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The Literature Committee always welcomes submissions from fellows relating their experience, strength and hope. These personal stories will be published as collections for the benefit of the entire fellowship. Please contribute your own experience with the Steps and life in sobriety by clicking below:


Practicing the Principles

These addicts share their spiritual awakening through practicing the 12 Steps of CMA

All the King’s Horses

Our fellow addict describes the life-shattering effects of his addiction, and his path to healing through the Twelve Step program and fellowship of CMA. Along the way he finds integrity, authenticity, and redemption.

“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” So says the old English nursery rhyme. My story has a different ending than Humpty Dumpty’s. Crystal meth shattered my life, and thanks to the program and fellowship of Crystal Meth Anonymous, my life has been put back together again.

I already led a double life before crystal meth. As a shameful closeted gay man, I dared not reveal my secrets to my family, friends, and coworkers. As the son of Holocaust survivors, great expectations were placed on me, and I did my very best to meet these expectations. I was a successful doctor, married a nice Jewish girl, and gave my parents the grandchild they wanted. At the same time, I couldn’t deny myself the clandestine, anonymous sex with men that I craved. I thought I had the solution to my predicament: leading two separate lives and making everyone happy, including myself. Eventually the lies and deception became too much to handle, and my solution stopped working.

I began my drug and alcohol use when I was 15. It wasn’t until decades later that I tried crystal meth. At the time I didn’t know it was meth, but in retrospect it was quite clear that it was. Within a short time of using it, I was engaged in endless hours of marathon sex. I was awake for three days. I thought it was OK not to go home to my family and not to get to work on time, and nothing else mattered but getting more of that drug and that sex. That first meth use quickly took me to extremes and foreshadowed the dark and drug- driven life that was to come.

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Practicing Hope

The author tells a story of the loss of hope, asking, “How can the hopeless learn to hope?” He tells his improbable story of regaining hope. How? Practice, practice, practice.

Here is one thing you need to know about me: I am an addict. Too much is never enough for me. Another thing is that I watched many of my friends and my lover die horribly when I was in my twenties and thirties. I don’t know if I knew what the word “hope” really meant before that happened, but afterward the idea of “hope” was a cruel joke.

I mean . . . I was a hopeful little kid. I grew up in the consistent love of my family. I really didn’t have much idea about really bad things happening. My Dad seems to have had bad things happen, and I think he thought he could keep me from sadness. Or maybe it’s just he was a very optimistic guy. Mom does for everybody else without focusing much on her own needs. I learned I could trust the people I relied on. No. The thought of trust never occurred to me. I guess I didn’t really need hope or faith either. Yet.

In school I didn’t feel different, but they let me know I was different. I was double-promoted and studied by people sent from the capital city. I was traumatized. I just wanted to belong. I didn’t want to be different, but I could not talk with the other kids. They couldn’t understand me. I had to translate everything from how I would say it to something simpler before I said it. I stumbled on the words and they didn’t have the patience to listen.

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Self-Love, Freedom and Light

Self-destructive behavior has been transformed into self-love, freedom and light for these recovering addicts.

Beyond the Red Light

Dim red light shined down on my shame as I was again spending another Tuesday evening in a room full of naked men, undoubtedly high on meth as I allowed myself to once more be used by every single one of them. I didn’t realize that the clinking noise of the chains, the constant stream of anonymous partners that I once perceived to be appealing, would be the sacrificing of my soul. I knew deep down I didn’t want this anymore, but I just couldn’t stop. I had to continue hitting the pipe until the sky outside became grey with the rising sun of another day.

Usually by this time everyone in the room was either too spun to stop what we were doing or were scrambling to get our shit together, rushing to get back to the illusion of the lives we were so desperately trying to maintain. It’s at that moment when time slows down for me, my mind frantically trying to grasp how I am going to begin the new day without breaking my disguise to hide how high I am. I try to cover up my eyes with sunglasses, or wear foundation under my eyes in an attempt to let the world believe I was not up for three days having sex with strangers.

