In 1994, Bill C., the founder of Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA), was a recovering crystal meth addict with 16 years of sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). He noticed that many of the secretaries of these meetings were reluctant to call on the crystal meth addicts to share, as they were not welcomed. Bill believed that these people would benefit from a special-purpose meeting for those recovering from addiction to crystal meth. Thus, the fellowship of CMA was born.
|The words in the Book, Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve and Twelve are just words until we put them into practice —
that’s when they become a program. – Bill C, founder of CMA.
On September 16th, 1994, the first meeting of CMA was held at the West Hollywood Alcohol and Drug Center in West Hollywood, California. Thirteen people attended the meeting, which was led by Don N. (who would later return as the keynote speaker at CMA’s first General Services Conference at Park City, Utah). Many of the original members who attended that first meeting, such as Nina, Eli, Pete S., Michael, and Rick, are still clean and sober and remained active in the fellowship as of 2009. This meeting was the start of a movement that would soon spread, with meetings being held daily in Los Angeles. Bill C. believed that the program of recovery as outlined in the AA Twelve Steps would work for crystal meth addicts, and his vision has been proven true.
The early CMA meetings drew upon the readings and program of recovery from AA, NA, and CA to create their own fellowship. Members of the fellowship worked the Steps, utilizing the literature and materials from the other fellowships for guidance. This diversity of experience has been maintained throughout the fellowship nationwide, with members referring to the literature of other fellowships for further insight into their program of recovery.
The CMA movement quickly spread across the United States, with meetings popping up in San Francisco, San Diego, Salt Lake City, New York City, Phoenix, Atlanta, and many other cities in 1998. By 2001, CMA meetings had become firmly established in Atlanta, Georgia, and continued to expand to other parts of the country.
Crystal Meth Anonymous, Inc.
In 1997, the seven Los Angeles meetings of Crystal Meth Anonymous formed a committee to begin the process of legal incorporation as a California non-profit corporation. Aware that these seven meetings could not claim spiritual authority to speak on behalf of all the meetings, they named this committee the General Services Committee and developed a new-meeting packet to help people start CMA meetings in other parts of the country. Initially sent via postal mail upon a written or phoned request, the packet was later made available for online download, allowing the fellowship to grow exponentially.
In 2002, the IRS extended tax exempt status to Crystal Meth Anonymous, Inc., as a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation. The original General Services group in Los Angeles began seeking ways to open the collective voice of the fellowship and gain participation from groups worldwide. An advisory committee, the “Structural Reorganization Committee”, was formed to study the service structures of other fellowships and contact groups around the country for their input. Eventually, they proposed that CMA’s bylaws be changed, resulting in a new service structure that was ratified in February 2006. This revision of CMA’s bylaws endowed the fellowship with a Board of Trustees comprised of members from around the country, allowing CMA to better align with the diversity and reach of the fellowship.
The Fellowship of CMA Grows
In October 2008, nearly 200 delegates, trustees, committee members, and members of the Fellowship of Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) gathered in Park City, Utah for the first General Service Conference. During the conference, a charter was ratified and the 12 Concepts for CMA World Service were adopted. Many issues were discussed and resolved, including the long-standing debate of whether CMA is a fellowship or a program.
The conference ultimately adopted the statement that “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.”
Today, CMA has grown to include over 800 meetings in many states, provinces, and 11 countries around the world. This remarkable growth is a testament to the power of the fellowship and the effectiveness of the 12 Steps in helping individuals achieve and maintain sobriety.