What is Heroin Anonymous?

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What is Heroin Anonymous?

At Cirque Lodge, we understand how devastating heroin addiction is.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around 20% of people who try heroin will become addicted. Heroin addiction quickly dominates every facet of our lives, and we suffer extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if we stop without medical supervision. However, it is possible to recover from heroin addiction and live a fruitful and fulfilling life.

Recovery at Cirque Lodge starts with medical detox, where we slowly reduce the physical hold heroin has on your body. Then, in your customized therapy program, you can start to explore your addiction mentally.

As any former addict will tell you, recovery requires constant maintenance. 12-step groups such as Heroin Anonymous are a fantastic way to continue your journey of recovery. They center on spiritual development and staying abstinent through altruism. We use the principles of the 12-steps as the bedrock of our recovery program, so you will be very familiar with them by the time you graduate.

What is Heroin Anonymous? Overview

Understanding the 12-Steps

“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness” – Promise One, Alcoholics Anonymous

The 12-steps were developed in the 1930s through a chance meeting between Bob Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They both struggled with alcohol and found that traditional therapies did not work for them.

However, they found that as they helped each other, they remained sober. They realized that being accountable, being altruistic, and focusing on spiritual development were the keys to staying sober and living a happy life.

It is important to note that many of the traditional therapies of the 1930s are no longer used. It was common for people who struggled with alcoholism to be confined to mental institutions or given electroshock therapy. The 12-steps, though, are entirely compatible with more modern and compassionate approaches such as CBT and EMDR.

Since their inception, hundreds of thousands of AA meetings have sprung up across the globe. Meetings are completely free to attend and are available in over 180 countries.

The Road To Recovery Starts With You

Why Heroin Anonymous?

One vital part of 12-step meetings (or ‘the fellowship’) is identifying with other people’s experiences.

A famous mantra is ‘look for the similarities, not the differences.” When we see that someone has had a similar history of using drugs or alcohol to us and has remained sober, it is a great source of hope and inspiration. There is a wide range of in-person and online meetings available.

While 12-step meetings are inclusive spaces and will welcome anyone with a desire to stop using drugs or alcohol, many attendees find it helpful to hear other people’s experiences with their particular drug of choice.

In 2004, Paul F., a recovering heroin user who attended AA, received a phone call asking him why there was no specific fellowship for heroin. At that moment, he decided to start Heroin Anonymous (HA) “so that we could have our own fellowship where we could be with others who truly understood our experience with heroin addiction.”

The first HA meeting was in Phoenix, Arizona. Since then, HA has spread to multiple countries. Thousands of people have found recovery, started new meetings, and shared new ideas and perspectives.

The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using heroin. HA is a fellowship that encourages members to accept that they are powerless over their addiction but that altruism and spiritual development can help them remain sober.

What Can I Expect at a Heroin Anonymous Meeting?

People go to meetings to connect with others and to share their own experience.

Often, they will have a ‘main sharer’ who will talk about their experience with the 12-steps in general or a certain subject.

The main shares usually last for ten to twenty minutes, after which the floor is opened up for others to share back. Some people talk about their experience with the steps, but you are free to talk about whatever you want.

Anonymity is one of the foundations of the 12-step fellowship. What happens in meetings stays in meetings – they do not take attendance records, and you do not need to identify yourself with your full name.

Change Your Life Today

The 12-Steps According to Heroin Anonymous

The 12-step program is based on maintaining a spiritual program.

12-step fellowships understand addiction as a two-part condition – a physical allergy to substances that causes us to lose control and a spiritual malady that makes life without substances unbearable.

The 12-steps is an all-encompassing program. You will learn compassion for yourself and others, get a chance to right some of your past wrongs, and have a framework for how to best live your life.

Abstinence does not have to be unhappy. We appreciate that many people who arrive at our doors have found sobriety extremely difficult. However, with the proper support and plan of action, recovery is very rewarding.

The 12-steps are a linear guide to finding recovery, one day at a time. The 12-steps of Heroin Anonymous are:

  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. We are 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.

Although these might seem complicated, they are incredibly straightforward. They center around helping others through the steps – this is called ‘sponsoring’. Usually, at the end of meetings, there is a show of hands of people available to sponsor.

Higher Power

The 12-steps mention ‘God’ throughout, and many people assume this means organized religion. However, the 12-steps are more about finding your own interpretation of spirituality.

Many people find it helpful to replace the word ‘God’ with ‘higher power.’ Simply put, addiction is a powerful disease. We need to rely on something equally as strong to help us.

Spirituality is open to interpretation. For some people, it could be yoga, while others may find solace in meditation. Some of us choose to pray traditionally, and some find the act of helping others spiritual enough.

How you choose to incorporate the steps into your life and understand a higher power is profoundly personal and totally up to you. At Cirque Lodge, we provide the perfect environment for you to start your journey and work out what suits you.

Recovery at Cirque Lodge

At Cirque Lodge, we pride ourselves on creating a unique experience for every client.

No two people are the same, and no two addictions have the same backstory.

We provide an in-depth assessment and a customized treatment plan. You will get the privacy and space to find yourself again and the network and fellowship support to maintain your recovery.

It is possible to recover from addiction. If you are struggling with heroin addiction, one of the bravest things you can do is ask for help.

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Cirque Lodge offers a combination of experiential, behavioral, and group therapies to provide a holistic and enriching treatment experience.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, please contact us today. We can help.