Downloads for a Printer Friendly Version
- 90 in 90. People
who “keep coming back” have a much better chance of
recovering. We recommend 90 meetings in 90 days; try out lots
of different meetings (A.A., N.A. and C.A. Galano
- A drug is only an arm’s-length
away. ”Slipping is really easy: a moment’s
inattention; wrong time, wrong place. “A slip occurs before
you pick up.
- Abstinence. We
can’t get high if we don’t pick up that first drug
or drink. We’ve learned that using other drugs alcohol,
marijuana, cocaine, poppers can lead us back to crystal meth or
into other addictions. We believe in total abstinence: Using alcohol
or drugs invariably triggers our addiction.
- Acceptance. “…Grant
me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”
We can’t fix everything certainly not our addiction; we
just had to calm down and accept that. And remind ourselves with
the Serenity Prayer as needed.
- Action. “…The
courage to change the things I can.” Life is a program of
action; most of us started small with things like going to meetings
or making our beds.
- Big Book. The
Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, is the basic text of recovery.
Most of us read it from time to time; some of us are in study
groups where we use it to work the steps.
- Burning desires.
If a meeting is ending and we have not been called on, but think
we might use if we don’t get a chance to share, we take
the “burning desire” when it is announced. If we are
still not called on, we grab someone right away after the meeting
- Chips. When we
were counting days, most of us raised our hands and shared our
progress with the groups. Those plastic key chains we receive
from various meetings as we reach new sober anniversaries are
among our most valued possessions.
- “Easy does it.”
We tried not to take on too much in early sobriety. Feelings are
not facts. Fellowship. The meeting after the meeting. We believe
socializing between meetings has helped us stay sober.
- “First things first.” We learned to prioritize.
it till you make it. ” Life is totally
different when we’re first getting sober—full of
crazy feelings and fears, excitement and gratitude. When we don’t
know what to do in a certain situation or state of mind, we ask
for a suggestion from our sponsor or another person in the program
(see Suggestions). We can’t “think” our way
to right actions , but we can “act” our way to right
thoughts. For example: Most of us had to act as if there was
a Higher Power for a long time when we first entered the program.
- “Go to any lengths.”
We did some sick stuff in our pursuit of drugs; we try to work
just as hard to stay sober. If we drank or used every day, we
can go meetings every day. “Half measures availed us nothing.”
We have to give sobriety our all or we won’t succeed.
- Good Orderly Direction.
(GOD) One popular conception of a Higher Power: doing the
next right thing.
- HALT. Don’t
get to Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. An afternoon spent struggling
with cravings can be explained with these four words. We check
in on our physical and emotional condition throughout the day.
Hungry? Eat regular meals at regular mealtimes. Angry? Talk about
it a lot with your sponsor and others. Lonely? Go to a meeting,
call someone. Tired? Take a nap, go to sleep early, schedule less.
(Gay version: HALTF don’t get too hungry, angry, lonely,
tired, or fabulous.)
- HOW. Honesty,
Open-mindedness and Willingness, the basic tenets behind Steps
One, Two and Three. This is HOW it works: we get honest, we open
our minds, and we become willing to surrender and work a program.
- Just for today.
We stay sober one day at a time.
- “Keep it simple.”
We tried not to do anything too drastic while we were learning
how to live sober, on the proven principle that anything we put
in front of our sobriety would take us back out.
- Keep right size.
When we are feeling really lousy or really super we try to keep
our objectivity. Our low self-esteem and grandiosity led us into
addiction in the first place.
CMA is still writing its own “Big Book.”
But many of us found Alcoholics Anonymous, The 12 and 12, N.A.
Basic Text,Came to Believe, Living Sober, As Bill Sees It and
other AA, NA or CA literature valuable in helping us understand
- Make your bed. This
is just one example of how we take care of ourselves in small
ways we couldn’t when we used we deserve a nice clean bed
- Meditation. We
found this is not as mystical as it sounds: We just sit quietly
somewhere for a few minutes and listen to our breathe in, out,
in, out, in, out… Anxiety melts away, and our Higher Power
- Meetings. At meetings we share our successes and struggles,
learn about the steps, explore our spirituality, make friends.
We have seen how “meeting makers make it.”
- Naps. Coming
off crystal we were very, very sleepy. We weren’t too hard
on ourselves when we needed to lie down. Everything in moderation
- No major changes.
…in the first year. This probably sounds impossible and
even backwards—why did we get sober, after all, if it wasn’t
to change our lives? But the reasoning behind it is sound. During
the first year, we tried not to plunge into new romances, change
jobs or homes, or confront long-standing problems in our families.
People said to us: Who you are will change. Who knows what you’ll
want in a year?
- One day at a time.
It’s too overwhelming to think we’ll never use again;
we focus on doing whatever it takes to stay clean today. We worry
about tomorrow when it comes.
- Outside issues. C.M.A
is not the answer to all our problems. We are not professionals.
We are not doctors. Therefore, we seek professional help for physical
or mental problems such as depression or mania; financial counseling;
or job training. Many of us have sought help in therapy, group
counseling, antidepressants, and economic assistance.
- Old Playmates and Old Playgrounds.
We stay away from anything we identify that reminds us
of using. Dealers, pnp buddies, friends we ran with, or others
in our lives who throw off our equilibrium; bars, clubs, baths,
certain streets or corners, or other places we associate with
copping or using; stems, vials, lighters, cocktail glasses…
There’s an AA saying: “If you hang out in the barbershop,
eventually you’ll get a haircut.”
