12 Steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous

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12 Steps of DRA

What are the Twelve Steps for dual recovery?

The Twelve Steps offer a simple plan for dual recovery. The plan is divided into twelve parts or steps. They are adapted from the principles of the traditional Twelve Steps, the personal experiences of men and women in dual recovery, and on the principles of personal freedom and choice.

The Twelve Steps of DRA are specifically designed to help members stop using alcohol and other intoxicating drugs, maintain their recovery, and prevent relapse. The Twelve Steps of DRA encourage members to develop and follow a healthy and constructive plan to manage their emotional or psychiatric illnesses. By practising the Twelve Steps for dual recovery, members find that they are better able to improve the quality of their lives.

DRA members are free to develop their own beliefs and lifestyles to support their dual recovery. Each Step is open to personal interpretation. DRA members are encouraged to personalize the Twelve Step program in a way that will meet their needs for dual recovery. DRA members are also encouraged to work the Steps at their own pace.

The Twelve Steps of DRA are designed to help members in several ways:

Acceptance: Learn to accept the dual disorder of chemical dependency and emotional or psychiatric illness, and to accept the need to develop and practice a personal program for dual recovery that focuses on recovery from both illnesses.

Help: Choose a source of help and decide to use that source of help for dual recovery. That source of help may be referred to as a Higher Power or any other name that feels comfortable.

Identity Assets and Liabilities: Identify the personal assets (attitudes, actions, and experiences) that can strengthen dual recovery. Identify the personal liabilities (attitudes, actions, and experiences) that pose a risk for dual recovery.

Change: Work with a personal source of help (Higher Power) to strengthen the personal assets for dual recovery and remove the personal liabilities that pose a risk for dual recovery.

Mend Relationships: Identify people who have been negatively affected by a DRA member’s dual disorder and through dual recovery, work to mend those relationships.

Maintain Dual Recovery and Prevent Relapse: Continue to strengthen personal assets for dual recovery and remove personal liabilities that pose a risk for relapse by continuing to work with a personal source of help (Higher Power).

Help Others: Share with others who experience dual disorders how dual recovery is possible.

Adapted from the DRA Questions & Answers

The Goals of Dual Recovery

The goals for dual recovery are probably similar for each of us whether we are seeking help for the first time or coming back to try again. We want to:

  • Stop the pain and confusion caused by the symptoms of our illnesses, the consequences and problems our symptoms create, and our ineffective means of coping
  • Maintain a safe recovery and prevent relapse
  • Improve the quality of our lives

Those goals are the focus of the Twelve Steps, a program for dual recovery.

Excerpt from “The Twelve Steps and Dual Disorders” by Tim Hamilton & Pat Samples, © Hazelden

The Traditional Twelve Steps

In the mid 1930s, two alcoholics named Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, discovered they could recover from their hopeless state of alcoholism by helping each other get and stay sober one day at a time. This led to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. They also discovered that staying sober required much more than just not drinking. It required a profound change in the way an alcoholic approached life. A change they called “a spiritual awakening.” The 12 Steps are the guidelines that they developed that would produce these changes in even the most advanced cases. Alcoholics Anonymous and their Twelve Steps soon became the single most effective program for the treatment of alcoholism the world had ever seen.

The now famous 12 Steps to recovery are rooted in timeless spiritual concepts and the hard won practical experience of the early members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Though the original Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous may be couched in terms that sound dated to some and overtly religious to others, the underlying principles of personal growth and healing have proved to transcend all such boundaries for those who are willing. In the early days of AA, they discovered that the Steps could work equally well for the ardent atheist as they did for the deeply religious. The Steps helped men and women from all races and backgrounds and all walks of life.

The Twelve Steps for Dual Recovery

In the late 1980s, Tim H., a recovering man with a dual diagnosis, realized that he was a whole person. He could not divide his recovery into separate parts for each illness. He wanted to find a way to address the needs of both his psychiatric illness and his chemical dependency in one program. He began to apply the principles of the Twelve Steps to all aspects of his dual disorders. Before long he found others with a desire for dual recovery and they began to meet, exchange ideas and share what they were learning. Over time this group became Dual Recovery Anonymous.

The Twelve Steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous are based on the proven principles of the traditional Twelve Steps. The DRA Steps were expanded to include the whole disease of chemical dependency, and our emotional or psychiatric illnesses. They retain much of the same language as the traditional Twelve Steps but with certain modifications to better meet the needs of people with a dual diagnosis.

Working the Steps

There is a lot of ambiguity built into the Steps and that is part of their power. While working the Steps, an individual finds their own meaning as they progress. They come to terms with the principles of dual recovery in a very personal way. In effect, they grow and heal as human beings in ways they never before perceived. A new life unfolds before them that is based on their continued willingness and active involvement in dual recovery. The Steps are not a simple intellectual exercise. Results are based on honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. It is not the intellect, but action, that leads to change on the deep levels necessary to lift our compulsions and improve our lives. Yet these Steps are a gentle and non-judgmental tool with forgiveness and self-nurturing build right in.

If you would like to learn more about the Twelve Steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous, please follow the links through the next 12 pages. Each Step is written out, and then briefly described. Members then discuss their thoughts and feelings about each of the Steps and offer insights that may help you on your personal journey of dual recovery.

*Adapted from the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous®

*The Twelve Steps of AA are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only – use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities that are patterned after AA, but that address other problems, does not imply otherwise. THE TWELVE STEPS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS* 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people where ever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11. Sought thorough 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. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps of DRA:

The Twelve Traditions of DRA:

  1. The primary purpose of D.R.A. is to carry the message of recovery to men and women who experience a dual disorder.
  2. D.R.A. 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.
  3. We welcome men and women of all personal beliefs, our program is one of personal freedom and choice.
  4. Our groups and service work are guided by the principles of the 12 Steps of D.R.A.
  5. Each group is independent, to better meet the recovery needs of our members. We are sensitive to the well being and unity of other groups and to D.R.A. as a whole.
  6. To maintain our primary purpose, we avoid all outside distractions. We need not become involved in financial entanglements, lend the D.R.A. name for outside activities and issues, or become drawn into public controversy.
  7. Every DRA group ought to be self-supporting.
  8. D.R.A. is a volunteer, self-help organization. To carry out our service work, we may employ special workers, form committees and coordinate projects.
  9. Our individual dual recovery depends on D.R.A. unity. We carry the message through our personal recovery and our service work. D.R.A. is a non-professional program. We do not provide chemical dependency, mental health or other social services.
  10. D.R.A. has no opinion regarding the appropriate use of medications or other methods of managing our symptoms.
  11. In D.R.A. we share an equal partnership in dual recovery. Our traditions and service work help us maintain the integrity of our program, to provide for others and to enhance the unity of D.R.A. as a whole.
  12. Personal anonymity is the right of every D.R.A. member. We practice anonymity at the level of public media.

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