Get help today 888-287-0471 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

What Is Heroin Anonymous or HA Meetings?

Heroin Anonymous or HA Meeting Near Me 

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of people who used heroin in 2019 was 745,000 (0.3%).1 This is an increase from the 0.3% in 2002.1 Also, heroin overdose death rates have risen dramatically, from 3,036 in 2010 to 14,019 in 2019.2 These trends stress the importance of adequate support for people who are struggling with addiction to heroin.

Heroin Anonymous (HA) is a community of people who have been brought together by their shared experience of recovery from heroin use.3 It’s a non-profit organization that provides free help for heroin addiction through regular HA meetings.3 Since its inception in 2004, it grew from a small support group to a well-established organization that operates internationally.4

What Are the 12 Steps of Heroin Anonymous?

Heroin Anonymous uses the 12-step approach that’s based on the effective and long-standing methodology of Alcoholics Anonymous.1 Members follow these guidelines to help them overcome challenges during their recovery process. They go through them in order. The steps are:3

  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 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.

What Are the Benefits of Joining a Heroin Anonymous Group?

Because the effects of heroin can be devastating and risks of relapse are high, HA meetings can play an important role in maintaining abstinence.5 People join these heroin support groups to share their story, connect with others who’ve been through similar experiences, and find strength to continue with their sober lifestyle. While it doesn’t offer professional counseling or medical treatment, the group forms a strong peer support system and provides the members with structure and encouragement.3 

While there’s limited research into the effectiveness of Heroin Anonymous, more has been written about the success rate of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, whose principles were the foundation for the establishment of HA. One study showed that 81% of people who regularly participated in 12-step meetings had been abstinent for the previous six months as opposed to only 26% of those who didn’t.6 Another one reports that 12-step group attendance increases the chances of maintaining abstinence.7

What Can I Expect at a Heroin Anonymous Meeting?

Heroin Anonymous meetings can either be open, meaning that only members can attend, or closed, which can also be attended by members’ loved ones or other people from the community.3 Most meetings start and end with a prayer. Typically, they follow these formats:3

  • Step study: Members talk about the 12 steps to gain a deeper understanding of HA’s guiding principles and learn how to apply them to their daily lives. 
  • Book study: Members discuss relevant reading material so they can get a better grasp on HA’s concepts and their application.
  • Participation: Members discuss their experiences, feelings, and thoughts together.
  • Speaker: One or several participants share their story, strengths, and hopes for the future.
  • H&I meetings: They take place in hospitals or other institutions, like prisons. Their purpose is to introduce people who struggle with addiction to the principles of HA.
  • Online meetings: They can either be email-based or voice meetings, which have a structure similar to live meetings.

What to Prepare Before Going for Heroin Anonymous Meetings?

Many people are anxious about attending HA meetings because they feel uneasy about sharing intimate details with strangers. They fear that other members may make their private issues public. However, anonymity is one of the main tenets of Heroin Anonymous. New members can rest assured that their privacy will be respected.3 

Every Heroin Anonymous meeting follows a predetermined structure in order to give each member enough time and space to listen, learn, and share.8 The group will share their guidelines with new members and expect them to follow them. For example, during a discussion, you can only express your opinion on its topic and the chairperson can stop you to give others time to speak.8

Where Can I Attend HA Meetings?

You can very likely find HA meetings near you because they take place in many locations across the USA.3 For example, people who are looking for peer help for heroin addiction can join Heroin Anonymous in Portland, Indianapolis, San Diego, and numerous other cities nationwide. You can use a practical locator tool provided by HA to explore meetings in your area.9

What Is the Duration of Heroin Anonymous?

This is up to every person to decide for themselves. Some people stay involved with the 12-step community for years while others choose to stop attending HA meetings early on in their recovery. However, some research shows that longer participation in 12-step programs is linked to sustaining abstinence.7

How to Get Help for Heroin Addiction Now?

Because heroin addiction has a high potential for overdose, it’s advisable to seek tailored, evidence-based treatment as soon as possible. Here at American Addiction Centers, we have a network of facilities across the U.S. where you can attend heroin support groups as well as receive professional help for heroin addiction.

If you aren’t sure if your insurance policy covers the cost of rehabilitation, you can call our helpline to talk to our understanding admissions navigators. They’ll listen to your concerns, provide you with different options for treatment, and verify your insurance while you’re on the phone

Frequently Asked Questions


Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.