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. We do share a common bond as men and women who are affected by
different types of "no-fault" illnesses whose symptoms can
disrupt our 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 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
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!!!!