Recovery in Scotland – mutual aid at the heart

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In the fifth part of my interview with Tom, a doctor in recovery, he discusses the growth of Cocaine Anonymous in Scotland, its impact on those seeking recovery and what the fellowship has to offer women.

How has CA changed in Lothian since you first started going?

CA logo © Cocaine Anonymous

CA logo © Cocaine Anonymous

CA has expanded locally from 3 to 12 meetings per week. This includes two meetings in West Lothian. This means there is at least one CA meeting daily in the local area. Attending regular, if not daily meetings particularly in early recovery, is vitally important.

Edinburgh & Lothians has also established its own District, which meets on a monthly basis. As a consequence of the formation of District we have also established PI (public information ) and HI ( hospitals and institutions) committees. They are also meeting monthly and have been pro-active in carrying a strong message of hope to the public, health professionals, drug workers and other addicts.

There have also been several fund raising /unity events since District was established. These events have helped carry the CA message, promote unity within the fellowship and raise funds for District and the upcoming convention in October.

“The growth of CA has been beyond my expectations”

The convention in Edinburgh is the 10th Scottish CA convention. This is the first time Edinburgh has hosted the event. I remember this being mentioned as a possibility about 3 years ago but personally couldn’t see it happening anytime soon. The growth of CA has been beyond my own limited expectations.

Overall there are a lot more people active within the fellowship compared to 2010. Many more people are engaged with the 12 step programme and there are always sponsors available for newcomers. There are more people recovering and becoming well established in recovery. Although I have no figures, retention rates seem to be improving and more people are celebrating multiple year sobriety / substance free time.


The growth of Cocaine Anonymous in Scotland 2003 – 2014

Women in Cocaine Anonymous

One area of more recent growth is within the female contingent. There has always been a dearth of female sponsors in Edinburgh. However this appears to be improving and the women’s meeting on a Saturday has become well established with double figure attendance rates (approx 15-20 weekly). The meeting has been extended from 60 to 90 minutes due to the increasing size.

Hopefully this will have the knock-on effect of attracting more women to CA and for many of those women to stay within the fellowship. I have met several women who have been attracted to CA who were already attending AA, which may also bolster numbers and provide more sponsorship options.

[Information about the 10th CA Scottish Convention in Edinburgh can be found here]

Read the other parts of this interview:

Part 1: A doctor finds recovery in Cocaine Anonymous

Part 2: Addiction – losing the power of choice

Part 3: Power and powerlessness in addiction and recovery

Part 4: We have a responsibility to share how we recovered.

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