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I Love Me, I Love Me Not

This recounting of a process of recovery demonstrates many of the spiritual principles of our new life, safe from our previous self-destruction. She tells about her acceptance, love, and compassion, for others and for herself as well.

What has been the most important issue in my recovery? What comes to mind is the process of learning to love myself. I don’t mean the false bravado or fake ego we might come in with. I’m talking about the process that requires a long journey of emotional travel from diminished self-worth into acknowledgment of strength and resiliency as a woman and a survivor. Little did I know when I dragged myself into my first CMA meeting that my salvation was going to be determined by my action in developing a strong central core, one that can withstand the storms of life that whip through me and try to steal my sobriety.

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Sharing the Solution

These addicts share their solutions in dealing with specific challenges in recovery.

The Drink Question

“Let me get you a drink. You can have a drink, can’t you?” These questions are difficult for the recovering meth addict to answer. What do you say? “Tweaking Jazzman” from “Crystal Clear” is back to tell how he came to have an appropriate answer.

When I first got sober, I was awkward with people who weren’t recovering alcoholics and addicts. I was a working musician and had to be in clubs to make my living. I was in a club only a few days after moving into the recovery home. The thing was that the music/clubs/drugs thing was all intertwined and I wasn’t sure if it was smart for me to be going into bars when newly sober. Now, at sixteen years sober, I can tell you that it was amazingly dumb, but I needed the money then and this is what I did for a living and I was just like most new recovery people—I thought I knew everything.

Obviously, the main thing in clubs is alcohol. I didn’t really drink too much in the clubs during the last few years of my getting loaded because I didn’t like to mix the alcohol and the speed. So when I started playing gigs sober, there wasn’t a huge temptation for me to drink. Mostly it was strange for me to be the one guy in the band who didn’t make a mad dash for his car during the break to get high (because it was always me leading the charge before). It was definitely strange to be playing music sober.

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Returning to a Professional Career

A trusted servant of the fellowship recounts the trials of recovering his career as a physician. The lessons are practical and, at the same time grounded in the spiritual principles of the Twelve Step program.

The first time I used crystal, I went to work high. The night before, I had been out celebrating my birthday, and two guys at the bar offered me some “crank.” One bump turned into several lines, and the night stretched into the next morning. I can’t tell you how much we did, but I knew that night that something had changed. “This could be a problem,” I told my friend. “I like this too much.”

My plan had been to party that night then nap the next day before my 5:00 pm shift in the emergency room. Of course, I couldn’t sleep at all, so I was awake the entire day before bouncing into the hospital – miraculously right on time. I was worried at first that the shift would be a struggle, but I still had enough crystal in my body to last through the night. Far from the disorganized disaster that I would later become, that night I was incredibly focused. I saw far more patients than any of the other residents, but the part that was really surprising was how much more fun it was to practice medicine while tweaking. I left the next morning believing the lie that would nearly destroy my career – the lie that I work better on crystal.

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The Spiritual Path

Two Recovering Addicts Share Their Spiritual Journeys in Recovery

Imperfections are Part of this Addict’s Charm

This CMA’er always felt imperfect and responded by trying to be “The Best Little Boy in the World.” In recovery he learned humility, honesty, self-acceptance, kindness, and—in place of perfection—progress.

When you buy clothes that are hand sewn or hand loomed, you often find this label on the inside of the piece: Imperfections are part of this garment’s charm. That’s all well and good for a tunic I spent too much money on. But, imperfections inside me? No! NO! You can't see those! You must think that I am perfect. I must act like I am perfect, act like my life is perfect. If you saw what the cloth of my life was made of, the snags that my soul had, or what I thought it had, I wouldn’t deserve being inside the dumpster out back, let alone on a hanger for the world to see. To inspect. To try on. My life couldn’t hold up to that type of scrutiny. The ripped holes and frayed edges of my existence would be uncovered and I would be found completely unacceptable. Torn and worthless.  

