Cocaine Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous (C.A.) is one of many support groups to assist people in recovery from addiction. Much like Alcoholic Anonymous helps alcoholics with their addiction to alcohol, Cocaine Anonymous strives to help cocaine addicts overcome their cocaine abuse.



Cocaine Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of people recovering from addiction who meet in local groups. The organization was founded in Hollywood, California in November, 1982, and is made up of individual groups, each of which runs its own meetings.


The mission of Cocaine Anonymous is a bit broader than its name suggests. With the motto of “Hope, Faith, Courage,” the group offers membership to any person who wishes to stop using cocaine or any other mind-altering substance. The goal is for members to support each other in each maintaining their own sobriety.

To carry out this mission, Cocaine Anonymous embraces a twelve-step approach, based on its success. The Cocaine Anonymous 12 Steps to recovery are based on the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps, altered to substitute “cocaine and all other mind-altering substances” for “alcohol.”


Cocaine Anonymous does not have dues or fees, but supports itself through internal contributions. This allows them to exist without outside affiliations, endorsements, or funding from outside organizations. They do offer speakers to inform others about the group, as well as books and other publications.

Although there are no officers or rules, there are traditions that allow for particular committees or service boards, created as necessary and responsible to the membership.

Who Participates?

The most recent statistics about the participants in Cocaine Anonymous are based on a nonscientific survey of 1000 North American members in 1996. This survey showed the following:

  • A little over two-thirds of members were male.
  • The majority of members were aged between 25 and 44.
  • Ten percent of the members were aged18-24 and 45-65 respectively.
  • Professionals made up the largest percentage of members at 23 percent.
  • Eight percent of members were students.
  • Five percent of members were homemakers.
  • The ethnic breakdown was 55 percent Caucasian, 27 percent African-American, 11 percent other including French-Canadian, 4 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Native American, and less that 1 percent Asian.
  • The primary language of 83 percent of participants was English, French for 15 percent, Spanish for 1 percent, and other for another 1 percent.
  • The most often cited addictions that participants were recovering from included snoring cocaine, smoking freebase, and smoking crack. Less than 1 percent never used cocaine.
  • Ninety-six percent of participants used other drugs besides cocaine.
  • Most participants found the Cocaine Anonymous program through a drug recovery program, on their own, or through another Cocaine Anonymous member.
  • Some participants found Cocaine Anonymous through the courts, an intervention, or a jail program. Others found it through a hotline, a doctor, or another 12-step group.
  • While 2 percent of participants had been sober more than 10 years, roughly a third had been sober for 1 to 5 years and another third had been sober 1 to 90 days.
  • Over 55 percent attended three to four C.A. meetings each week, but a fifth attended 5 to 6 and 12 percent attended either 7 or more or 1 to 2.

Types of Meetings

There are four types of Cocaine Anonymous Meetings:

  • At open meetings, not only addicts, but their families and other interested parties, such as someone who knows someone with an addiction problem, are welcome, but usually only addicts may participate.
  • At closed meetings, only addicts are in attendance. These may be of two types:
  1. At speaker meetings, one or more sober members gives an extended presentation.
  2. At participation meetings, any individual present may share with the group.


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