Cocaine Anonymous

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Cocaine Anonymous Logo

Cocaine Anonymous (CA) is a twelve-step program for people who seek recovery from drug addiction. CA is patterned very closely after Alcoholics Anonymous, although the two groups are unaffiliated. While many CA members have been addicted to cocaine, crack, speed or similar substances, identifying specifically as a cocaine addict is not required.[1] Cocaine Anonymous stresses in several of its readings that "CA's 12 Steps are not drug specific, and Cocaine Anonymous is not a drug specific fellowship", pointing out that some of their members "never even tried coke". As such, they welcome any addict, alcoholic, or otherwise problemed drug user into their fellowship.[2]

CA uses the book Alcoholics Anonymous[3] as its basic text. Complementing this are the CA Storybook, Hope, Faith and Courage: Stories from the Fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous.[4] and the AA book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions[5]

CA was formed in Los Angeles in 1982 by a long-standing AA member. He worked in the film industry and saw a number of people who had difficulty finding help from anyone knowledgeable about the special difficulties presented by cocaine addiction. Recognizing that there was a need for support of family and friends of drug addicts, the group Co-Anon (formerly CocAnon) was formed. Co-Anon is a program for families of cocaine users, analogous to Al-Anon for the friends and family of alcoholics.[6]


Cocaine Anonymous is a self-supporting organization that is funded through the contributions of its members. These contributions are collected by "passing the pot" during a meeting, which fulfills the spirit of the 7th tradition of being self-supporting. The funds are then collected and documented by a "trusted servant" who then designates the money to cover the expense of the meeting hall, coffee, snacks, literature, etc. The leftover funds are often dealt with by following the 70/30 plan, in which 70% of the remaining money goes to the district or area and 30% will go the CA World Services office. [7]

Twelve Steps[edit]

First Step - We admitted we were powerless over cocaine and all other mind-altering substances – that our lives had become unmanageable [3]

Second Step - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity [3]

Third Step - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God [3]

Fourth Step - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves [3]

Fifth Step - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs [3]

SIxth Step - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character [3]

Seventh Step - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings [3]

Eighth Step - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all [3]

Ninth Step - Made a direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others [3]

Tenth Step - Continued to take a personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it [3]

Eleventh Step - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out [3]

Twelfth Step - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs [3]

North America demographics[edit]

A 1996 survey of over 1,000 members in North America concluded that CA members who responded to the survey were 68% male and 32% female. The data reports that of the people who responded 32% sober from 1-90 days, 23% sober from 3 months – 1 year, 31% sober from 1-5 years, 15% sober from 5-10 years, and 2% sober for more than 10 years. The same survey said that 37% of members found CA through a recovery program or other 12-Step Group. While only 3% were referred to CA through attending court.[8]


CA recommends that members obtain a sponsor in order to help them stay clean and sober. Usually, a sponsor has at least one year sober and has thoroughly worked the twelve-step program in order to achieve this new lifestyle. Their primary aim is to use their experience, along with the twelve-steps, to help a newcomer stay sober on a one-to-one basis. [9]

Types of meetings[edit]

  • Open Meeting: This type of meeting is open to addicts, their families, and anyone looking to solve a personal drug problem or helping someone else solve a drug problem. However, direct participation is limited to addicts.[10]
  • Closed Meeting: These meetings are only for addicts. This is an opportunity to share problems related to using patterns and attempts to achieve stable sobriety.[10]
  • Speaker Meeting: This type of meeting involves one or two sober members sharing their experience, thoughts, and feelings at length.[10]
  • Participation Meeting: This meeting involves individual members voluntarily sharing their thoughts and feelings.[10]
Cocaine Anonymous sobriety chips

Sobriety key tags/Medallions[edit]

Key tags and medallions are given out to members to mark their sobriety dates. As time passes the key tags and Medallions commemorate various lengths of sobriety; 1, 3, 6, and 9 months; eighteen months and multiples of years.[11]


  • Cocaine Anonymous (2008). Hope, faith, and courage: Stories and literature from the fellowship of cocaine anonymous (2 ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Cocaine Anonymous World Service, Inc. ISBN 9780979149108. 
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (1981). Twelve steps and twelve traditions. New York, Ny: Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc. ISBN 0916856011. 
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (2001). Alcoholics Anonymous. New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc. ISBN 9781893007178. 


A major criticism that Cocaine Anonymous has received is that they strongly encourage their members to turn to a higher power. Some have compared this approach to organized religion that could potentially be offensive to its agnostic or atheist members.[12] However, the "Big Book" does address this in a chapter titled We Agnostics.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cocaine Anonymous (2007-11-13). "And All Other Mind-Altering Substances". Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  2. ^ Cocaine Anonymous. "Who Is A CA Member?" (PDF). 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Alcoholics Anonymous (1976-06-01). Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. ISBN 0-916856-59-3. OCLC 32014950. 
  4. ^ Cocaine Anonymous (January 1993). Hope, Faith and Courage: Stories from the Fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous. Los Angeles, California: Cocaine Anonymous World Services. ISBN 0-9638193-1-3. OCLC 32014453. 
  5. ^ Alcoholics Anonymous (2002-02-10). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Hazelden. ISBN 0-916856-01-1. OCLC 13572433. 
  6. ^ Cohen, Sidney (1985). The Substance Abuse Problems. New York, New York: Haworth Press. ISBN 0-86656-368-7. OCLC 6666765. 
  7. ^ "Financial Guidelines for Groups, Districts & Areas of Cocaine Anonymous" (PDF). September 2007. pp. 1–16. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Membership survey". Cocaine anonymous world services. 1996. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Cocaine Anonymous (2008). Hope, faith, and courage: Stories and literature from the fellowship of cocaine anonymous. Los Angeles, CA: Cocaine Anonymous World Service, Inc. pp. 211–212. ISBN 9780979149108. 
  10. ^ a b c d "C.A. fact file". Cocaine anonymous world services. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Big Book Sponsorship". August 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Cocaine Anonymous Meetings for Coke Addiction Recovery". 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Crits-Christoph, P., Gibbons, M. B. C., Barber, J. P., Gallop, R., Beck, A. T., Mercer, D.; et al. (October 2003). "Mediators of outcome of psychosocial treatments for cocaine dependence". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 71 (5): 918–925. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.71.5.918. PMID 14516240. 
  • Maude-Griffin, P. M., Hohenstein, J. M., Humfleet, G. L., Reilly, P. M., Tusel, D. J., & Hall, S. M. (October 1998). "Superior efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy for urban crack cocaine abusers: Main and matching effects". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 66 (5): 832–837. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.66.5.832. PMID 9803702. 
  • Weiss, R. D., Griffin, M. L., Gallop, R. J., Najavits, L. M., Frank, A., Crits-Christoph, P.; et al. (Feb 2005). "The effect of 12-step self-help group attendance and participation on drug use outcomes among cocaine-dependent patients". Drug and Alcohol Dependence 77 (2): 177–184. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2004.08.012. PMID 15664719. 
  • Chen, Gila (September 2010). "The Meaning of Suffering in Drug Addiction and Recovery from the Perspective of Existentialism, Buddhism and the 12-Step Program". Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 42 (3): 363–375. doi:10.1080/02791072.2010.10400699. PMID 21053759. 

External links[edit]