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Dual Recovery Anonymous
Many people are unaware there's a Dual Recovery Anonymous or what it would be for. Dual Recovery Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who get together offering each other support as they recover from their 'no fault illnesses' like chemical dependency and their emotional or psychiatric illness. Their main focus is on preventing relapse and improving their lives.
DRA is an independent, nonprofessional, Twelve Step self-help membership organization for people with a dual diagnosis or also referred to as Co-occurring Disorder. Both illnesses affect every area of a person's life because it affects them psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Members of DRA are committed to helping each other by offering support to one another. Supporting the needs of others helps everyone recover and improve the quality of their lives.
Dual Recovery Anonymous was established in 1989 in Kansas City for men and women experiencing a dual disorder. Goals of DRA were as follows
- Twelve Step principles are applied to both chemical dependency and a person's emotional or psychiatric illness.
- Meetings are to be provided so members can discuss recovery issues openly regarding both of their illnesses with other members who can relate to their experiences and offer each other support.
- Carry the message of recovery to others who experience dual disorders and help develop DRA as an organization that could offer assistance to others who wish to establish DRA groups.
As stated above when a person suffers from a dual diagnosis, they are dealing with a chemical dependency and a psychiatric or emotional illness at the same time. There are many terms used when referring to 'dual diagnosis' and more recently co-occurring disorder is a more professional term being used. Each illness, meaning the dependency and mental health illness interferes with the individual's ability to function effectively and relate to themselves and others. Many times both illnesses interact with each other and this not only makes treatment difficult but can cause relapse with both illnesses. Many people self-medicate their mental health illness with the use of alcohol or drugs which only makes things worse. If both illnesses aren't diagnosed and treated, relapse is sometimes inevitable.
Mental or psychiatric illnesses are associated with the brain and these disorders disrupt a person's thinking, moods, feelings, and ability to relate to others. There are many forms of mental and psychiatric illness and they're all different but they affect every area of a person's life.
People who are chemically dependent don't set out to be addicts or alcoholics, they just are. No one knows if they are chemically dependent until they use substances like drugs or alcohol. By the time they do realize there is a problem, the ability to stop on their own is impossible because they have lost the power of choice.
Neither illness is caused by a moral weakness or a person's shortcomings, nor can a person overcome either illness by willpower. There is an enormous amount of social stigma and a lot of misinformation that surrounds both diseases which stands in the way of people getting the help they need sometimes. Both illnesses are 'no fault' illnesses and any approach to them that would feed or produce irrational guilt and shame just blocks a person's recovery.
There are only 2 requirements for membership in DRA and this is to; have a desire to stop using alcohol or other intoxicating drugs and a desire to manage their emotional or psychiatric illness in a healthy and constructive way.
Dual disorders are very common and around 41% to 65.5% of people with a substance abuse disorder also have at least one psychiatric disorder. 51% of people who have a psychiatric disorder also have at least one substance use disorder.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental or psychiatric illness as well as chemical dependency, Dual Recovery Anonymous Meeting can help you in your recovery, find a meeting near you and surround yourself with people who understand what you're going through and offer support.
Reseources & References
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