a Place | Informing the Community | Organizing
a Group | Making Decisions
How are DRA meetings
GROUP AUTONOMY: Every DRA group may decide for itself
how they want to structure their meetings. They are free to decide what
approach will best meet the recovery needs of their members. By using
our Twelve Traditions as guidelines, all of our meetings will have a
familiar and accepting feeling no matter where a member of our
Fellowship may travel.
CLOSED OR OPEN MEETINGS: The first decision that most
groups make is to decide whether their meeting will be closed or open.
Closed: A closed meeting is held for DRA members and
individuals who are concerned about their own personal recovery.
There may be members who only feel comfortable talking about their
dual recovery in a group setting that is attended by other DRA
members. There may also be individuals who are concerned about their
confidentiality. Those individuals want their dual recovery and
participation to remain a private matter. Anonymity is the right of
every DRA member and must be respected at all times. Anyone
attending a "Closed Meeting" must consider themselves a
member of DRA according to our Second Tradition.
Open: An open meeting is held for DRA members, and
individuals who are concerned about their personal recovery. In
addition, it is also open for non DRA members to attend. For
example, an open meeting may be attended by a family member or
friend of someone in DRA. An open meeting might also be attended by
someone who is looking for help for a loved one or friend who is
affected by a dual disorder. An open meeting also provides a good
opportunity for the fellowship to carry the message to others who
may not have another means of learning about DRA.
MEETING FORMAT: Perhaps the majority of DRA meeting
will follow the DRA Meeting Format as they open and close their
meetings. The Meeting Format is presented
in The Dual Disorders Recovery
Book which describes the DRA program. It is also provided to
individuals who contact DRA Central Service Office requesting
information about the DRA program.
The Meeting Format provides an outline of how to open
and close a DRA meeting. It presents the philosophy and purpose of DRA,
in addition to presenting the Twelve Steps. The Meeting Format is
divided into eight parts that include: Opening, Preamble, Announcements,
Introductions, , Getting Started In Dual Recovery,
Roundtable Discussion, and Closing.
Should a DRA meeting be
structured or informal?
Each group is free to decide if their meetings will be
structured or informal. The group will decide on the approach that will
best meet the needs of their members.
Most groups will open and close their meetings by
following the DRA Meeting Format. The person who is chairing the meeting
or another member will choose a topic for discussion. The topic may be
on one of the Twelve Steps or a recovery theme. At that point, groups
may differ on the way they conduct their discussions.
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS: Some groups will follow a
structured approach in the way they have their discussions. Each person
sitting around a table or in a circle will have an opportunity to share
when it is their turn. If they want to listen and would rather not speak
at that time, they simply say, "I pass".
OPEN GROUP APPROACH: Some groups will begin a meeting
by following the Meeting Format, choosing a topic and open the meeting
for discussion. Members take turns sharing, each waiting until another
member has finished. However, they do not formally go in turn around a
table or circle.
CROSS TALK DISCUSSION: Some groups will begin a
meeting by following the Meeting Format to open the meeting and choose a
topic. The members of the group will interact directly with each other
in a manner that is referred to as "cross talk". Some groups
do prefer that approach for their discussions and feel that it is more
direct and informal.
Organization and Service
A DRA Group functions with the willing efforts of
its Service Workers. Service work starts at the Group level. Groups may
form Group Service Work Committees that help guide and coordinate
activities and to help keep the Group focused and stay on task. Service
positions are usually rotated and can be as simple as a three-month
commitment to set up the chairs and tables or put out literature each
meeting, to a longer commitment to be a Group Officer such as the
Group's Treasurer or Service Representative. These are suggested
guidelines and each Group may decide to add, delete, or combine certain
responsibilities as necessary for their particular needs. Service positions do not imply authority or bring any
special honor and distinction. We all have an equal partnership in dual
recovery. Our leaders are service committee volunteers and do not govern.
