Personal anonymity is the right of every D.R.A.
member. We practice anonymity at the level of public media.
DRA is an independent, self-help
organization. Our goal is to help men and women who experience a
dual illness. We are chemically dependent and we are also
affected by an emotional or psychiatric illness. Both illnesses
affect us in all areas of our lives; physically,
psychologically, socially, and spiritually.
The primary purpose of DRA is to
help one another achieve dual recovery, to prevent relapse, and
to carry the message of recovery to others who experience dual
DRA has two requirements for
membership; a desire to stop using alcohol and other
intoxicating drugs and a desire to manage our emotional or
psychiatric illness in a healthy and constructive way.
DRA is a nonprofessional
self-help program. There must always be a clear boundary
separating the work of DRA from the work of chemical dependency
and mental health professionals. The DRA fellowship has no
opinion on matters of diagnosis, treatment, medication, or other
issues related to the health-care professions.
The DRA fellowship is not
affiliated with any other self-help organization or Twelve Step
program. DRA has no opinion on the way other groups address the
problems of dual disorders and dual recovery. We do not
criticize the efforts of others.
The DRA Central Service Office
will offer support to others who wish to start DRA meetings and
who wish to work with other groups to carry the message.
Newcomers and visitors may ask, Can a DRA
program help me even with the type of symptoms that I have? Such
feelings are not uncommon. We need to help newcomers recognize
that a variety of symptoms are possible with a dual illness.
There is no single type of dual disorder.
chemical problems also vary. For example:
|One man used alcohol, while another used many different
|One woman got high daily, while another got high only once
|Some of us have been in treatment programs several times
for our chemical dependency, while others have received
outpatient care while living at home.
|Some of us have been clean and sober for a long time,
while others have yet to become abstinent.|
We have found that this is also true when we
consider the symptoms of our specific psychiatric illness and
worry that they will set us apart from others. For example:
|Some of us use prescription medications to control our
symptoms, while others have symptoms that need no
|Some of us have struggled for many years with our
psychiatric illness, while others have just begun to
experience the onset of symptoms.
|Some of us have experienced changes in our ability to
perceive reality clearly and have experienced
hallucinations, whether they come in the form of hearing
voices or seeing visions.
|Some of us have felt increased energy or have experienced
changes in our ability to think and make judgments. We may
have also found that our thoughts sometimes race and seem to
go out of control.
|Some of us have felt a loss of energy, a loss of enjoyment
of life, and have perceived life from a negative
perspective. Perhaps our sleeping patterns and appetite have
changed as well. We may have become suicidal. We may find
that we have difficulties with our thoughts and
These lists are far from complete, but they
point to a common bond: both men and women are affected by
different types of no-fault illnesses whose symptoms can disrupt
the ability to function and relate to others effectively. Some
of us feared that we were becoming hopelessly impaired. We came
to believe that we would never be “normal” again. Many of us
have experienced great shame and guilt. We believed that our
emotional or psychiatric illness and chemical dependency were
our fault. Some of us have become secretive. We tried to keep
our drinking and drug use a secret, and later some of us felt a
need to keep our recovery and Steps a secret. We also felt our
psychiatric illness must be kept secret, especially if our
recovery program included prescription medication.
We seemed to run out of ways to protect our
feelings and self-esteem, and to protect ourselves from the
attitudes of those around us. Many of us gradually went into a
closet of denial. If there are any among us who have felt as
though they were living in that closet, we welcome you. We want
you to know that the fear, isolation, and secrecy, no longer
need be a part of your life.