I discovered CA in 2009 while doing a stint in a long-term treatment center in Kaufman Texas. I loved the energy of the group. Everyone was fun, welcoming, I felt like I belonged.
This group was different than AA, even though they taught out of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. They said things like: it doesn’t matter what your drug of choice is, you are welcome here.
Being a heroin addict, that felt good to me. I had been exposed to lots of AA before and most
meetings I had to identify as an alcoholic – not an addict. I am an alcoholic as well, but if I had my choice I went straight for dope.
So immediately at AA I felt unwelcome. And see, that’s a big deal for someone like me. Before I worked the steps, I felt like I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t matter. So, having to identify as alcoholic only – just to participate in meetings enhanced my feelings of not fitting in.
The members of this CA group were crazy, and I loved that.
They had super low bottoms like me….had been to jail, lost their kids, overdosed…and had been brought back to life by working the steps.
Unfortunately, the fire they burned went cold, as I lost interest and started thinking I
didn’t need meetings anymore, because I knew better…needless to say, I relapsed. And I
Fast forward 3+ years of misery and anticipated death, I found myself desperate. Like really desperate. The dope wasn’t working anymore and my easier softer way wasn’t working either. I wished for not waking up or getting hit by an 18-wheeler.
I wanted an easy way out. Getting sober wasn’t an option. I knew it wouldn’t work for me.
My desperation landed me back in AA. My goal was to get a sponsor and work the steps. I
committed to doing everything she told me to do.
Right away, I heard things like – if you have a problem with other substances than alcohol, you will not find your solution here, but you are welcome to study with us. That rubbed me the wrong way, but I was still willing to get well.
The group I was going to instilled a strong foundation in my recovery – and I know I am alive today because of that. I started sponsoring and I recovered. Working the steps and staying in step 12 (working with others) brought me to a connection with my higher power that removed my obsession to get high. My life began transforming into something I had never experienced before, I was transforming.
The women I sponsored were addicts as well. In my mind, it doesn’t matter what your substance is, we are all addicted in the same way. We all cannot stay stopped (stay sober) on our own and we always use more than we say we will.
Life was good, however I still felt like an outsider at the meetings. I remember being in the women’s restroom before one of the meetings and a woman asked me if I was new. I was like no, I’ve been a member of this group for 3.5 years. I realized that she didn’t know who I was because I never shared in meetings.
I always listened. The reason I didn’t feel confident sharing is because I could not speak my full truth. Drugs were not allowed to be talked about in the meetings.
Alcohol was a huge part of my story – but so was dope. I was getting frustrated and feeling like an outsider. If I just substituted the word alcohol for heroin, I would have been fine.
But I felt like I wasn’t being honest, and that I would be judged if I was my true self and even be asked to leave the group.
That’s when I decided it was time for me to move on. I went back to CA and got a new sponsor. Right away, I remembered that familiar feeling of being loved for who I was, a dope feign.
Reworking the steps with my new sponsor was a completely different experience. I felt like I belonged. I thrived.
I talk about whatever substance I want now. We know we cannot use any mind-altering substances. Whatever your struggle is, everyone is welcomed. We study out of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous because it’s been proven to work since 1939. We don’t want to fix something that already works.
Since coming back home to CA, I have been part of opening a new CA meeting in Oak Cliff Texas. We want everyone to know – you are welcome. Whatever you are struggling with. With the recent events of COVID-19 we are no longer meeting in person.
All of our meetings are online though zoom. We know the importance of teaching the steps so others can recover. All of our meetings are open, meaning anyone can attend. Come check us out.
There is always hope.