Methadone Anonymous: A 12-Step Program for Methadone Maintained Heroin Addicts


Methadone Anonymous (MA) is a new 12-step fellowship developed for methadone maintained heroin addicts. A total of 53 MA members completed a survey assessing factors related to methadone maintenance treatment program (MMTP) entry, drug use, MA participation, beliefs concerning effectiveness of MMTP and MA, and level of social cohesiveness. Length of time in MA was associated with a decreased use of alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana. Clients rated components of MA to be significantly more helpful to recovery than MMTP treatment components. Affiliation to five MA members known best by the respondents was significantly greater than affiliation to non-MA members. Length of time in MA was positively associated with MA affiliation. Social affiliation and endorsement of 12-step principles were positively correlated. These findings suggest that MA participation has benefits not available in professionally driven MMTP, and should be further studied.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    McGonogle D: Methadone Anonymous: A 12 step program reducing the stigma of methadone use. J Psychosoc Nurs 1994; 32:5–12

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Webster's Desk Dictionary of the English Language. New York: Gramercy Books; 1983

  3. 3.

    A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous. New York: Alcoholics AnonymousWorld Services; 1972

  4. 4.

    Wilson W: The society of Alcoholics Anonymous. Am J Psychiatry 1994; 151(June):259–262

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Peyrot M: Narcotics Anonymous: Its history, structure, and approach. Intern J Addict 1985; 20:1509–1522

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Galanter M: Zealous self-help groups as adjuncts to psychiatric treatment: A study of Recovery, Inc. Am J Psychiatry 1988; 145(Oct.): 1248–1253

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Galanter M, Egelko S, Edwards H: Rational Recovery: Alternative to AA for addiction? Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 1993; 19:499–510

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Goldfarb L, Galanter M, McDowell D, Lifshutz H, Dermatis H: Medical student and patient attitudes toward religion and spirituality in the recovery process. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 1996; 22:549–561

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Galanter M: “Moonies” get married: A psychiatric follow-up study of a charismatic religious sect. Am J Psychiatry 1986; 143(Oct.): 1245–1249

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Galanter M: Engaged members of the Unification Church: Impact of a charismatic large group on adaptation and behavior. Arch Gen Psychitary 1983; 40(Nov.): 1197–1202

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Galanter M, Talbott D, Gallegos K, Rubenstone E: Combined Alcoholics Anonymous and professional care for addicted physicians. Am J Psychiatry 1990; 147(Jan.):64–68

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Berenson D: A systematic view of spirituality: God and twelve step programs as recourses in family therapy. J Strat Syst Ther 1990; 9:59–70

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Feagin J: Prejudice and religious types: A focused study of southern fundamentalists. J Sci Study Religion 1964; 4:3–13

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    AlcoholicsAnonymous1998 Membership Survey.NewYork: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services; 1999

  15. 15.

    Chatham L, Hiller M, Rowan-Szal G, Joe G, Simpson D: Gender differences at admission and followup in a sample of methadone maintenance clients. Subst Use Misuse 1999; 34: 1137–1165

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Murray J: Effectiveness of methadone maintenance for heroin addiction. Psychol Rep 1998; 83:295–302

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Milby J, Sims M, Khuder S, Schumacher J, Huggins N: Psychiatric co-morbidity: Prevalence in methadone maintenance treatment. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 1996; 22:95–107

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Pani P, Trogu E, Contu P, Agus A, Gessa G: Psychiatric severity and treatment response in a comprehensive methadone maintenance treatment program. Drug Alcohol Dependence 1997; 48:119–126

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Brecht M, Anglin M, Wang J:Treatment effectiveness for legally coerced versus voluntary methadone maintenance clients. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 1993; 19:89–106

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Grella C, Anglin M, Wugalter S: Patterns and predictors of cocaine and crack use by clients in standard and enhanced methadone maintenance treatment. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 1997; 23:15–42

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marc Galanter.

About this article

Cite this article

Gilman, S.M., Galanter, M. & Dermatis, H. Methadone Anonymous: A 12-Step Program for Methadone Maintained Heroin Addicts. Subst Abus 22, 247–256 (2001).

Download citation

  • methadone anonymous
  • methadone maintenance
  • social affiliation spirituality
  • recovery