Feeling imperfect from an early age is certainly not unique. I was born in 1956 with two older brothers that were tall, handsome, athletic, and straight. I was the short, fat, sensitive, gay one. My parents were loving and kind, but they knew I was different from their other boys. They bought me Chatty Cathy and Barbie. I remember the day my dad came in the door with Barbie’s first Dream House! The cardboard one with flat, cardboard throw pillows and Barbie’s black and white face on the cardboard combination TV/stereo record player console. (She was wearing her “Solo in the Spotlight” gown! Black sequins, tulle bottom and opera length gloves. Too Good!) I know this is ancient toy history for some of you. Google it!

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The Empty Promise of a Pipe

To describe his new life in recovery, a CMA member uses an extended image of a swimmer. The foundation steps taught him to relax and float. Upon letting go, “Life, previously a stormy sea, became the big blue ocean of my recovery.”

The fall nights got longer and longer, and as they did my mood grew darker and darker. It had been months since I’d been able to sleep through the night. It didn’t matter whether I was on a meth-induced “run” or not; I couldn’t sleep. Every day when the sun came up, I was tired and spent the whole day in fear of the returning night. And every night I lay awake next to my partner, spinning over the prospect of the next tired day.

I was ill, too. My ears and nose were stopped up so I could barely breathe. Medicine didn’t seem to help. Every afternoon I felt flush and hot. My face and neck were turning redder by the day. I had a staph infection from contact with someone I met at sex party. To say it was a pain in the butt was an elegant understatement. I had to deal with all of this while flying three thousand miles to participate in lengthy business meetings for a job I had just gotten three months before.

The last job had invited me to resign. They said my experience was no longer compatible with their future plans for the company. Was it obvious I had a problem with crystal meth? I didn’t know. I did know that I had made plenty of enemies there and at other jobs. People I worked with had dubbed me “the little sergeant.” Always giving orders. Always placing blame. Always convinced that my way was best. I got things done all right, and left a lot of scorched earth in my wake.

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Two stories from recovering addicts featuring their special relationships with sponsors

Sponsorship—More Than Just A Friendship

Before we came to recovery, many of us have never experienced a relationship like that we have with our sponsor. This fellow member reflects on his sponsor’s selflessness with gratitude, reminding us that we repay their kindness by becoming sponsors ourselves.

My first sponsor said to call him every day. I replied, “But you’re out of town for the next two weeks?” His reply was short and sweet. “I asked you to call me every day. I didn’t say I would talk to you every day.” It was a polite and direct way of saying, “Can you follow a simple direction?” Would I have the willingness to call him every day even if he wasn’t available? Yes, I thought I could do it. It was a simple demonstration of my willingness to get sober. He also said that moving forward, he would match my energy. If I gave him 100%, he would give 100%. If I only gave him 50%, he would only give 50%. If I put in the same amount of effort I put into scoring meth or finding my next hookup, I should be fine.  

His next suggestion was to read the first 164 pages of the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous and to let him know when I was finished. I was so desperate to get some relief from my daily crystal meth use. I quickly picked up the book and began reading the archaic prose. When we met soon after I had finished reading, he asked me one simple, but searing, question, “Do you identify in those pages? If so, how?” His question hit me hard because I remembered that line from Bill’s story on page 6: “The remorse, horror and hopelessness of the next morning are unforgettable. The courage to do battle was not there. My brain raced uncontrollably and there was a terrible sense of impending calamity.” Did I identify? Hell yes I identified! “Welcome to my world,” I told my new friend.  

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I Should Ask This Guy to Be My Sponsor

Pete prodded his sponsor Bill Coffey to start a special interest meeting for tweakers before that first meeting of CMA in West Hollywood in 1994. Here is a snapshot from the transcript of Pete’s share at the 2012 Arizona CMA Convention in Phoenix, where he tells about CMA origins and encourages new CMA Fellowships.

...My sponsor went out when he was eight years sober and I was five. And frankly, there was nobody in Southern California that was qualified to be my sponsor again. I had that better-than-all-of-you attitude going on. There was this guy I met in AA, he was a prop guy and he worked for a big prop house in LA and he did the props and lighting for shows and I was doing the sound for these big fundraisers and stuff and I thought to myself, “I should ask this guy to be my sponsor.” So, I worried about it for six months, cause that’s what we do. And I went and I asked him, and he said, “Sure, fine call me tomorrow.” And that was it. And his name was Bill Coffey. [Cheering] Good ole Bill.

