CMA’s Frequently Asked Questions
What is CMA?
Crystal Meth Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other, that 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 religion, sect, denomination, political group, 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 to carry the message of recovery to the crystal meth addict who still suffers.**
**Adapted with permission of the Grapevine of Alcoholics Anonymous.
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:
- Have you tried to stop or cut down your crystal meth use and failed?
- Is crystal meth making you feel depressed or hopeless?
- Are you using more crystal meth: greater amounts or more often?
- Are you missing work, social commitments, and family obligations due to your crystal meth use?
- Are you spending more money on crystal meth than you would like?
- Do you regret things you do while using?
If you answered yes to any of these, you might be an addict. If you’re not sure, we suggest you come to a CMA meeting. Anyone who has a desire to stop using crystal meth is welcome.
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.
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.
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.
How do I join CMA?
The only requirement for membership in CMA is a desire to stop using crystal meth and all other mind-altering substances. Basically, you’re a member of CMA when you say you are. It’s that simple.
How much does it cost to join CMA?
There are no dues or fees for CMA membership, 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:
- We stayed away from the people, places, and things we associated with our crystal meth use. We avoided seeing people who were still using, even if we considered them friends. Some of us changed our telephone numbers to avoid calls from using buddies or dealers. We changed our web identities to avoid triggering messages and e-mails. Some of us needed to stay away from computers entirely. We avoided any place where there was a lot of crystal meth use.
- We attended CMA meetings regularly—every day, if possible. Some of us went to more than one a day if we needed to. At meetings, we found the support and friendship of people who were struggling with the same problem we were. We had an opportunity to talk about what was going on with us right at the moment.
- We exchanged phone numbers with people we saw at CMA meetings. We called even if we felt shy or awkward when doing so. If we felt like “picking up” crystal meth, we picked up the phone instead and reached out to a fellow recovering addict. Most people were happy to listen and share their own experience.
- We found a sponsor. A sponsor is another recovering addict who offers guidance and support in a one-on-one relationship. When we started coming to CMA, people at meetings were there to respond to our questions, but that wasn’t always enough. Issues came up between meetings, and many of us found we needed closer support as we began to live a life free of active addiction. Our sponsors gave us that support.
These are only suggestions. They are the actions we took to help us make it through the difficult days of early recovery. We know from our own experience that they work. We believe that by taking these same actions you, too, can begin to recover from addiction and start rebuilding your life.
What do I do if there are no CMA meetings in my area?
Sadly, this does happen, but there are more and more online meetings available, at all hours of the day. If you really need an in-person meeting and there isn’t one around you, look and see if there are other Twelve Step groups in your area. Many of us get a lot out of attending other fellowships—they all use the same Steps. To find out about virtual meetings go to our Online Meeting Directory.
You might even consider starting a meeting in your area. For suggestions on how to do so, visit How To Start A Meeting.
What are the Twelve Steps?
The Twelve Steps of CMA 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.
How does CMA work?
Like other Twelve Step fellowships, CMA’s approach to recovery consists of three basic components:
1. Meetings and fellowship: We attend meetings regularly to learn how others have stayed sober and to find support in our efforts to cope with fear, loneliness, grief, and other emotions that might overwhelm us from time to time. After a meeting we often go out as a group (this is called fellowship) for dinner or coffee. At fellowship, we discuss the ideas we’ve just heard about and get to know other members on a more personal level. Our experience has shown that attending Twelve Step meetings and fellowship is one great way to stay sober.
2. Sponsorship and Step work: A sponsor is another recovering addict whom we choose to offer guidance in working the Twelve Steps of CMA. They 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 make coffee, stock recovery literature, or by standing by the door to offer a warm hello to a newcomer. These commitments keep us attending meetings regularly, help others in the fellowship get to know us, and provide us with the satisfaction of following through on our promises.
How is CMA different from other Twelve 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?
What about alcohol and other drugs?
Many of us struggled with the suggestion that we give up alcohol, other recreational drugs and medications not taken as prescribed, 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 cross-addiction. This is a very real danger as cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and 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 dealer 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 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.
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.
Is there a way I can speak with someone in recovery to see if CMA could help me?
Although our volunteers are not counselors or therapists, the Crystal Meth Anonymous Helpline is available. Volunteers can help you find a meeting, connect to your local Fellowship and share their experience with you which could help answer your questions. You can call the Crystal Meth Anonymous Helpline at (855) METH-FREE or (855) 638-4373.
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 Friends and Family page.