Listen to early C.A. members: Charlie L., Victor B.M., Cairns M., Ray W., Jim M. and Jimmy G., “remember when” about the early days of C.A. in Southern Ontario.
Special thanks from the Archive Committee (Francine T., Cameron F., Cat S., and Tony C.) TO Kenny S. as master of ceremonies, Bill W. and his kitchen crew (Ernesto B., Mario, Omar S. Nikki M., Katherine, and Van), who cooked pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausages for 50 people.
The History of Southern Ontario Cocaine Anonymous
Tom K., the owner of an “entertainment industry sober living facility” called ” Studio 12″ identifies the need for a group for cocaine-addicted people to talk about their struggles and sobriety.
In November 1982, Johnny S. who has been sober through the Motion Picture Recovery House in the Valley gets a call from Tom Kenny, the Director of the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s alcoholism and drug program.
Tom K. plans to host an AA Meeting for addicts, specifically cocaine addicts, at the Motion Picture Fund in Hollywood, California “because if you go to AA meetings and talked about drugs, they asked you to leave.”
Nineteen “sober men and women” attend the Tuesday, November 16, 1982 AA meeting, called the “Whatever” meeting to talk about cocaine. It was apparent to Johnny S. and several other attendees that they needed their own meeting and thus, the first meeting of Cocaine Anonymous was held on Thursday, November 18, 1982 in Los Angeles (Hollywood), California. Veronica is the secretary and calls the meeting to order with a gavel and announces:
“Welcome to the first meeting of Cocaine Anonymous, a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other and help others recover from their addiction.”
Tom K., an A.A. member, is a “strong help” to the budding C.A. group. He helps find rooms for meetings, set up work committees and shows them how to do a directory and get things organized. As a result, Cocaine Anonymous quickly expands across the United States.
C.A. Comes to Canada
In 1986, Robert F. (Montreal, PQ) meets with his friend, Dave S. who is dating a woman from California who introduces him to some C.A. meetings. Dave’s enthusiasm for C.A. — a fellowship where one could talk freely about drugs—inspired Robert F. and together they ordered a C.A. starter kit and on a Thursday night, August 21, 1986, the C.A. first meeting was held in Montreal, Quebec—the first C.A. meeting outside the United States. There were about 20 people who attended. Dave S. was the speaker and Robert F. was the secretary.
Within three months Montreal had six C.A. meetings going and in a very short time the first French speaking C.A. started and then a bilingual meeting, “Saturday Night Live” emerged with over 200 people in attendance.
Later, Robert F. went on to become the first C.A. World Delegate (1988) to the Montreal / Quebec Area. Everyone at the World Conference was excited — C.A. was now an international fellowship. In 1992, Montreal / Quebec Area hosted the first C.A. World Convention held outside the United States.
C.A. Comes to Toronto, Ontario
Colette B.R. was in treatment for cocaine addiction in the mid 1980’s and started going to A.A. meetings, where they did not like hearing about anything other than alcohol. Colette felt that cocaine addicts behaved beyond the scope of alcoholism and needed a place to talk to other cocaine addicts.
In the winter of 1986, Colette went to Montréal where she attended a C.A. meeting, which had only been in existence a few months. At this meeting Colette met Robert F., and many other people who shared similar experiences with alcohol and drugs as Colette had. “Oh my God I’ve got to bring this back to Toronto. So Colette received a “Starter’s Kit” from Robert F. and on February 2, 1987, the First Toronto Group of Cocaine Anonymous had its inception meeting at the St. Andrews United Church on Bloor St. West, where it is still taking place today.
The original inception members of the First Toronto Group were Colette B.R., John J., and Joey B. (aka Popeye). They were soon followed by: John A., Chrissy Y., Abe S., Victor B.M., and Bill S. Many early C.A. members came from the A.A. Delisle Group at Yonge St. & St. Clair. The Group grew quickly and other early members of C.A. came on board such as: Steve K., Jimmy G., Jimmy B. (a.k.a. Jimmy the Painter), Chris C. (Padre), Little Andy G., Rocky, Charlie L., Rick Mc., Big Len M., Greg C., Jim McK., and Jo-anne K.
The fellowship continued to grow and a second meeting started in September of 1989 – The Phoenix Group. On Friday’s in 1989 the Deer Park Group was started by Charlie L. Then in May (5), 1990 the Winner’s Circle started followed by the Freedom Group on May 31, 1990. By September (11) of 1990, Naturally High Park started with Tuesday and Friday evening meetings.
Today, 32 years later, Cocaine Anonymous in Southern Ontario numbers some 70 regular weekly Group meeting and has a presence in more than 20 hospitals and institutions across Ontario. Our meetings range from Windsor, Ontario to as far north as Ottawa, Collingwood, Orillia, and throughout the Greater Toronto Area.