You know, one thing led to another and something started to happen in LA again that had happened many years before. (This is a little history lesson in the difference between gay and straight Alcoholics Anonymous and why Crystal Meth Anonymous was formed.) The story I had heard was, about forty years ago, straight meeting secretaries got tired of gay recovering alcoholics talking about dick in meetings. Can you blame ‘em? They stopped calling on the gay alcoholics to share. So the gays said, “Fine. We’ll go make our own group.” The gay Alcoholics Anonymous Group of Southern California formed and all the layers of it. And lo and behold, Bill realized twenty years ago (1994) that a similar thing was happening again, but it was happening to tweakers. The meeting secretaries in Alcoholics Anonymous were not picking tweakers to share because, frankly, alcoholics don’t want to listen to tweakers, at least in California.

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Voices of the Fellowship: A Sober Cell

Two brand new stories from the upcoming booklet, Voices of the Fellowship: A Sober Cell - From the Inside Looking Out.

Jail Prepared Me

It was the night before I took my plea. I had been arrested four months prior for my first felony charges and, with the reluctant help of my father, I hired a lawyer who was going to get me a deferred judgement and probation. The deferred judgement would be sealed and effectively allow me to put my unfortunate life of meth behind me. I just had to show up and not be high.

Oh, the trouble with simple tasks while on meth! I told myself I would stop using three days before my court date, but the night before I was so high, the abscessed tooth I had been ignoring became excruciating and my friend and I were pulled over with drugs in the car while on our way to the hospital. The police ran our IDs, realized who we were, made an excuse to search the vehicle without our consent, found the drugs, and we were arrested with new felonies.

I had been arrested and gone to jail twice before on minor offenses and was easily bonded out by my mother or friends. I remember standing in the Sallyport (the garage entrance to jail the police used to access from their vehicles), handcuffed and ashamed of my first felony arrest, and swore confidently that I would never be in this miserable place again. Little did I know I would be there a dozen more times, having been picked up on warrants or with new charges.

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Irene’s Story

When I first came into this program, I couldn’t stay sober to save my life! I was what they call a chronic relapser, a retread, whatever you want to call me, that’s what I was. But this program was always there. Every time I came back all torn up and beat up, they were always there, welcoming me with open arms like, “Let’s do this again!” Never once was I ever beaten down by others, only by myself.

So, what happened, what it was like, what it’s like now? What happened was I love crystal meth. I am a tweaker from back in the 90’s. That tells you how old I am. I tried crystal meth for the first time when I was 20 years old.

I got married really young when I was 17. Now you know you’re doing something wrong when your parents need to sign for you! So I got married because I’m Hispanic, and I was pregnant, and my dad was like, “You’re getting married.” So that’s what I did. Before I was even old enough to drink, I had two kids, was married, and miserable.

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The Twelve Steps: Our Way to Recovery

In these stories, two CMA members discuss the Twelve Steps as a powerful tool against crystal meth addiction and a path to a better life.

My Steps to Freedom

Our fellow CMA’er tells his share along with his journey through the Steps. We can tell what it was like and we understand what it’s like now. This story is what happened - the transformation that is the Steps.

My name is R. J. and I am a grateful recovering crystal meth addict. People always ask me what RJ stands for. I used to tell them “Roll a Joint”. Soon it became “Rampant Junkie”. Today it is “Recovery Journey”. But it certainly was not always that way. Cue flashback nightmare sequence music…

January 27, 2015. After verbally detonating on my 79-year old mother when she opened a piece of my mail, she simply says, “That’s it. I’m calling the police.”

I thought she was kidding. She was not. In hindsight it was the bravest thing I had ever witnessed my mom doing.

A few minutes later two officers arrive and try to detain me after I flip out. That’s what happens when you’re strung out on marijuana, Percocet, Xanax, Valium, Molly, GHB, and Crystal Methamphetamine.

