in many areas of our lives. There is no right or wrong answer and the items we found valuable was an open mind and a willingness to grow in understanding. All that we needed to make a beginning was to remain willing.
While it is common to start out thinking of the CMA group and our fellows as our Higher Power, many of us found we eventually needed more than that. We wanted a Higher Power that could be with us all the time: when we couldn’t get to a meeting, when our sponsor was out of town, or when we couldn’t reach others in the fellowship. Many of us found our Higher Power had to become something greater than a specific person, group, or situation. Allowing your concept of a Higher Power to be vague, uncertain, and flexible may be necessary. Some of us found our concept of our Higher Power changed as we grew in recovery.
What if I don’t believe in God?
The word “God” is used six times in the Twelve Steps of CMA. For many this was not a problem. However, some of us had negative experiences with organized religion, or we had images of a harsh, judgmental, and punishing God. Even some of us had decided that there was no such thing as God at all. But all of us found that if we kept an open mind, we were able to find a “God of our understanding” that helped us in sobriety. Even those committed atheists or agnostics found they too could fit in. Not believing in a God need not be a problem. People of every imaginable belief or non-belief happily coexist in CMA.
We admit it sounds a little strange to say that the “God of our understanding” may be “No God at all”, but atheists have done just that, and achieved and maintained sobriety.
Is CMA a religious organization?
No, CMA is not a religious organization. There are no set religious beliefs to which members must subscribe. No beliefs of any kind are required. Even the Twelve Steps are only suggestions. People of all beliefs are equal members in the fellowship of CMA and have achieved sobriety. It is important to remember this: We didn’t necessarily come to CMA to find religion. We came to this fellowship because we could relate to others who were also addicted to speed and who had found a way out of that obsessive cycle of addiction. We have found replacing that old master speed with a kinder, gentler Higher Power gives us the freedom to learn and grow in our recovery.
A few suggestions for newcomers
• Remember that CMA is a spiritual,
not a religious, fellowship.
• Try to keep an open mind.
• Find others with whom you can talk
• Find a Higher Power that suits you.
• Use the group as your Higher Power if that helps.
• Don’t worry if you are uncertain.
Meditation is encouraged
throughout our CMA literature. Our Twelve Step program specifically states, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a God of our understanding, praying only for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.” In fact, each of our Twelve Steps gives us an opportunity to practice meditation.
Why do we meditate?
It has often been said that prayer is asking our Higher Power for help, and meditation is listening for the answer. We meditate to create inner-peace and serenity whether we are trying to connect to our spiritual side or simply seeking to work toward resolving an issue.
The point of meditation is not to try to change ourselves into someone else. Rather, meditation gives us complete acceptance of ourselves. We become an unconditional friend to ourselves. We get a simple and direct relationship with the way we are. Meditation lets us know that we are worthy; we each have merit. Quiet meditation creates a greater sense of purpose and inner strength as we face our day. Meditation often moves us toward more acceptance and compassion toward ourselves and others. We have found that time spent in an effort to increase our sense of self-worth, to simply relax or to capture a moment of peace, can be its own reward.
As addicts, we were used to seeking immediate gratification. In contrast, meditation often does not make us feel better immediately but may yield long-term rewards of personal growth. We find that meditation helps to reduce the intensity and frequency of negative emotions and increases feelings of caring, compassion and love. Through meditation and our Twelve Step Program, we have learned how to quit reliving past events and instead focus on attempting to understand our Higher Power’s will for us.
When do we start to meditate?
Our members found meditation benefited us from the early days of our sobriety. We began
meditating right away. Addicts who may be full of confusion, self-hate, depression, resentment, inflated ego, fear or other character defects have a great place to start. Meditation is for anyone seeking to heal through spiritual growth.
How do we meditate?
Meditation is practiced in many different ways. There is no one right way to meditate. We accept imperfection in our meditation practices. We understand that we are on a journey.
However we choose to meditate, the object is to replace the chatter in our head, to quiet the mind and body, and to enter into a deep and restful state. We dispel the chaos and confusion of the day and create peaceful isolation from the material world until a sense of unity with our spiritual essence can be achieved. Many of us who were new to meditation first looked to our sponsors for suggestions on how
Some of us prefer to have a leader direct us through meditation. Others prefer to be alone. Some practice meditation by focusing on a candle, object or their breathing as they quiet the mind and relax the body. Some chant a mantra or hum a single tone. Some concentrate on a prayer. Some focus on a daily meditative reading. Others focus on a glowing light within their minds, Visualization gives us the ability to focus more acutely and to channel our thoughts for longer periods of time.
In meditating on each of the Twelve Steps, many of us focused on the underlying principles. For example, we focus on the principle of courage when meditating on Step Four.
Other suggestions to help us in practicing meditation are fearlessly reflecting on ourselves, not focusing on others, mindfully staying in the present and unconditionally accepting our thought, our emotions and our bodies.
A meditation practice example.
