​​Opiates Anonymous World Services

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​Why use the book Alcoholics Anonymous as the guide for Opiates Anonymous?

In Opiates Anonymous, we prefer the original twelve step program which was outlined in the book Alcoholics Anonymous.  Besides differences in Step One, a comparison of twelve step literature makes it apparent that not all twelve step programs are in fundamental agreement with the original program. We recognize that others may have found that a different approach with Twelve Steps, other than the original program, may work for them. 

In Opiates Anonymous our Step One is: “We admitted we were powerless over opiates and all mind altering substances – that our lives had become unmanageable”.  We are of the belief that Step One means that addicts of the hopeless variety will use no matter what. We refer to an addict of the hopeless variety as one who is not able to stop and stay stopped no matter what potential solution they have tried to stop using drugs. For this reason, we recognize that addicts need to tap into a power greater than themselves to prevent them from using as soon as they are willing to take action. For us, keeping the program as simple as possible makes it more practical. This is just our preference. 

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 to recover that has proven itself over time. Written in 1939 by the experience of the first one hundred alcoholics to get sober in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the program of recovery described in the Big Book has not changed. In 1955 at the writing of the Second Edition of the Big Book, many alcoholics who contributed to the writing of the Second Edition had twenty years of experience at that point.  So what did they find needed to be changed in the program of recovery from the countless experiences of the first 100 alcoholics from 1939? Nothing. It was not broken, so they did not need to fix it.  In 1939, they humbly wrote “we realize we only know a little.”  However, in 1955 they did not know any more than in 1939. The countless experiences with the human condition in the 1930’s proved to be right on point. They had enough humility to show restraint not to change anything just because they could in 1955.  It was working as thousands and thousands were getting sober, books were selling, and AA groups were forming all over the US and worldwide.  There were great challenges to handle their tremendous growth and the fellowship was trial and error until the traditions helped create unity and a primary purpose.

In Opiates Anonymous, we heard the stories and we witnessed the miracles for those who fully embraced this twelve step design for living. We witnessed and experienced the same blessings that those in AA had witnessed and experienced. So how could a solution from the 1930’s work for the addict today? Three key factors have not changed. The idea of choosing one’s own conception of a higher power has not changed since 1939, neither has human nature nor mankind’s addiction to chemical fixes. Furthermore, founders of other twelve- step programs got clean and sober in AA before helping to start new fellowships.  We are grateful to them for leading by example and showing the world that addicts could 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.

*Although OPA is based on the program of recovery outlined in the  "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous, OPA is not affiliated with AA.