One grabs my arm, I swat his arm away, scratching him across the face. I get knocked down. As the cuffs go on, I shriek, turn my head, and bite one of them on the arm…hard.

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A Better Version of Me

It is not much of an exaggeration to say the Steps are the program. Our fellow says, “A part of healthier living is being the best version of me. Today I have steps to take me there.” Read one meth addict’s share about his journey through the Twelve Steps of recovery.

My brother once asked me if I was on drugs. I replied, “No, Dan, I’m not on drugs.” He paused for a few seconds, looked at me and said, “you are the only person I’ve ever known who could look someone so honestly in the eyes and lie so deviously.”

Towards the end of a nearly two-year battle with daily meth use, I lost everything. I was 134 pounds with a 27-inch waist, gray skin, and sick with pneumonia. I thought I was fabulous. l developed an interesting relationship with the truth and I lost the ability to be honest. Sex was not interesting unless I was high, and even then, it came with great dysfunction. I lost my connection with God unless I was praying to get out of a dire situation, but I wasn’t willing to make any changes. I kept trying to keep it all together and make a life with meth work. I’d forget to pay the electric bill and have to drape a 100-foot drop cord over the balcony and plug it into a neighbor’s wall to have power. The rent was always behind, the food in the fridge would spoil because I forgot to eat, and I was blind to these problems. I lost integrity because I couldn’t show up anywhere on time or at all. I thought my behavior was justified because other people did me wrong and I harbored resentments. The only service I provided to others was misery, drama, and my body. Living a life based on spiritual principles was nonexistent.

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Living with HIV in Recovery

Two men from CMA discuss their recovery from addiction and HIV

My Eskimo

This crystal meth addict tells how he has dealt with grief, shame, sexual identity, and HIV in recovery. And he describes his Eskimos.

I was told once that an Eskimo is someone who brings you in from the cold. My Eskimos brought me from the cold, dark depths of my addiction to a light, warm, and loving room filled with people who care. My life as an addict changed through the years. Through the trials of my addiction, many people came into my life and saved or guided me to a better path.

It was hard to be openly gay growing up in a small, redneck, religious town. It didn’t help being brought up in a strong Hispanic Catholic family. My life was sheltered due to my upbringing. My dad had a cousin who was flamboyantly gay. He was the outcast of the family and was spoken of badly by others in the community. I knew I was gay by the age of 10 and I had to hide it because of my dad’s cousin. I developed shame for being gay at that early age.

At the age of 16, I found an outlet to express myself while hiding my sexuality. I discovered modeling. I was approached by a company to model kid’s clothes, and things took off from there. It helped that I grew up close to a large city within driving distance. My parents bought me my first car, which enabled me to attend modeling events in the big city. This was my big break because I was away from my parents and for the first time, and I could truly be myself.

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On Second Thought

Touched by HIV and 9/11, and especially by meth, this CMA member, originally from Malaysia, describes the depression, hopelessness and loneliness of addiction. He found the courage to ask for help. Then his Buddhist spirituality and the Twelve Steps guided him to a new way to live.

After my ex-boyfriend and I broke up at the end of 2010, I declared the following year to be a year of partying and celebration of being single and free. So I decided to check out a few circuit parties. My ex-boyfriend and I had traveled around the country and attended circuit parties together; now it was time to experience it on my own.

I knew that at some point I would have to give up drugs altogether. I knew this because I had been using drugs for about 10 years and my life had gradually gotten worse. I was stuck in the cycle of using, craving, swearing that I would never do it again, and then restarting the cycle every two weeks.

I grew up in Malaysia in a family of alcoholics. My uncles, my aunts, and my grandfather all drank to oblivion every night. My grandmother did not drink. She and I were close.

Among the many scars of an alcoholic family, the memory that stands out the most is one of my uncle who drank so much that he had a stroke which paralyzed him from the waist down and erased most of his memory. His family had to care for him until he passed away years later. His love for alcohol was greater than his love for his family.

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Women of CMA

Two Women of CMA Share their Unique and Powerful Journeys to Recovery.

