What is Crystal Meth Anonymous

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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How Can Attending Crystal Meth Anonymous Meetings Support Recovery?

Substance use disorders in the United States have been on the rise. Evidence suggests that there was a surge in addiction and overdose rates associated with the recent pandemic as millions of people turned to drugs or alcohol to deal with their stress and pain.  Methamphetamine use  was on the rise before the pandemic, but crystal meth, in particular, has devastated lives in record numbers.

Crystal Meth Anonymous

Crystal Meth Anonymous is also known simply as CMA. By either name, it’s a 12-step group offering peer support to people who are dependent on or addicted to crystal meth. For many people, CMA plays an essential role in maintaining sobriety after they complete a substance use treatment program at a rehab center. Each step of the 12-step program emphasizes different principles that individuals use to support their recovery. Members follow the 12 steps to strive for a healthier, happier life than they had previously led.

The 12 Steps

Crystal Meth Anonymous uses a specific 12-step program for its participants, including the following:

  • Admittance: Individuals admit that crystal meth has resulted in their lives becoming unmanageable and that they’re powerless in the face of their substance use disorder.
  • Faith: Participants choose to believe that a higher power can help them in the face of adversity.
  • Surrendering: After choosing belief in a higher power, individuals actively give their own power to a higher understanding.
  • Soul searching: Those participating in the program seek to comprehend how using crystal meth impacted themselves and those around them.
  • Integrity: Someone in this program has to admit to themselves, those around them, and their higher power the specific nature of things that they may have done wrong and mistakes they might have made along the way.
  • Acceptance: A crucial part of the program is accepting themselves as they are while letting a higher power help them grow out of character deficits and flaws that contribute to their use of crystal meth.
  • Humility: This is a trait someone must practice to genuinely believe their higher power can help them become free of their shortcomings.
  • Responsibility: In this step, a person must list every person they hurt while using crystal meth.
  • Amends: At some point, program participants must attempt to make amends with anyone impacted by their substance use. The exception is when doing so would cause harm. 
  • Maintenance: At certain points, a person might have to admit that they have made mistakes during their recovery if they are going to maintain their progress.
  • Making contact: This part of the process involves self-discovery and learning the path a higher power might have for them.
  • Service: The final aspect of the 12 steps is to keep using all these principles for the rest of their lives. There is also an expectation of sharing these techniques with others who might be suffering from addiction to crystal meth.

No Religious Affiliation

If you read through the 12 steps of CMA, you probably noticed references to a higher power or being in many steps. However, this takes on a different and very personal meaning for every participant involved in Crystal Meth Anonymous. The program itself isn’t affiliated with any particular religious organization. In fact, the higher-power element emphasizes personal spirituality, and participants of all belief systems are openly welcomed to the meetings. These meetings are intended to be a fellowship of individuals looking to stop using crystal meth and share their hopes, strengths, and experiences with one another, not a religious group. 

The Meetings

Crystal Meth Anonymous meetings are open to everyone who is suffering from dependency or addiction involving crystal meth. There is only one single requirement for attending these meetings, and that’s having a desire to stop using this particular drug. Meeting attendance is totally free, and the program is self-funding based on donations and contributions. The meetings are held on a weekly basis in many places.

CMA meetings are directed by people who themselves are recovering from crystal meth addiction. This helps make the program useful to new members because they know that anyone running a meeting has personal experience with this kind of addiction. They have their own memories about the negative impacts crystal meth can have on someone’s life and the people around them. This shared experience helps engender trust and bonding among meeting participants. The meetings best serve participants when they are safe spaces where everyone can share their own experiences and stories, and newer members can learn from others who share their insights about substance use.

When strength is shared among people in meetings, bonds are formed. This can create an atmosphere of accountability, and many members are given sponsors who are also recovering users. These sponsors can be one of the most valuable aspects of the meetings. While meetings might not be available in every area, there are phone and online meetings possible every hour of the day. Hybrid and virtual meetings use the same 12 steps as in-person meetings.

What Is Crystal Meth?

