Pete S., 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.
Bill said we need to start a meeting and he hounded a bunch of us. He hounded Don. Don. Poor Don N. I love Don. Don said, what did he say? “Don’t screw it up!” I love Donald. Donald was Bill’s sponsor and he’s still kind of like the go-to guru of California for our groups. Don N. was the first speaker at the first meeting of CMA. According to my new sponsor Tom, I “hounded” Bill to get the meeting going when he was having second thoughts. At that first meeting, there were twelve of us, maybe thirteen with Don. I get confused (often). There are a few of us that are still around that were at the first meeting. Most of them were brand new. I was thirteen years sober. Today in 2020, I am 38 years sober.
I want to tell you what happened to me in that room that night. It was completely different than any other Twelve Step fellowship room I’d been in. People were twitching. There’s a wonderful girl, I believe she lives in Atlanta now. Her name was Nina. Yes Nina, it was her very first meeting and she showed up wearing all black with this amazing big yellow sunflower on her hat. For the first many years she had spaghetti dinners in her house on Friday night. Then we’d all clean up her house. We’re tweakers, that’s what we do! Then we’d go to the meeting hall and then we’d have the Friday night meeting. That went on for years. Then the next meeting started and then the next meeting started and all of the sudden we were up to seven, eight, nine, almost ten meetings. The thought came across to several of us that it actually needed to be organized. We held the first organizational meeting, and I can’t tell you when it was, but we held it on a patio in the back of a building that I used to be the manager of. It was in another upstairs balcony, like at the old Drug and Alcohol Center.
This Friday night meeting moved to the newer Drug and Alcohol Center and it was up in an indoor balcony about this large, and it was packed! On a summer night underneath the stars we did the CMA Home Group, which has moved around. Today it is still in existence and is at the AT Center now in Los Angeles.
It has been interesting that I have been able to travel around the United States to meet crystal meth addicts and alcoholics – Seattle, Las Vegas, New York. All these people, I keep telling groups that I run across, “You know, you’re a new group. There’s only twenty, thirty of you. You are like the fresh footprints in the sand. You are the first birds walking across the beach in the morning and the rest of the civilization is going to follow you. So, walk carefully and have fun and watch the family grow around you.” Now, you got a couple of your old people that have been here awhile that started this in Phoenix, and you look around and look at this family. This is amazing. This is amazing to think that the idea sparked almost eighteen years ago (1994) in a small room with twelve people saying we want to be together cause we’re all kind of [laughing] – moving our legs like this. Oh God, they went like this and that, and there were legs doing this and that, and this and this, and so much movement. On that night, I felt, “Oh my God! I’m thirteen years sober and I have just come home!” And I would say to anybody that walks in these rooms that I hope we always welcome each and every person that walks in the room.