My Sweet Cake of Recovery

She had to travel halfway around the world to find the help she needed and still was at odds with her “best thinking.” Eventually she found the love and support she needed in the rooms and through the program.

As a child, I was a painfully shy, highly sensitive, delicate little blonde thing. I was smart, eager to please, desperate for love, and felt insignificant next to my tennis prodigy brother. I also struggled to make friends. I was both terrified of being left out and scared of being the focus. Panic-stricken of being seen for what I really was. And in the mind of that self- centered little addict, what I “really was,” was boring and mediocre. The core of my disease is that I can’t stand myself and I’m afraid that you will figure out that I’m a loser. In fact, I’m afraid of EVERYTHING. I’m just fear wrapped in skin. Oh yeah, and I blame you for that.

I didn’t have a great childhood. My father also has this disease; and, when I was about 9 or 10, his addiction spiraled out of control and my family started to disintegrate. His addiction changed us, all of us. He was constantly high, deeply insane, cheating, stealing, abusive, dangerous and frightening. This lasted for years. My mother was changed too. Anger, fear and frustration turned her unforgiving and harsh. I became such an angry girl, no longer eager to please my family or any adults for that matter. My grades swiftly declined. One surprising benefit that came from academic failure was a sliver of social acceptance at school. It was a subtle change, imperceptible to anyone but me, but I was very aware of it and ached for more. I wanted friends so badly, so I ran with it. I took on a bad attitude fast, cared nothing about school, and acquired something I didn’t realize I wanted... an “edge.” It felt good, and as all good addicts blindly believe, if something feels good, then more will feel better. Once I entered high school, “edgy” was my new persona. I dyed my hair black, started drinking whiskey behind the Sizzler before school, smoked weed at lunch and BAM! I had arrived. I was one of the cool kids and my problems seemed to have been solved. Getting loaded, hating everything, and not caring about consequences bought me acceptance and relief from the ever-present anxiety and loneliness that had plagued my soul from my earliest memory.

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Working an Honesty Program

She goes from a life in prison to a life of service. She carries the message inside to others like her, so that they too can be free.

As an adopted baby who came from a loving home, I’ve always been somewhat of a people-pleaser trying to fit in. My family was a “clean your plate” kind of family so I grew up a heavy kid. As a teenager I was always trying to reinvent the wheel, when I wasn't taking it apart. All of the kids in school growing up were very mean, so I got teased all of the time. My parents were foster parents for disabled children, which meant that I was taking care of kids all the time.

I grew up next to a mall where I learned to steal small things like lipstick, but I never got caught. I started drinking in high school wanting to fit in. I went straight for the hard stuff - stealing liquor out of my parent’s liquor cabinet and replacing it with water. It was during that time I saw this movie called “The Best Little Girl in the World,” about a girl with an eating disorder who lost weight and it really changed me. I dropped 45 pounds in one summer soon after seeing this movie. The people who didn’t like me or wanted nothing to do with me in the past were suddenly my friends. That's pretty heavy stuff when you are impressionable and a teenager just trying to fit in somewhere. At 17 years old I finished high school and moved out of my parents’ house. I was now an adult. That preceded all of my really bad decisions like partying. I tried to put myself back in school and all my friends were smoking pot. Some of the kids my parents took care of were told by their doctors that the reason they had disabilities was because their parents did drugs. So I was very anti- drugs for a long time.

My friends were all smoking pot so I thought, “Well if they’re going to do it I should just sell it to them to make sure they got the right stuff.” My ‘no-drugs’ policy turned into smoking three-quarters of an ounce a day. Of course, people are really motivated when they’re high, so my school discipline just went down the toilet. This started my reckless descent - drinking heavily, smoking pot, and working stupid jobs just to support it.

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Celebrating 25 Years

Celebrating 25 years of CMA with Stories from Early Members of the Fellowship

Alright, Long Time Ago

Don N. shares this oral history of how and why the fellowship was started.