The reason that  crystal meth can result in addiction is because of how powerful it is as a stimulant. This is a version of methamphetamine that physically looks like shiny rocks of bluish-white color or even possibly glass fragments, and that’s how it gets the crystal part of its name. Users might inject it intravenously, snort it, swallow it in pill form, or smoke it. Crystal meth has a high that starts fast but also ends quickly, and this leads to many users binging on it or doing multiple doses at the same time. In a binge phase, a user might forgo sleeping and eating while they engage in crystal meth for multiple days in a row. 

Methamphetamine Use in America

Methamphetamine use in all forms has a devastating effect on many people across the United States. In 2021 alone, about 2.5 million people aged 12 or older used methamphetamines, and around 1.6 million were diagnosed with substance use disorder for meth. Usage included 8th through 12th graders at rates ranging from 0.2% to 0.5%. Over 32,000 people died from psychostimulant overdose in 2021, not counting cocaine. The primary psychostimulant behind these overdose fatalities was methamphetamine.

Short-Term Effects

Misusing crystal meth has multiple short-term consequences, including the following:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased wakefulness
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Increased levels of physical activity
  • Fast or irregular heart rate
  • Faster breathing

Long-Term Effects

The misuse of methamphetamines has even more potential long-term effects that might impact you or someone you care about, such as:

  • Addiction
  • Alterations to brain functions and structure
  • Behavior ranging from aggressive to violent
  • Depreciation of motor skills
  • Disturbances in mood or feeling
  • Elevated distractibility
  • Memory loss
  • Psychosis, including hallucinations or paranoia
  • Repetitive motor activities
  • Serious dental issues
  • Thought distortion
  • Weight loss

How Is Crystal Meth Substance Use Disorder Treated?

While crystal meth addiction can often feel overwhelming, treatment options are available. Trying to quit and dealing with withdrawal symptoms on your own can be dangerous and painful. At a treatment facility, trained staff will monitor your health during the detoxification (detox) process, and you will have 24/7 access to care.

Medication-assisted treatment is often a part of detoxing once you enter a program at a rehab center. The goal of the professionals during the detox stage of treatment is to make you as comfortable as possible and make sure you stay healthy.

Inpatient and Outpatient Programs

After detox, you will develop your treatment program with a professional. Most rehab centers offer inpatient and outpatient programs. Clients who have not been using methamphetamines for long, have a strong support network, and have family and work obligations may benefit from a program where they do not stay at the facility. On the other hand, a professional will probably recommend an inpatient program for people who have tried to quit multiple times and failed, have a long history of substance use, or are honest about needing more structure to stay sober.


Whether in an outpatient or inpatient program, clients in treatment will participate in therapy. Rehab centers may incorporate several forms of therapy into your daily routine while in treatment to support your recovery journey. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is focused on the present rather than the past. It helps clients identify and change negative thoughts that may lead to future substance use.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

In dialectical behavior therapy, there are three primary areas of focus. They include regulating emotions, reducing stress, and improving personal relationships. Clients will find ways to manage stress and identify personal relationships that require improvement. The final goal is to help clients free themselves of issues that can result in relapse. 

Family Therapy

During family therapy, a client will work with their loved ones to work out interpersonal conflicts. It is also a way for family members to learn how to support a client’s recovery. Families get the chance to talk about how a person’s addiction impacted the entire group, but this needs to happen without blame or judgment. Many programs hold educational sessions with families about substance use disorders before family therapy sessions to facilitate a good experience for the client. 

Support After Treatment

When you are nearing the end of your treatment program, a staff member will work with you to develop a plan for the future. The plan may include weekly meetings with a therapist. You will also be encouraged to join support groups like Crystal Meth Anonymous. Evidence suggests that participating in CMA can help  support your efforts to live a sober lifestyle

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Defining Wellness Centers is both family-owned and -operated. We seek to share compassion, understanding, and love with every client we get the chance to help through evidence-based therapies. We don’t just focus on healing your body but also your spirit and mind. Every client is different, so we bring various tools and techniques to the table. Contact us today so that we can answer any questions you have about our substance use disorder treatment programs.

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