Opiates Anonymous Preamble
Opiates Anonymous is a Twelve step fellowship whose members have a desire to stop using opiates and all other mind altering substances. Our members share their experience on how they have recovered from a hopeless state so that they may help others to recover. We do not endorse nor oppose any outside causes. We wish to stay free from any controversy. We are not affiliated with any political organizations, religions, sects, or denominations. Our Seventh Tradition states that we are fully self-supporting declining outside contributions. The only membership requirement is a desire to stop using opiates and all other mind-altering substances. Our Fifth Tradition states that our primary purpose is to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. Our Twelve Step Recovery Program is based on the instructions in the first 164 pages of the book Alcoholics Anonymous because our experience has shown us that it is simple and that it works.
Why use the book Alcoholics Anonymous as the guide for Opiates Anonymous?
The book Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as the “Big Book”) is the original text from which all other Twelve Step programs were formed. We prefer its clear-cut and simple approach. The book Alcoholics Anonymous contains a written set of instructions for an alcoholic to recover that has proven itself over time to work for addicts also. It was written in 1939 through the experience of the first alcoholics who had gotten sober in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This program of recovery described in the Big Book has not changed. In 1939, they humbly wrote “We realize we only know a little”1 but their countless experiences with the human condition were right on point. In 1955 when the Second Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous was published, many alcoholics who contributed to the writing already had twenty years of experience and did not change any of the content from the First Edition. The program was not broken; so they did not need to fix it. In 1955, they had enough humility not to alter the content. It was working as thousands and thousands of people were getting sober. Books were selling, and AA groups were forming across the U.S. and worldwide. There were great challenges in handling the fellowship’s tremendous growth. The fellowship endured trial and error until the Twelve Traditions helped create unity and AA’s primary purpose.
In Opiates Anonymous, we heard the stories, and we witnessed the miracles of those members who fully embraced this Twelve Step design for living. We witnessed and experienced the same blessings that those in AA witnessed and experienced. So how could a solution from the 1930’s work for the addict today? Key factors involving addiction and human nature have not changed. Furthermore, founders of other Twelve Step programs got clean and sober from the program in the Big Book before starting new fellowships. We are grateful to them for leading by example and showing the world that addicts can recover through the Twelve Step process outlined in the Big Book. In Opiates Anonymous, we prefer to use the same book as our guide that countless addicts have used as their guide for years.
Why is Opiates Anonymous – “opiates and all mind-altering substances?”
Step One is all inclusive because as addicts we cannot have any mind-altering substance. It has been our
experience that if we ingest any mind altering substance that we are feeding the problem since
addiction centers in the mind. Based on our experience, if we have one of any mind-altering substance
our mind is tainted. While under the influence of some “milder” substance, we are more likely to
believe the lie that we are going to control our opiate or other drug use. We think it is important to
address this. Hence, Opiates Anonymous’ Step One includes “opiates and all mind-altering substances”.
We model our twelve step program after AA with the exception of switching alcohol to opiates but
including all mind-altering substances because of the aforementioned reasons. AA is any drug under the
classification of alcohol – i.e vodka, beer, wine, whiskey etc. In Opiates Anonymous, we emphasize any
drug under the opiate/opiod classification i.e, Vicodin, morphine, heroin, oxycodone, Percocet etc.
We recognize that there is a technical difference between opiates and opiods. Nevertheless, we try
to keep our program simple and recognize the common effects that opiates and opioids have on an addict.
However, all who think they may have a drug problem are welcome. At our meetings, about 95% of the members
are there for opiates so the identification is largely skewed to the opiate addict. It has been our experience
that the approximate 5% who sought help as the result of the inability to stop drugs other than those in the opiate/opiod classification do not detract from the opiate addict’s identification.
We have found through our twelve step work in rehabs, detoxes and other institutions that we can
reach more people if we do not single out a particular substance. The identification is largely with the
opiate classification. We have found that many addicts have started with opiate pills and then their addiction
progresses. If we can get the hopeless and willing addict in to a twelve step program before their addiction
progresses, that may saves lives if they can get a connection with Power to stop sooner rather
than later. We have to attract them though. Hence, the names Opiates Anonymous.
HOW WE RECOVER
Staying free from opiates after we have detoxed is our dilemma. All of us are familiar with the battle that we face in our minds, the excuses we tell ourselves. The pain is too great. I can’t handle life’s troubles. We all have given in to the delusion that it will be different this time, or we can handle it this time. We of Opiates Anonymous understand. We have all been there. You may be asking: so how is it that we have recovered? The First Step of recovery is admitting we are powerless over opiates and all other mind-altering substances; that we are unable to prevent the terrible cycle of addiction from starting all over again. Opiates Anonymous is a Spiritual program not a religious one. Each of us gets to choose our own idea of a Power greater than our selves.
Here are the steps we took to recover from addiction.
- We admitted we were powerless over opiates and all other mind-altering substances — that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The Twelve Steps are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous does not mean that A.A. is affiliated with this program. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism.
In December of 2012, a group of members of a twelve step fellowship in Nassau County, NY had been discussing
the idea of creating a new fellowship to attract opiate addicts. On Thursday January 24, 2013 members of the
other twelve step fellowship met after a meeting and agreed on the name Opiates Anonymous for the new fellowship.
The group then approached AA World Services to seek approval to use the twelve steps and twelve traditions of AA.
AA accepted the request to adopt AA’s twelve steps for the new fellowship.
Members of the group then searched for places to start a new meeting. The first meeting for Opiates Anonymous was held on Wednesday March 6, 2013 at 8 PM in Wantagh, NY. The room was full and then meetings began to start in other locations.
Shortly after the first meeting of Opiates Anonymous, members of other fellowships began discussing the
idea of taking a vote through their group conscience to change the fellowship to Opiates Anonymous. Members
quickly realized that the overwhelming majority of the members were opiate addicts. The groups realized
that Tradition Eleven could work to the newcomers advantage to attract them and get them in the door to hear
the twelve step message of recovery based on the Big Book of AA. Group conscience votes were taken and two more
meetings were added in April of 2013. Since then meetings have sprung up in several southern NY counties. Inquiries from people in a number of states started to come in and Opiates Anonymous now has meetings across the US and in Canada.