Alright, long time ago (probably in 1980 I would say) there was a discussion about the fact that we could not talk about drugs. And so many of us, we were drug addicts and alcoholics, but they frowned upon us saying it; so you have to just slip it in or something like that. Well some people came along, for example Bill Coffey, and he was just livid about the fact that you couldn’t say “methedrine” in an AA meeting, and be comfortable about saying it. So, he complained and complained, and he always raised his hand and all that. I would say, “Bill, we have to have a principle of not being mad at AA and being pissed off because they won’t let us say it. We have to get sober and do what we do.” Well, as time went on, this guy Paul Farmer, who was the Director of the Van Ness Recovery House, came back from vacation and he said he was an alcoholic and a junkie! Well that raised my hopes a lot, because then I knew that at least in that place I could talk about the drugs that I had used. So we did. And he even said when you talk in a meeting don’t talk about it too much. So, I’d learned to do that.

But Bill complained a lot and we would talk. I sponsored Bill. We would talk about it and say, “Yeah, we ought to have a methedrine meeting.” So first thing we did was start a gay NA meeting. So we started a gay NA meeting at Fairfax and Santa Monica upstairs in this church; the MCC Church had a little space. So we did that. About fourteen or fifteen of us started this meeting. And it came off, and we were able to talk about anything. Well NA thought we were violating their principles by having this, and they sent guys to sit in our meeting to judge us. We saw ‘em! But then they saw that we had followed it, the correct thing, we had followed it. So then the straight kids said, “Well, let’s start a straight meeting.” They said, “Come and help us.” So we said, “OK.” We started a straight NA meeting, I think it was “The Real Deal,” something like that. It’s still going on, there was not a lot of mention, well a lot of the kids felt, you know, it was all heroin addicts in NA and they felt uncomfortable about that. And we said, “Yeah, you know, we should have a methedrine meeting.” We kept talking about it. One day, many years later, it was fifteen years later, we did something about it.

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Traveling in Uncharted Territory

This member shares his experience attending CMA in Denver in its first year.

I had been returned to the pod at the Denver County Jail after a day at court. My fast- talking mouth failed to do what it normally did: get me out of trouble. Instead of being put back on probation for the umpteenth time, the District Attorney decided he was tired of my bullshit and was recommending I serve the 12 years in prison that was hanging over my head for the slew of felonies I acquired over the past 18 months.

I felt as if my world was crumbling around me. That had been happening in an ever-increasing manner since my heavy partying moved to addiction four years prior, but now the consequences of my actions were staring me straight in the face. That night I was overcome with the realization that the root of all my problems had been fear—fear of success, fear of failure, fear of commitment, fear of being alone, fear of a life addicted to meth, fear of a life without meth. I had gained an understanding of myself now that it was too late.

A week later a friend bonded me out of jail and wanted to see me (he of course wanted drugs as I had been his dealer for years). I owed him at least that and I certainly wouldn’t use after the heaping helping of self-knowledge I had just received. So, as I pulled the needle out of my arm and I felt the extreme high of the large shot of meth, my anxious, frantic, almost neurotic inner voice that was always quieted with drugs kept on telling me I was a piece of shit and I deserve every bad thing I had coming to me.

I left my friend’s house and slithered back to the condominium he let me stay at until it was foreclosed by the bank. I was at the jumping off point with nowhere to go. My friend Adam, who had been forced to enter treatment after his first felony and night in jail, called me to ask if I wanted to go to a Twelve Step meeting. Meetings seemed like a last recourse for losers who couldn’t handle their drugs, but I wasn’t in any shape to judge (I still did anyway). I was overcome by the happy faces, the similar stories, and the welcoming invitations after the meeting to attend other meetings.

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Sober Cell: From the Inside Looking Out

Two members share their experience with incarceration and finding recovery.

I was being Robbed

I was being robbed. The man in my house was robbing me. I run into the street, banging on a neighbor’s door. No one answers. Another door. No answer.


Finally, the cops came, thank God.

While doing their job clearing and securing my house, they find drug paraphernalia and the drugs. They start by talking to the other man that was in the house and heard his side of the story. They decided to take the both of us to the station to sort everything out. Once we arrived, he went into one room and I went into another. For some reason one of my hands was cuffed to a bench. I was confused over this and DEMANDED an answer.

