12 Step Programs for Heroin Addiction Recovery

When it comes to the disease of addiction, finding a 12-step program is crucial to one’s physical, spiritual and emotional health. In many cases, it is a matter of life or death. For struggling addicts, 12-step programs are commonly used in order to help one arrest their addiction because there is no cure for this disease. Although there may not be a cure for heroin addiction, recovery is possible within the rooms of 12-step meetings.

12-Step Programs

While there is no cure for drug addiction, it has proven to be a treatable and manageable disorder. 12-step programs are usually non profit organizations that come together in order to help individuals recover from their addiction. While Alcoholics Anonymous was the first 12-step program, many groups began forming after its founding in the 1930s and started addressing other problems, such as substance abuse and behavioral compulsions. Because there are so many different problematic areas, it is important to find a group that can specialize in the addiction that one is suffering from.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is one of the biggest national crises that has a negative effect on everyone it impacts. Many individuals struggling with heroin addiction may have found the beginning of this problem when taking prescription opioids. A 2011 study showed that 4 to 6 percent of people who abuse prescription opioids eventually switched to using heroin instead. A 2018 survey showed that at least 128 people a day die from opioid overdoses, which can include heroin, prescription pain relievers and synthetic opioids.

Because the heroin epidemic continues to rise year after year, while pharmaceutical companies are finally taking stricter measures in prescribing opioids, it still cannot change the fact that more and more people are beginning to abuse heroin. While the short term effects of heroin use don’t last long enough to cause alarm, the long term effects can be devastating. Long term heroin use can cause collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, lung complications, liver and kidney disease and even death.

For many heroin addicts, choosing to quit using heroin can feel extremely difficult. According to the American Addiction Centers, it is one of the most difficult drugs to quit using. Heroin withdrawal begins within 24 hours of abstinence, can peak within 1-2 days, and can last up to a week or more. The withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, chills, headaches, insomnia, irritability and more.

Narcotics Anonymous

With the help of 12-step programs, many addicts have been able to recover from their addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. When it comes to recovering from heroin addiction, there are several 12-step groups available that can help its members maintain abstinence from heroin.

Narcotics Anonymous is one of the most well-known 12-step programs for individuals who suffer from substance abuse addiction. In 2017, a study showed that 1 out of 8 individuals who struggled with drug use disorder also struggled with another disorder, such as alcoholism. Because polysubstance dependence is prevalent in many individuals who suffer from substance abuse addiction, including heroin addicts, Narcotics Anonymous can be the best place for individuals to seek recovery from their addiction.

Once members join the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous, they can begin attending meetings, listening to other members’ stories, begin working the steps and finally maintain sobriety. Anyone is welcome to join the program as long as they have the desire to stop using, not only drugs, but alcohol as well. This program works for its members because it offers them the revelation that recovery from heroin addiction is possible for those who put hard work and effort into their program. Recovering from heroin addiction is not limited to getting sober, but it also includes making amends, addressing one’s character defects and continuous service work to maintain humility.

In 2015, Narcotics Anonymous distributed a membership survey to provide information about their fellowship and how the program works. One of the most important measurements taken by the survey was the responses from members measuring their clean-time in the program. 27% of participants reported 1-5 years of sobriety, 18% reported 6-10 years and 25% reported 20 years or more. Other important areas of measurement included improved family relationships, social connections, what areas drug abuse affected the most, and more.

More about Narcotics Anonymous.

Heroin Anonymous

While Heroin Anonymous is a newer group that wasn’t formed until 2004, members had clearly envisioned a group that had a more specific focus for individuals that struggled with heroin addiction. Like Narcotics Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous encourages members to maintain abstinence from all drugs and alcohol, because, for an addict, “one time” or “one kind” has proven to be impossible.

For many heroin addicts, having a sense of belonging with other individuals who understand what they are going through is enough to want to obtain what they have. Heroin Anonymous offers a safe place for its members to discuss their problems, their solutions, and focus on what they can need to do to achieve sobriety and begin living a happy and healthy life.

The program of Heroin Anonymous can be extremely beneficial for its members. Like many other 12-step groups for substance abuse, members are not limited to only having a problem with heroin. In combination with other therapies, 12-step programs have proven to help keep their members sober, build a strong support system in the case of a relapse, and help them improve their quality of life.

More about Heroin Anonymous.

Can heroin addicts attend AA meetings?

While in the rooms of AA, you will find a number of members who were heroin addicts. Though the program is focused on alcoholism and members identify as alcoholics, many of us who have used and abused multiple substances find that AA is the best fit for recovery.