How Heroin Anonymous Can Support Opioid Recovery

Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on October 13, 2022

Heroin Anonymous (HA) is a nonprofit fellowship that organizes meetings to help people with a current or former addiction to heroin achieve a fully sober, drug-free life.

Modeled after the 12-step program, Alcoholics Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous does not offer chemical dependency treatment, medical treatment, psychiatric services, or drug counseling.

What it can offer is a sense of community. The self-supporting nonprofit hosts support groups for people across the world. Its primary purpose is to help people with heroin addiction stay sober.

What Are The Goals Of Heroin Anonymous?

Heroin Anonymous was created in Phoenix, Arizona with the primary goal of helping people get off heroin and stay off heroin — for good. It is not a formal treatment for heroin addiction.

Heroin Anonymous meetings (both in-person and online meetings) follow the 12 steps.

Those 12 steps are outlined in the “Big Book,” from Alcoholics Anonymous, which is another fellowship that supports those with a history of alcohol abuse.

What Are The 12 Steps Of Heroin Anonymous?

The “twelve steps” refers to twelve steps, or stages, of the addiction recovery process, as outlined within the Big Book, originally developed for Alcoholics Anonymous.

The twelve steps of Heroin Anonymous are as follows:

  1. Admitting you are powerless over heroin
  2. Believing a higher power can restore you to a state of wellbeing
  3. Deciding to turn your will and life over to the care of a higher power
  4. Making a searching and fearless inventory of yourself
  5. Admitting the exact nature of your wrongs to God/a higher power and others 
  6. Becoming ready to have God remove defects of character
  7. Asking God/your higher power to remove your shortcomings
  8. Making a list of all of those who you have harmed
  9. Making direct amends to those who you have harmed, when possible
  10. Taking a personal, mental inventory of yourself and your actions
  11. Seeking through prayer/meditation to improve your contact with a higher power
  12. Carrying the message of the 12 steps to others who are in the process of addiction recovery

Do You Need To Be Religious To Attend Heroin Anonymous?

No. Although the program is spiritually based, you do not need to be religious to attend HA’s 12 step meetings. The only requirement to join HA is a desire to be free from heroin addiction.

Does Heroin Anonymous Support Medication Assisted Treatment?

The philosophy of Heroin Anonymous, like Alcoholics Anonymous and Crystal Meth Anonymous, is based on an abstinence-based approach to drug addiction recovery.

That means medication-assisted treatment, the most effective treatment for opioid addiction, does not fall within their definition of a drug-free recovery.

This view is controversial. Federal health agencies, and most addiction treatment professionals, support the use of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD).

Medications approved to treat opioid addiction include:

  • methadone
  • buprenorphine (Subutex)
  • buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone, Zubsolv)
  • naltrexone (Vivitrol)

Generally, medication for opioid use disorder is provided alongside other behavioral health treatments, such as addiction counseling and behavioral therapy.

What Are The Benefits Of Medication For Opioid Addiction Recovery?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), MAT delivered by a healthcare provider can offer a number of benefits.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can:

  • help reduce heroin cravings
  • relieve symptoms of withdrawal
  • increase safety in cases of overdose
  • reduce relapse risk
  • improve pregnancy outcomes (in those who are pregnant)

Can You Take Medication And Attend Heroin Anonymous?

Not all HA facilitators who conduct meetings will require that those who attend be completely substance-free. 

At Bedrock Recovery Center, for instance, we offer both medication for heroin addiction and 12-step groups for clients who are in the process of addiction recovery.

Our treatment center, based in Massachusetts, recognizes MAT as an effective, evidence-based treatment for heroin addiction.

Find Heroin Addiction Treatment In Massachusetts

Bedrock Recovery Center is a leading rehab center in Canton, Massachusetts that treats a variety of addictions, including heroin addiction.

Our treatment facility offers detox, residential treatment, dual diagnosis care for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, and a 12-step program.

For more information about our heroin addiction treatment programs for yourself or a loved one, call our helpline today.

  1. Heroin Anonymous World Services — Literature
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Medication-Assisted Treatment
  3. U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Medications to Treat Opioid Use Disorder Research Report

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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