Pills Anonymous is a fellowship support group comprised of those in recovery from addiction to prescription drugs. The program itself is based on a 12 step program similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous though these two groups are not actually affiliated. For these members their addiction to prescription pills has become a serious issue in their life on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Members meet regularly in order to share their experience, strength and hope all resulting in a safe and healthy environment for recovery and staying clean.
Pills Anonymous require members to have the desire for abstinence from not only pills but also from all other drugs and alcohol and any medications not taken as prescribed. Any mind altering substances are not condoned by the program without medical necessity.
Many often confuse Pills Anonymous with a religious program. This is not the case; Pills Anonymous, as with other 12 step programs, are not strictly religious but are founded in spirituality. Religion is allowed on an individual member by member basis. However the fellowship itself does not endorse any religion, political movement or any potentially controversial movement. Spirituality is important in the program and comes into practice by use of the twelve steps.
The twelve steps of Pills Anonymous are a set of principles and actions that members follow and are taken through by a sponsor. A sponsor is a member who has already been through the twelve steps and so can guide another. The sponsor helps to support and advise their ‘sponsee’ through their recovery. The steps themselves promote a path of recovery and sobriety. The steps, in essence teach the member to be more spiritual in their personal relationships with themselves and others. Steps include realization of the powerless to their addiction, searching within oneself and identify what they see in themself, making amends to those they have wronged and eventually leads to the helping of others. The steps are a guide to leading a better and more fulfilled life.
Mindfulness is an important teaching of Pills Anonymous. Mindfulness is seen through the idea of ‘one day at a time’. This practice helps members to focus on the here and now and so not be overwhelmed by a daunting and challenging future. Taking sobriety a day at a time is a much easier and manageable task which many find more useful and beneficial especially in early sobriety.
The three basic actions for recovery promoted by Pills Anonymous are as follows:
1. Attending meetings and fellowships; Regular meeting attendance allows members to meet others with similar issues and so build up a support network for their recovery. In the event of any troubles such as a feeling of about to relapse one can attend a meeting and share their thoughts and feelings with others. Attending fellowship means going out with other members after meetings, normally to a restaurant or coffee shop. Doing this regularly also helps to meet members and solidify friendships that are recommended to be made in recovery.
2. Finding a sponsor and going through the steps; this is in essence the core of the program. Doing the steps is considered crucial for healthy recovery and continued sobriety. Having a sponsor means a member in trouble can have someone to call in times of emergency or when a member just needs to talk. Sponsors share their experiences from their addiction and recovery and can advise on the best ways to stay clean.
3. Service and commitments: being of service often means simple small tasks as having a commitment at meetings. Commitments can be anything from setting up chairs, being the treasurer, secretary or making sponsorship announcements at the end of meetings. They are usually small but commitments keep members attending meetings regularly and help others in the program to get to know you by standing out in the crowd.