The History of CMA

The History of CMA

The founder of Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA), Bill C – a recovering crystal meth addict and 16 years sober in alcoholics anonymous (AA) – observed in 1994 a growing number of other crystal meth addicts attending various twelve-step meetings in Los Angeles. Bill recalled that many of the secretaries of these meetings did not like the shares of the crystal meth addicts and were therefore reluctant to call on them in meetings. Bill maintained that there ought to be a place for these people to share.

“The words in the Big Book, ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ and the ‘Twelve and Twelve’ are just words until we put them into practice – that’s when they become a programme.” – Bill C, founder of CMA.

Though the programme of recovery as outlined in the Twelve Steps would clearly work for crystal meth addicts, the other meetings’ singleness of purpose meant that many who exclusively used crystal felt uncomfortable participating fully in these meetings and fellowships. Bill believed that these people would benefit from a special-purpose meeting for those recovering from addiction to crystal meth. From this idea the fellowship of CMA was born.

Attended by 13 people, the first meeting of CMA was held 16 September 1994 at 9:45 pm at the West Hollywood Alcohol and Drug Centre in West Hollywood, California. The speaker at that meeting was Don N. (who, by no coincidence, returned as the keynote speaker fourteen years later at CMA’s first General Services Conference at Park City, Utah).

Many of those original members who attended that first meeting – Nina, Eli, Pete, Michael, Rick, and others – are still clean and sober and remain active in the fellowship as of 2009. Members of that meeting quickly started other meetings, and within a few months there were meetings daily in Los Angeles.

The early CMA meetings based their readings and program of recovery on that of AA and also of narcotics anonymous (NA). Members of the fellowship worked the Steps, referring to literature and materials borrowed from AA, NA, and cocaine anonymous (CA). To this day such diversity has endured in the fellowship nationwide, as members refer to the experience embodied in the literature of other fellowships for guidance on working their program of recovery.

Members of CMA in Los Angeles started meetings in San Francisco and San Diego. Meetings also sprang up in Salt Lake City, New York City and Phoenix in 1998. By 2001, CMA meetings had begun in Atlanta, Georgia, and soon thereafter meetings followed in many other parts of the country, the rest is history!

The Fellowship of CMA Grows

In October of 2008, nearly 200 delegates, trustees, committee members and members of the fellowship gathered in Park City, Utah, for the first General Service Conference. A conference charter was ratified. The 12 Concepts for CMA World Service were adopted. Many issues were brought to discussion, and many found resolution. One memorable example follows:

For the past few years, a discussion existed: “Is CMA a fellowship or a programme?” At the first General Service Conference, the following statement was adopted; “The Fellowship of Crystal Meth Anonymous works a Twelve Step program of recovery. We have not felt the need to elaborate in great detail a specific CMA approach to the Twelve Steps: too many other excellent outlines already exist for following these spiritual principles. But our experience has shown that without the Steps we could not stay sober.”

As of 2019, the General Service website lists hundreds of meetings in 48 states and provinces in 8 countries.