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Heroin Anonymous (HA) – 12 Step Program

What is Heroin Anonymous?

As more and more 12-step programs pop up, while the basis of each of these programs can be traced back to Alcoholics Anonymous, each program is slowly specifying an addiction for those in seeking out recovery. Heroin Anonymous, a fellowship that was created for heroin addicts who were seeking recovery, is another 12-step program designed to help assist individuals who were still sick and suffering in their addiction.

What is the Heroin Anonymous program like?

Similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, the program of Heroin Anonymous is a fellowship and organization developed to help heroin addicts find recovery. The goal for addicts who enter the program is not just to abstain from heroin, but to abstain from all drugs and alcohol as well. Although the title implies abstinence from one particular drug, as many addicts know, abstaining from all drugs and alcohol is the only way to maintain sobriety.

Heroin Anonymous is similar to other 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There are twelve steps in place for each member to work through, as well as twelve traditions. The only requirement for membership to Heroin Anonymous is the desire to stop suffering from heroin addiction. There are no dues or membership fees required for attending Heroin Anonymous meetings. While all of the steps are similar to other programs, they are slightly tweaked to pinpoint the specificity of the addiction.

When did Heroin Anonymous start?

Heroin Anonymous began in July 2004. Two addicts who were in recovery and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Paul F. and Mike S., found themselves wondering why there was no program available that targeted heroin addiction recovery. Shortly after the discussion of a potential program came about, the two men held their first meeting in August 2004 and more was developed as Paul F. began writing the pamphlets and literature for the program.

There were pamphlets made for Heroin Anonymous as well as the information on how the meeting formats were to take place as well as more information on the meetings. As more and more meetings were being held, the Heroin Anonymous Interface was developed in November 2004.

What is the effectiveness of Heroin Anonymous?

Like many other 12-step programs, Heroin Anonymous is as effective as the individuals who work the program. Working the program, attending meetings and obtaining a sponsor is necessary to recovery for members in the fellowship. While Heroin Anonymous is not an alternative to medical treatment, it has been a successful program to those who work the steps and abstain from drugs and alcohol. Even if medical treatment is sought, 12-step programs are often necessary and recommended to continue treatment in addiction recovery.

From 2002 to 2013, heroin abuse rates increased by 63% and the epidemic continues to grow worldwide. In 2013, over 8,000 people died from heroin overdoses. The program is intended to assist those seeking recovery from their addiction and is as successful as each individual makes it. The membership of Heroin Anonymous is still growing worldwide and new meetings are developed everyday.

Is there literature for Heroin Anonymous?

Unlike some of the other well known 12-step programs, there is no Big Book or literature for Heroin Anonymous, but much of the resources and literature is available online to those seeking to know more about the program.

The official Heroin Anonymous website offers information about the twelve steps, twelve traditions and more for members who are new to the meetings and want to know more about what the program entails. There are monthly bulletins released with all of the program’s updates as well as stories from other recovering addicts to share with members of the fellowship. The program of Heroin Anonymous also has available dates for the convention that is held every so often, including ways to obtain tickets to attend these events. For those who can’t attend, copies of the speakers at these conventions can be found on their website for members to listen to other recovering addicts’ stories.

Not only does the website offer everything online, but they also provide information for meetings and meeting formats for members of the program who are willing to start their own meetings in their local areas.

How can you be successful in Heroin Anonymous?

The first step to being successful in Heroin Anonymous is to admit powerlessness of your heroin addiction and to abstain from drugs and alcohol. The program provides steps for members to work and a place to build a support system with other addicts who are in recovery. Working the program’s twelve steps is one way to ensure that sobriety from drugs and alcohol is maintained.

Like other 12-step programs, attending meetings and obtaining a sponsor is another tool to utilize while working the program. Sharing experiences, strength and hope with other members in recovery reminds addicts who are still sick and suffering that they are not alone. Heroin Anonymous is a place for those seeking recovery to grow with other individuals like them. Although every member’s story is a little bit different, the goal of recovery is something all of the addicts are striving for when joining the fellowship of Heroin Anonymous.

The 12 steps of Heroin Anonymous (HA)

1. We admitted we were powerless over heroin – that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to heroin addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


The 12 Traditions of Heroin Anonymous (HA)

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon H.A. unity.

2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for H.A. membership is a desire to stop suffering from heroin addiction.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or H.A. as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the heroin addict who still suffers.

6. A H.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the H.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every H.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. Heroin Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9. H.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. Heroin Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the H.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.


Read more about 12-step programs for substance abuse.

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