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Cocaine Anonymous (CA) – 12 Step Program

Cocaine Anonymous Background

Cocaine Anonymous is a 12-step program designed to provide a place for cocaine addicts and users of other mind-altering substances to get clean and sober. Following the same format as Alcoholics Anonymous, the fellowship focuses on a program that utilizes twelve steps and twelve traditions to obtain and maintain sobriety. Although Cocaine Anonymous has no affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous, the group was given permission to adapt the same steps and traditions.

The program was founded in 1982 by Johnny S., Ray G., and Gilbert M. who were searching for a group to help deal with their addiction issues. During that period of time, they hadn’t felt welcome at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings because they did not necessarily struggle with alcohol, so they formed Cocaine Anonymous. Johnny S. worked in the film industry and knew many individuals who struggled with cocaine addiction. In the first year, the fellowship had over 2,000 members. The first piece of literature was “To the Newcomer,” which helped explain the program and what it was developed to do. The fellowship also utilizes the “Big Book” from Alcoholics Anonymous to provide more resources for its members.

What Cocaine Anonymous Entails

Cocaine Anonymous focuses on the same twelve steps as Alcoholics Anonymous. The first step of the program states “We admitted we were powerless over cocaine and all other mind-altering substances – that our lives had become unmanageable.” The only requirement for membership to the program is the desire to stop using cocaine and any other substances. Although the group suffered problems when the program was first created back in 1982, it emphasizes on the idea that regardless of whether or not cocaine is the immediate problem, abstaining from all drugs and alcohol is the only way to maintain sobriety.

There are no religious requirements for joining the program of Cocaine Anonymous. Focusing on the same concepts as Alcoholics Anonymous, the group only asks members to find a higher power that is greater than themselves.

Why Cocaine Anonymous is Effective

One of the biggest reasons that Cocaine Anonymous is effective and works for its members is because it implements the same 12-step process as Alcoholics Anonymous, which has proven to be successful. Working the steps in the program and obtaining a sponsor is one of the most effective ways that the program helps members to stay sober and improve their quality of life. Because getting and staying sober is just one of the steps of the program, Cocaine Anonymous also focuses on ways to improve relationships, characteristics of one’s self and any other troubled areas in each individual’s life.

Cocaine Anonymous is a place where people can share their experiences, strengths and hopes with other individuals who struggle with addiction and send the message that they are not alone. There are meetings available all over the world and for those who cannot attend face-to-face meetings, online meetings are now available through the official website.

What Else to Know About Cocaine Anonymous

Even though the program of Cocaine Anonymous implements the “Big Book” from Alcoholics Anonymous as their primary source of literature, there are many free pamphlets available online for newcomers or individuals who are starting their own meetings. Some of the literature includes “Hope, Faith, and Courage,” volumes 1 and 2, and pamphlets about having fun in recovery, home groups, self testing and more. Because the fellowship welcomes all members from any culture or group, pamphlets are also available for young adults, the hearing impaired, the LGBTQ community and more. Cocaine Anonymous also holds regional conventions that members can attend.

Meetings are open to anyone who feels not only that they have a problem with cocaine, but a problem with mind-altering substances, which is why the group sometimes holds meetings with the focus only on the mind-altering substances. The group’s focus is based on the abstinence from all drugs in general. Because vowing to never use again is too much for individuals to promise themselves, the program of Cocaine Anonymous focuses on taking every day one day at a time.

For many members, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the idea that their lives depend on them remaining drug-free. For almost all of these individuals, their survival depends on it. Staying sober and abstaining from drugs is the priority of the program, but working the steps is going to allow members to improve every other aspect of their lives, from mending relationships to dissecting character defects in themselves.

Building a support system, obtaining numbers from fellow members and reading all of the information provided in the groups can help newcomers and individuals with the desire to stop using drugs is the best way to begin the process of recovery. Members are reminded to keep in mind that recovery is a process and it doesn’t happen overnight; the first step to staying sober is admitting powerlessness over cocaine and drugs.

12 Steps of Cocaine Anonymous (CA)

1. We admitted we were powerless over cocaine and all other mind-altering substances — that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


12 Traditions of Cocaine Anonymous (CA)

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon C.A. unity.

2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for C.A. membership is a desire to stop using cocaine and all other mind-altering substances.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or C.A. as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the addict who still suffers.

6. A C.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the C.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every C.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. Cocaine Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9. C.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. Cocaine Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the C.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, television and films.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.


Read more about 12-step programs for substance abuse.

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