- Phone numbers. Telephone numbers are our lifelines. Members
who have been around for a while are happy to share their experience,
strength, hope and time. If we want to call our dealer, we call
someone from the program instead. For this reason, we always
carry the numbers of friends in the program. Many of us make
a habit of calling someone, our sponsor or a friend, in the program
daily. As for our own phone numbers, many of us changed them
to avoid getting tempting calls from dealers and using friends.
- Play the tape through to the
end. When a using
craving starts to overwhelm us, we remember one of our last runs
all the way through to the end: from the first drink to the bumps
in the bathroom and crazy sex, to desperation, paranoia, STDs,
hospitals, lost jobs, evictions, busted relationships—whatever
brought us into the rooms. After a while, by playing the tape
the whole way through whenever we get a craving, we associate
using less with the thrill of escape and more with the reality
of our addiction and its consequences.
- Prayer. Reaching
out to a higher power whether we believe in one or not has an
incredibly calming effect on us. Many of us pray in the morning,
asking for help to stay sober another day, and at night, saying
a simple thank-you when we make it to bed sober.
- “Principles not personalities.”
This means a couple of things. First, people in the fellowship
may sometimes let us down; but the principles of the 12 steps
never will. We never let someone else who is working our nerves
keep us from seeking the recovery we deserve.
- “Progress, not perfection.”
We try not to be so hard on ourselves. Even Bill W., the founder
of AA, had problems.
- Shelf. As in
“just put that on the shelf.” We may feel we have
other problems (cigarettes, debt, sexual compulsion, job problems,
family issues) in addition to our addiction to crystal meth, but
we postpone dealing with those other problems directly for a while,
until we’ve begun to lead a life free from crystal meth
addiction. The stress of dealing with these other problems can
make our recovery from addiction more difficult. Just staying
sober helps most of our problems start resolving themselves; in
time, when we have some recovery under our belts, we take problems
off the shelf to be addressed.
Not to be confused with religion. CMA is a spiritual program of
recovery, but the spiritual path in CMA is very personal and individual.
In CMA, everyone finds his own higher power and his own way of
communicating with it.
- Sponsors. A sponsor
is another recovering addict, with clean time, who helps mentor
us in our recovery.
- Steps. There are 12 of them, and they work. The process of
self-discovery they describe unfolds organically the longer you
stay sober, but it’s best to really work on there with a sponsor. Everyone
works the steps in his own way, at his own pace. The only step
we have to work perfectly is Step One.
- “Stick with the winners.”
We try to hang out with people who have good attitudes
and some clean and sober time in the program.
Most of us needed a lot of humility to come to our first CMA meeting.
Admitting that we don’t have the answers to our difficulties,
as hard as it is, is the source of our serenity. People in CMA
and other fellowships often offer us feedback. Whatever we may
think of them and their “advice,” however much we
might not want feedback, we have to remember that they wouldn’t
be telling us something that didn’t work for them.
- Surrender. Also,
“Surrender to win.” This is the core of the program;
it’s really explored in Step Three. Surrender is not defeat;
it’s joining the winning side. We are willing to try some
other way—ours wasn’t getting us anywhere.
- “Take what you can use
and leave the rest.” If a suggestion or
concept is confusing or seems contradictory, we set it aside until
we are ready. We try not to complicate our programs unnecessarily.
- Traditions. There
are 12 of these, too. The code of conduct for the organization,
they are the principles that guide CMA meetings and the group
as a whole.
- Triggers. People,
places and things that remind us of using, and anything else a
fight, depression, being hungry, angry, lonely and/or tired that
upsets our equilibrium enough to make us want to use.
- “We are only as sick as
our secrets.” Openness takes the toxic strength
out of shame. If something is eating away at us, we share about
it at meetings and with our sponsor.
- Yets. These are
things we have yet to do but, knowing the way our minds work,
we might encounter on our next relapse—smoking, shooting
up, heroin, crack, prostitution, jail, homelessness. Addiction
is a progressive disease; if we go out, it will most likely be
worse next time.
of us found these little nuggets irritating, smug or worse. But
over time, we learned they work. Why? They are simple truths.
Acceptance is the key
But for the grace of God
Don’t drink and go to meetings
Don’t quit before the miracle happens
Everything in God’s time
Expectation is premeditated
inevitably lead to disappointments
Happiness is appreciating what you have, not getting what you want
Help yourself by helping others
I may not be where I want to be, but I certainly am not where I
I shall pray as if everything depends on God; I shall work as if
everything depends on me
If I keep doing what I always did
getting what I always got
If nothing changes, nothing changes
If we keep one foot in yesterday and one foot on tomorrow, we’re
pissing on today
You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by
worrying about the future
In order to keep it, you have to give it away
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting
It’s the first bump that gets you high
Keep an open mind
Keep the focus on yourself
Let go, let God
Live and let live
Live for today, tomorrow never comes
Live in the now
May you be blessed with a slow recovery
Meetings are not enough
My best thinking got me high Nothing is so bad that a drug won’t
make it worse
Pass it on
Pick up the telephone before you pick up a drink
This, too, shall pass
Plan, don’t project (In the words of Bill W., “The worst
things I every lived through never happened.”)
Relapse is not a requirement
Stopping drinking is easy, it’s staying stopped that’s
Take an action, then let go of the results
The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off
Think think think
Think the drug through (to the unpleasant end)
Time heals all things
We’ll lose anything we put in front of our sobriety
Willingness is the key
You can’t save your ass and your face at the same time