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SHARING OUR STORIES: DRA'S BLUEPRINT, PART 1

Today, I am grateful to DRA members who offer me the opportunity to share my story, and grateful to DRA members who share their stories with me, DRA members and newcomers, and our growing DRA Fellowship.

SHARING STORIES IN DRA

For our Dual Recovery: We share stories to help us gain a deeper understanding of the personal level of our own dual disorder and our own dual recovery. We learn, grow, and heal as we share our stories, the way we work DRA Steps, and other dual recovery solutions.

For other DRA Members and Newcomers: Sharing our stories provides a way for us to learn from one another. Sharing helps us welcome newcomers to know who we are, and why we are here, our common bond, as we carry our message and offer a setting of Emotional Acceptance, Support, and Empowerment (EASE).

For Our DRA Fellowship: Sharing our stories through Vision (the DRA Newsletter), and the DRA Online Resource Center (the DRA website), reaches other DRA members and newcomers, and DRA as a whole. As our vision, hope, and understanding grow.

DRA'S BLUEPRINT FROM OUR STORIES

DRA began to form in Kansas City, Kansas in 1989. Our first members were in recovery from chemical dependency through 12 Step Fellowships. We wanted to form a dual recovery fellowship where we could use the principles of each Step for our chemical dependency and our emotional or psychiatric illness together.

Our Stories-Groundwork For DRA: During our first meetings, we began exploring three important questions:

  1. What did we experience during our dual disorder and from our dual recovery?
  2. What did you do to try to help yourself during that time?
  3. What suggestions do you have for developing a dual recovery 12 Step Fellowship?

Clearly, our first meetings were very important because we began to recognize our common bond of feelings and experiences as a part of the blueprint for our DRA Fellowship.

IN DRA WE SHARE A COMMON BOND

We recognized that we shared a common set of feelings and experiences:

  • During the harmful progression of our dual disorder. The progression happens as the symptoms of each illness have a harmful effect on our inner experience of relationships and events in our lives.
  • During the process of our dual recovery, it is the stages we go through as we learn how to combine ( or integrate) two parts of our own dual recovery:
    • Personal Recovery: We recover ourselves and our ability to hope, cope, and heal as we improve our inner quality of life.
    • Managing Both Illnesses: We learn and practice using our skills to manage our chemical dependency and our emotional or psychiatric illness — together.

Our early meetings provided a starting point to recognize that our dual disorder and our dual recovery have two equally important parts:

  1. The Level Of Personal Experience during our dual disorder and personal recovery in our own dual recovery.
  2. The Level Of Both Illnesses, their harmful effect during our dual disorder and managing both illnesses together in our own dual recovery.

DRA BLUEPRINT FROM OUR STORIES

The stories we shared during our early meetings helped to shape the founding blueprint for our DRA Fellowship. The blueprint for DRA was first presented in the Dual Disorders and Dual Recovery book (Hazelden, 1993), in order to reach others who experience dual disorders. The book presented DRA in two chapters, 1. "Dual Recovery Anonymous; A Blueprint", that included the progression of our dual disorder and expanding powerlessness, unmanageability, and Higher Power for both illnesses and 2. "Dual Recovery Anonymous; Meeting Format" that presented our common bond as a key part of .

In 1998, we revised "Dual Recovery Anonymous: Questions and Answers". The revised edition provided an important opportunity to expand our description of our feelings and experiences during our dual disorder and our dual recovery — our common bond.

VISION. THE DRA NEWSLETTER: SHARING OUR STORIES PART 2

In a future edition of Vision, Part Two of this series will explore the personal experience of our dual disorder, and our personal recovery, in the process of our dual recovery. I believe that our dual disorder and our dual recovery are a unique process, and a unique personal experience for each of us. Our common bond of feelings and experiences, the personal level, offers us an important way to share and offer support to one another in our growing DRA Fellowship.

My Best, Tim H.

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