“WHY are you doing this to ME?”

Little did I realize at the time, they were restraining me because they had been called about a man with a gun. How did the police know to come? The man in the house had called them. Why didn’t he just leave? Because he couldn’t. I had slashed three of his tires so he couldn’t leave.

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The Jail Story

My name is Danny and I am a crystal meth addict.

It was July 25th. I was just sentenced to 364 days in the Dade County Jail followed by ten years of probation – no early termination. I was two years sober when this sentence was negotiated between my counsel and the prosecutors – much more desirable than the seven-year minimum mandatory. I was arrested two years earlier for trafficking crystal meth. Well, that was the charge but really I was just an addict that attempted to sell meth, unsuccessfully of course.  When the sentence was read and I was remanded into custody, a wave of emotions hit me.

The hardest thing I have had to do in recovery is turn to my family and friends in open court and say goodbye for the next several months. I was flooded with sadness that I would be leaving my family and friends and terrified of what awaited me in the coming months. I had been in jail before. The first time it was just for a night. The second time was for about ten weeks. That time  I was coming down off of crystal. Nevertheless, I was terrified.  

I was taken to the second floor transient holding cell. Inmates came and went, either bonded out or moved to a permanent cell, but I was still there days later. I remember an officer asking who had been sentenced and was willing to work. I raised my hand immediately and was taken to a new holding cell for inmates waiting for a job assignment.

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Two Contributions from a Beloved NYC Trusted Servant

His experience, strength and hope with sexual recovery and career change.

My First Addiction Was Sex

Late spring semester of my college freshman year, the phone in my dorm rang.

“Can I speak to David?” the gruff voice at the other end implored.

“This is he.”

The voice at the other end then offered to perform oral sex on me. A sexual act that I had been fantasizing about for years, but not knowing how to approach guys, it only lived in my mind… and in the pictures I downloaded to my computer from digital bulletin boards.

I had known for years that I was gay, but the internalized homophobia and self-loathing I felt through my high school years was compounded by the need to be “normal”. And by “normal” I mean straight, or at least being perceived as such. The summer after graduating high school, I had insinuated to my mom one night that I thought she was disappointed in the person I had become. The following morning, I found a two-page handwritten letter on the kitchen counter about how proud she was of me, about what a good person I was, about how I was smart, kind, compassionate, and loving… and how she hadn’t screwed up raising me since I was straight. After all, this was the early 1990s, a scary time before antiretroviral meds when AIDS was still an epidemic. There was no way I was coming out to my parents like I had been planning before college started.

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Teachable Moments

Switching careers can be exciting and frightening for anyone, but for a recovering addict, it can be particularly stressful. I worked in the investment management industry for eight years before the market went sour and my position was eliminated. With no prospects on the horizon and thousands of candidates competing with me for the few opportunities that were available, I had to reevaluate my goals. I decided to leave the corporate world and become a high school chemistry teacher. I had family and friends in education who encouraged me to follow my dreams, but they did warn me there were pitfalls. I got into a program for people in midcareer transitions subsidizing the university work and certifications to become a New York City teacher, and was lucky to land a position at one of the best high schools in the city. I was ready—dreaming that I’d be an inspiring role model and shape the future of America. Little did I know that I was also about to get schooled on the importance of my own program.

First lesson: Honesty. Do your homework and know what you’re walking into! I entered school on the first day, starry-eyed, thinking that my teaching methods would quickly improve and I’d soar to new heights of inspiration and innovation. I know now that my expectations were too high and my ego was running rampant. I was forgetting the principles of my own program, especially honesty and acceptance. Teaching in a city school is very hard work, no matter how good the school is; I hadn’t been honest with myself about how difficult it might be. Reality hit like a ton of bricks: teaching four sections of high school chemistry including lab is grueling and tedious, especially in an overcrowded urban school. My students were great, but the sheer amount of work quashed my idyllic visions rather quickly. Forget my grand dreams: I struggled just to keep my head above the rushing tide.

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