We can meditate wherever we find peace and quiet. Some of us sit. Others prefer to lie on their backs. No matter what position we choose, we should not select a position in which we feel distracting pain.
As we relax, we focus on our breathing. We inhale clean air through our noses and exhale the toxins of the day. We breathe and relax. We shake off the day by wiggling our arms, fingers, legs and toes. We take one last stretch and we relax.
We breathe and relax each part of the body. We allow ourselves to enjoy this deep relaxation as we enter into an even deeper meditative state.
By being grateful, we become receptive. We thank our Higher Power for all the good things in our lives and all the things that make us stronger. There is nothing bad in our lives – it is either good or it is a lesson from which we can learn. We see that we have everything that we need. Our goal is a sense of serenity and happiness.
At this point, we might simply enjoy this state of mind. We allow ourselves to be receptive to any thoughts we may have. We can focus on a solution to something that may be troubling us. We trust that our Higher Power will guide us.
The rewards of meditation.
Meditating at night may allow us to drift quietly to sleep. When we meditate in the morning, we can start our day connected to our Higher Power and face the world with a positive attitude. Throughout the day, meditation calms us and guides us to the next right action or thought when we face indecision or doubts. The rewards of a clean and sober life can be greatly enhanced by reinforcing our spiritual growth through meditation.
THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF THE
SEVEN TH TRADITION
When we were using, many of us paid for our addiction with our dignity and self-respect. In recovery, we don’t have to live that way anymore. By keeping Crystal Meth Anonymous self-supporting, we help make sure CMA will be there for those in need of recovery. Many members whose lives are being restored by working a program express their gratitude by giving back to the fellowship. Most of us were dependent on others during our using and only looked to see what we could take from life. In our selfish pursuits, we lost our integrity and gained nothing. Through observing the Seventh Tradition, we learn to take responsibility for ourselves and, therefore, grow in our recovery.
Why is CMA self-supporting?
The primary purpose of CMA is to carry the message of recovery
to the crystal meth addict who still suffers. The Seventh Tradition reminds us that we decline outside contributions. In this way, we remain independent of outside groups, such as hospitals, institutions or religious organizations We strive to be ethical and honest in our sobriety. Remaining self-supporting helps us to maintain our integrity and supports our recovery. There are no dues or fees for CMA membership, but we have expenses. During meetings, a basket is usually passed so that, on a voluntary basis, members may donate money to cover a group’s expenses. No one is required to make a contribution to be a member of CMA; the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.
What is the money for?
Group expenses may include such things as rent, chips, literature, and refreshments. Paying rent is generally a meeting’s first priority, ensuring us a safe space to recover. Most groups keep a “prudent reserve,” a sum of money often equal to three month’s of expenses. This protects the group against unexpected changes. After a group has met its prudent reserve, it is suggested that the group contribute to their local service structures and the General Service Organization. Each meeting allocates its Seventh Tradition money as it chooses; however, our experience shows that keeping large sums of money can be very dangerous for a group, as it may distract from its primary purpose.
Why give to the GSO ?
The GSO has expenses. For example, the organization prints recovery literature and operates a telephone hotline and Website. These are only some of the essential services supported by local donations. The concept of area-level giving is important to the GSO. Each area’s contributions help the GSO provide services to meetings worldwide.
How much is enough?
CMA is not a traditional organization. We do not seek to make a profit or have large reserves of money. We need enough money to pay our expenses, so when the newcomer needs a meeting; there is a room in which to meet, a telephone number to call, literature to read and a chip to encourage. If a group is unable to pay its rent, it may decide to pass the basket a second time. Each member of the fellowship decides how much he or she will put in the basket. No CMA member is ever required to make a contribution. It is generally suggested that newcomers buy literature before making a donation. How can an individual meeting donate? Once a group’s basic expenses have been met, such as rent, literature, chips and refreshments, and a prudent reserve has been set aside, we suggest the group consider donating its remaining money as follows: Groups in areas with 3 levels of service structure may do well to donate 50% to their Local District or Local Intergroup; 30% to their Local Area and 20% to the CMA General Services Organization. Groups in areas with 2 levels of service structure may donate 75% to their Local Area or Intergroup and 25% to the CMA General Services Organization. Groups in areas with 1 level of service structure may donate 100% to the CMA General Services Organization.
Why do we decline outside
We may find ourselves in
situations where significant sums of money are needed, and a donation from a nonmember may be attractive. We find it is in the best interest of the fellowship to decline these donations, as they may come with strings attached. Our fellowship is about saving lives. An outside donation can invite controversy. Our Twelve Step work is too important to risk this. In accepting money from an outside source, we risk divisiveness, loss of integrity, and spiritual bankruptcy. In keeping our fellowship self-supporting, we protect our recovery from outside influence. We ensure the autonomy we need to carry the message. In meeting our own needs, we make a break from dependence, and this has a profound spiritual meaning for us.
Is your group self-supporting through its own