The following story has been told many times – we feel it is interesting in terms of the group’s history, and are pleased to share it once again, with the home group in celebration of our 34th anniversary. Hopefully this story will be passed on and added to as required by future members of the home group.
Hot Spot CA is one of the oldest CA groups in Cleveland as well as CA in general. Hot Spot was founded in March 1984 by a group of addicts at St. John West Shore Hospital. Cocaine Anonymous itself had begun only sixteen months earlier in November 1982 in Southern California, which is why we can say with a fair amount of certainty that Hot Spot is indeed one of the oldest CA groups in the world.
Not a great deal of detail is known about the early days of Hot Spot CA, since many of the addicts who came through the rooms at that time are no longer in recovery, and such it is still today with this and many other twelve step programs. However, we do know that the meeting was moved around the hospital several times, but through all the changes, the early members were dedicated enough to stay with the meeting and keep the doors open for future generations of addicts who wanted to stop using.
We also know that, some time between the mid 80’s and the early 90’s, the meeting was moved to a treatment center on Puritas Road near Rocky River Drive in Cleveland. At the time, the center was being operated by Glenbeigh. Later, the name was changed, and the facility became known as The Campus. Many addicts who went through treatment at The Campus attended Hot Spot CA, and so the meeting became well-known for catering specifically to newcomers.
In December of 1996, Hot Spot CA was still being held on Friday nights at The Campus. We always felt that the meeting was especially important because (a) it was held in a treatment center, and (b) because it was on Friday nights – a time of the week when many newcomers might be tempted to relapse.
In July 1998, The Campus was closed due to financial reasons, and we continued to have the meeting outside at picnic tables. When the planes would take off or land at Hopkins Airport, we had to suspend our comments for a few moments because we couldn’t hear each other speaking. The meeting was very small at the time – sometimes only two or three people would show up each week, but we kept the meeting alive because it was important to those of us who had begun our recovery there.
In September 1998, the treatment center re-opened under a new name – the Davenport Center. It opened just in time, because the cold weather was on the way. We started having meetings inside again, but in December 1998 the Davenport Center shut down, presumably for financial reasons. It was at this time that we realized that Hot Spot CA needed a permanent home, and so with the help of an addict we made contact with the people who were running the Freedom House. We were welcomed with open arms and were invited to have our meeting there – the catch was the only time which was available was on Monday night. So, on March 1, 1999, we had our first meeting, which we jokingly called “The New Hot Spot CA at the Freedom House”.
After the first meeting, we were grateful that we could bring a CA meeting to the Freedom House, which only held AA meetings, but was definitely in the business of helping addicts as well. Also, even though the meeting was still in a treatment center, it just didn’t feel the same because it wasn’t on Friday nights, so we searched for a new home for Hot Spot.
There was one remaining concern, however – the meeting on Monday night had been very well-received, and we didn’t want to end it. We felt that our Higher Power had led us to have the meeting there for a reason, and so we renamed the group “Freedom House CA” and continued to have Monday night meetings there as well. Thus, a new group was born from the efforts to keep the doors of Hot Spot open. The group later became known as simply “Freedom CA”, and the rest of that story is told elsewhere.
After asking around for suggestions as to where the meeting could be relocated, someone suggested we contact Oakview at Southwest General Hospital. We were allowed to have the meeting in one of the conference rooms in the basement of the hospital, and for the first several months there were often only a few people at the meeting. However, over time, the meeting grew and once more became an important stop along the road to recovery for many addicts.
The meeting continued to grow and was located at Southwest General Hospital for several years. After that time, several other addicts served the meeting as secretary until December 2006, when the group was advised that, due to changes in the security policy at Southwest General Hospital, no guests would be allowed in the hospital after 8:00PM. For several weeks in early 2007, Hot Spot CA was without a home until an addict contacted the folks at Middleburg Heights Community United Church of Christ, who allowed us to move the meeting there.
Since then, the meeting has remained at Middleburgh Heights Community United Church of Christ and a core group of addicts have remained in attendance as well as a multitude of newcomers who have graced the meeting. Some have remained sober, some have relapsed and have returned, and some have relapsed and have not returned. What these people did do, however, was to keep the doors of Hot Spot CA open for the many addicts who have come through this meeting, and for this we are all eternally grateful.
Although the meeting is no longer being held in a treatment center, as it once was, we still remain focused on the newcomer and hopefully always will be, for as it has been said, they are the lifeblood of our program. Being involved with this meeting has been a labor of love for the many people who have helped to keep the doors open. There are too many people to thank within the confines of this story. Suffice to say that those of you who have helped to keep this meeting alive know who you are, and we truly thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
May the God of your understanding continue to bless you and keep you – always.