With the right support, we can and do recover. The Dual Diagnosis Hub can help everyone to find the best dual diagnosis support and resources available.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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®
12 Steps to freedom from our addiction(s) and a frameowkr to help cultivate a life where our mental health symptoms can be managed and we have a much beter quality of life…
Remember: We can and do recover when we have the right support and willingness to treat & manage all of the different elements of our problems.