ELECTING OFFICERS: A new DRA Group can benefit from
electing officers to fill Group Service Committee positions as they start the organizational process. The purpose
of electing officers is twofold:
First, having officers may help the group avoid the
problem of having a single person assume the responsibility of doing all
of the "leg work" for the entire group. That single individual
may eventually begin to feel over stressed or burned out. When that
occurs it is not healthy for either that person or the group as a whole.
In addition, that individual may begin to feel that no one else is
helping (even if they never asked for help). At the same time the other
members may begin to feel that the other person is taking control of the
Second, having officers that form the Group's Service
Work Committee may help the group develop a
strong core of support. They will feel more committed to attend meetings
as the group is beginning to become more established. In addition, group
officers will be more likely to share in the tasks that are required to
help establish a new meeting.
IDENTIFYING OFFICERS: Every DRA group is free to give
their officers any titles with which the group is comfortable. They may
be identified as: chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary, treasurer,
and group service representative.
DUTIES: Every DRA group is free to designate the
duties of their officers. Traditionally, the officers schedule and
conduct regular business meetings. The business meetings are also open
for members of the group to attend.
The Group’s Service Work Committee officers are usually the members who
are responsible for registering the Group's meetings with DRA World
Network . The purpose of registering a group and listing
their meetings is to have them be a part of the DRA International
Directory. That is important not only for the group, but as a way to
help carry the message to others. The DRA World Network Office frequently receives calls from people who
request information about meetings in a specific location. The caller
may be a DRA member who is planning to visit or relocate to a particular
location. The caller may be an individual who has recently learned about
DRA while in a chemical dependency or mental health program or in a
corrections facility, and wishes to locate a meeting. In addition, the
caller may be someone who is looking for help for a loved one or friend.
Identification and Naming
Groups often name themselves.
In keeping with the spirit of the Sixth Tradition we have found it
advisable to make sure our group names do not give the appearance of
being linked to any outside enterprise, organization, political or
religious institution, or treatment center. Ever mindful to keep
principles before personalities we discourage naming groups after
people, living or dead.
Due to our Tradition of
non-affiliation and to help limit confusion in the public at
large, DRA Groups that incorporate the words "Double Trouble"
or "Dual Diagnosis" in their names will have "DRA Group" or similar
wording appended to their names in our public database
when they register their meetings. We respect other dual recovery
organizations and must certainly distinguish our Fellowship's Groups and
meetings from meetings of organizations with those words in their names.
Tradition Seven reminds us, "DRA groups ought to be
self-supporting." The principle of support is a process or cycle that
occurs on several levels within our Fellowship: Group, Meeting,
Sponsorship, and Personal. It may be expressed in many ways as
- "In order
to offer support, we need support."
receive support, in order to offer support."
Many of us have begun our dual recovery during periods of distress:
physical, psychological, social, financial and spiritual. Gradually,
we begin to feel more stable in our dual recovery and want to help others
through the DRA Group's Service Work.
DRA Groups work to carry our message and provide support through Service
Work. The Group members develop the skills to coordinate their activities
and manage their Group's finances. The Group's members offer
contributions as they are able to (as there are no membership dues or fees
in DRA). Frequently, a contribution 'basket' is passed at some point
during a meeting. Members are free to contribute whatever amount
they feel they can offer, without any sense of pressure to do so.
Groups must first meet basic needs. Those needs may include:
literature, the fee (if there is a fee) for the meeting location, coffee,
and other DRA related expenses as approved by the Group Conscience.
As the Group grows, they may use some of their financial reserves to
expand their meetings or hold special events. Latter they may use
monies above their prudent reserves to help broaden the efforts of local area Intergroups and to help support the
efforts of the DRA World Service Central Office.
Experience has shown that nothing can so surely damage a Group's serenity as arguments and resentments over money. We do not need to accumulate wealth beyond a prudent reserve. Our Groups avoid debt and financial entanglement. DRA Groups may carry the message of hope and recovery out into their communities as they grow and as their Seventh Tradition contributions will allow.