For The Newcomer
Past experience has shown that most newcomers, upon arriving at the fellowship of Chemically Dependent Anonymous, are unsure about the many areas of the recovery process. Certain questions seem to arise most frequently. We hereby attempt to answer these questions to the best of our ability.
1) "What do these people want from me?"
We’ve been there and we know the pain and suffering caused by this disease. We have found a way out, a new freedom. We no longer feel the desperate “need” to use drugs. Our lives are more our own today than ever before.
In order to keep growing, we have come to understand and believe that we must give of that which we have received. We want nothing from you other than the chance to share with you our experience, strength and hope.
2) "What is a 'bottom'?"
A “bottom” is the place we reach when because of the amount of pain caused by our use of chemicals, it becomes necessary for us to ask for help and get honest about our addiction.
You do not have to lose your house, driver’s license, family, or years of your life in jails or institutions; although some or all of these things have happened to many of us. We have found through our own experiences and those of others that if we continue to use, these things will happen. It is up to you whether or not you become progressively better or continue the downhill slide.
3) "What is a 'compulsion'?"
When the only thing you can think about is the next fix, pill or drink, you are suffering from a “compulsion.” Compulsion is what ruled our lives while we were using, and what proved so overpowering whenever we tried to stop on our own. Willpower alone cannot overcome a compulsion. Over time, CDA members have experienced relief from the compulsion to use.
4) "What is a 'slippery place?"
There is a saying you might hear if you keep coming back: “If you hang around the barbershop long enough, eventually you’ll get a haircut.” This means that if you hang around people, places or things associated with the use of chemicals, you are setting yourself up for a fall.
All too often we have seen newcomers who could not sat “no” when offered a drink or a drug in these “slippery” surroundings. Therefore, we have found it wise and advisable to question our motives for coming in contact with people who are using chemicals.
5) "Can I take prescribed medication?"
We realize that some conditions require the use of prescribed medication, however, a great deal of medication is abused. Our disease tries hard to get us to use again and often using prescribed medication can provide the “excuse” we need to get high. Honesty with your physician and yourself about your chemical dependency is of the utmost importance.
6) "Do I have to stay 'straight' forever?"
Each one of us began by staying straight for just one day. We break “forever” down into “one day at a time.” The choice of whether or not to use will always be there. After staying clean and sober for a period of time, we have found that we choose not to use rather than return to the misery which brought us here.
7) "How many meetings should I go to?"
In the beginning, we suggest that all newcomers aim at attending 90 meetings in 90 days. It’s very difficult to stop using at first and most of us have found that we needed all the help we could get. Most often, the compulsion to use is especially strong during our early stage of recovery. We have found that if we can just put off using until we get to a meeting, we can find the support we need to stay clean for one more day.
8) "What is a home group?"
Each group keeps a list of people who want to be involved on a committed basis to that particular meeting. The Home Group members take an active role in the meeting and are committed to making sure the meeting is functioning and fulfilling its primary purpose of carrying the message to the newcomer. It is our belief that involvement is a key to continued chemical abstinence. A home group gives you one meeting to which you are committed on a regular basis and provides a way to get involved.
9) "What is a sponsor?"
A sponsor is someone who is willing to share his or her own experience, strength and hope with you on a personal level. Having been clean and sober for a while, a sponsor will help you to understand the Program. From what we’ve learned so far, it seems best if men find male sponsors and women find female sponsors. In choosing a sponsor, it is important to look for someone with whom you can talk comfortably. Based upon experience, we believe that it is best to find a suitable sponsor as soon as possible.
10) "What is anonymity?"
“Anonymity” means that who you see or what you hear at meetings is not discussed outside the meetings themselves. We respect each other’s privacy. Whether or not you want someone outside these meetings to know about you presence here is a decision left up to you.
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program. For the purpose of CDA unity, we do not ever associate the CDA name on the public level (i.e., newspapers, radio, film, social media, etc.).
11) "What is a 'Higher Power'?"
When we talk about finding a “Higher Power,” it means finding something greater than ourselves in which to believe. Some people use the CDA group, some the God of their religion and some use nature. Many people use the word “God” to describe their Higher Power. As newcomers, many of us were either turned-off completely or had a great deal of difficulty with this concept. We found it necessary to keep an open mind and at least listen to the ideas of others. In time, we came to understand, each in our own way, that a Higher Power is anything you choose it to be.
Finally, it is unlikely that each and every issue and question that a newcomer might have can be fully answered or satisfied in a single explanatory pamphlet such as this one. All we can say is that almost every question seems to answer itself in time.
“KEEP COMING BACK”
CHEMICALLY DEPENDENT ANONYMOUS
General Service Office
P O Box 423
Severna Park, MD 21146