What is Heroin Anonymous?
Most people are aware of group support therapies like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, even those who have not personally struggled with addictions or who do not know anyone who has had an addiction.
These groups were developed to help struggling alcoholics and drug addicts overcome their problems in a group environment by providing them with a support mechanism that allows them to share their experiences and insights with others.
What about people who struggle with specific addictions, though? Alcoholics Anonymous is a group for alcoholics, and while you may occasionally find drug addicts at AA meetings if there are no local NA or other support meetings for them, AA meetings are intended to help alcoholics.
Narcotics Anonymous is a group for drug addicts, but the group tends to blanket all drug addictions under the same name. People who have addictions to specific drugs, like heroin, might not be able to find the support that they need in a group that is as diverse as NA and aims to help all sorts of people with different drug addictions. Sometimes, people need their problem addressed directly.
This is where groups like Heroin Anonymous come into play. Heroin Anonymous helps connect people who have struggled with heroin addiction and are working to overcome it.
How is a Heroin Anonymous different?
Most support groups for drug addictions function in a very similar manner. Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous both have websites that are run by an organization and give some general dictations as to how the group sessions should be run.
Heroin Anonymous is often run by people from similar organizations, and follows a similar structure. They have a website that gives a general description, like NA and AA, but meetings are locally set up by separate organizations.
HA groups focus on heroin addicts, but they may not be easily found in smaller locales - towns and small cities don’t often have a need to individualize support groups if one NA group can encompass most of the local recovering addicts.
HA groups and all the other support groups for recovering addicts follow a similar itinerary.
The group sessions are typically led by some sort of group leader - more of an organizational figure than an authoritarian one. They don't direct the group, rather, they just help to ensure that everyone is organized and can communicate effectively. They will help to ensure everybody is comfortable and able to share their stories with each other equally.
Typically, these meetings begin by everybody taking a seat in a circle. Everybody at the meeting will introduce themselves by saying, “My name is X and I am a heroin addict. All the members of the group must say this, regardless of what stage of their addiction they are in. Even if they have not used heroin in several years, they must begin by saying that they are a heroin addict.
This helps to put everybody on the same level of equality, and allows everybody to communicate more honestly and openly. It also helps remind the members that the battle against addiction is a lifelong struggle, and they won’t ever be cured of addiction - but remembering that they are in recovery can help them abstain.
After everybody has introduced themselves, the group leader may open up with a theme or suggest something for people to talk about. After this, the group session tends to govern itself. People can share as much or as little as they want, provided that they don't try to overtake the session by talking only about themselves. This is one of the functions of the group's moderator - making sure that no one person takes over the conversation.
During the session, people can ask for advice, share things that they have learned that might help other people get through their addictions, or simply sit and listen if they don't feel comfortable sharing anything or don't feel that they have anything to offer.
Should I go to Heroin Anonymous?
Not every recovering heroin addict will find it necessary to attend a group therapy session. However, a lot of recovering addicts have said that group therapy is one of the most rewarding and effective things that somebody can do if they are hoping to stop using drugs.
If you have attempted to stop using heroin before, only to find yourself or relapsing after being sober for a while, you might want to consider going to a group therapy session. Many people who once worried that they were not going to ever knock their addiction out have a said that group therapy was the one thing that actually gave them the drive to stop using for the long-term.
If you are feeling hopeless, or you are feeling that your addiction is your problem and yours alone, then you might benefit from going to group therapy. These feelings are very scary to face alone, and trying to do so can lead someone to relapsing, sheerly from the amount of stress that they are facing from trying to cope with their recovery. Attending a group therapy session can take a lot of this stress off of your shoulders and make it much easier for you to look at your recovery rationally and consider sobriety in the long-term without feeling anxious.
Where can I find Heroin Anonymous?
If you want to find a Heroin Anonymous group in your locale, there are a number of ways to go about doing so. First off, you will want to check with any local rehab facilities. Rehab facilities often have a list of local group therapies, because group therapy is often considered a vital part of rehabilitation aftercare.
If you cannot get a hold of a rehab center, you can check online to see if there are any registered Heroin Anonymous groups.
Heroin Anonymous is not nearly as widespread as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, so you might have to look a bit harder to find one in your area. Alternatively, you might have to travel out of your own city to find a group to help you.