Cocaine Anonymous (CA) is a network of self-help groups for addiction to cocaine, crack, and other stimulants. As a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), members come together with the common goal of abstaining from substance use. Like other Anonymous groups, CA teaches that members should abstain from using all substances, not just the drug in question (like cocaine). Addiction is a disease that can take many forms, and transferring addiction from one substance to another is still a problem.
At 12-Step meetings, attendees have the ability to:
- Learn more about addiction.
- Share their stories of addiction and recovery.
- Hear the stories of other people like them.
- Read and discuss CA literature.
- Find a sponsor (mentor).
Numerous studies have found 12-Step programs to be effective for treating addiction to drugs and alcohol, and stimulant addiction is no different. A paper in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment reports that attendance of CA meetings is linked with higher rates of abstinence from drug use.
Principles of Cocaine Anonymous
Anyone who wants to stop using cocaine and other drugs is eligible to become a member of a CA group. Membership is free. Cocaine Anonymous groups have a sole focus of helping people abstain from drug use, and as such have no political, denominational, or organizational affiliations.
One of the major principles of recovery is service, or helping other addicts in need. For newer members, service might be something as simple as helping set up coffee and cookies before the meeting. More experienced members might act as a sponsor, take a leadership position in the group, or be active in a regional CA organization.
Cocaine Anonymous meetings typically are held in rented spaces, such as in a community center, church, library, or hospital. However, they are not affiliated with the organization that hosts their meetings.
Meetings can be closed, with only members attending, or open, with family and friends welcome. There are also a variety of ways that a CA meeting can be structured:
- Participation meetings are open for all members of the group to take turns sharing their thoughts and experiences related to addiction and recovery. Members are encouraged not to crosstalk, or respond directly to what other members have said, but instead to share their own stories.
- Speaker meetings feature one or two experienced members of the group sharing their experiences in depth, often on a particular topic.
- Step study meetings focus on studying and discussing the 12 Steps.
- Book study meetings involve reading excerpts from CA literature and discussing their meaning.
As the name implies, Cocaine Anonymous values the privacy of its members, and things discussed at meetings are considered confidential and not to be shared with the public.
Although each CA group may choose to structure its meetings in different ways, here is how a meeting might run:
- Moment of silence for people still suffering from addiction
- The Serenity Prayer:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” –Reinhold Niebuhr
- Introductions for new and visiting members
- Selected readings by members from Cocaine Anonymous literature
- Group sharing and discussion, which will vary based on what type of group it is (participation, speaker, step study, or book study).
- Collection of donations; donations are welcome but not required
- Coffee break to meet with other members, discuss the meeting’s topics, and exchange information
- Reward chips to commemorate sobriety – tokens are given for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, six months, nine months, one year, 18 months, and each year after that
- Group announcements such as for upcoming events
- Closing reading, prayer, or meditation
Finding a Cocaine Anonymous Meeting near You
If you’re interested in attending a Cocaine Anonymous meeting, you can use CA’s InfoLines directory to look up a meeting near you, or call 1-800-347-8998 to learn more. If you’re more interested in reaching out to others online, Cocaine Anonymous Online offers email and voice meetings.
You may want additional support so you don’t have to find a meeting on your own. If so, we’re here to help. Our admissions coordinators can refer to you one of the 12-Step meetings in your area or at one of our treatment locations and talk to you about what dual diagnosis treatment can offer you. Don’t wait any longer – call today to learn more.