In the summer of 2004, three disaffected members of Narcotic Anonymous,(Graeme, Lindsey, and Adam K), found themselves sitting opposite each other in a Manic Depression Fellowship meeting in Kentish Town, London. Chaotic, structureless,, and with an invitation from the secretary to re-convene at a local pub, the three depressionados felt that there must be another way.
A decision was made to adopt the Dual Diagnosis Anonymous Fellowship, so pamphlets were downloaded, literature and chips ordered from the US, and a venue was found. With a naive but passionate fervour, Tradition 6 was regularly broken during “any related announcements” after NA and AA meetings........... At 1pm on Monday 12th September 2004 in Room 3 at Hinde Street Methodist Church, the first dual diagnosis meeting in the UK took place. An early attendee was Paul J from Deptford who, catching the zeitgeist, was trying to start a similar meeting in south London.
The meetings were well attended with numbers ranging from 5 to 20 members, but by February 2005, Graeme had left London, Lindsey had become disenchanted, and Adam had decided to do further research into stimulant self-medication. At this point special mention must be made of Alison C and Robin T who selflessly took up the reins and maintained the meeting with vigour and commitment. In her efforts to expand the fellowship to west London, Alison spent many a lonely Thursday night, sometimes with only a rubber plant for company, courageously carrying the message.
With its 17 steps, a pentagramatic logo, and emphasis on diagnosis, group conscience decided in early 2007 to “rebrand” and implement Dual Recovery Anonymous. Three extra meetings were added: Tuesday evenings at Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Unit, Thursday evening at Hinde Street, and Saturday afternoon in Woolwich started by Paul T. Regular members of the fellowship during this time were Gilly D, Alison C, Robin T, Raz, Adam K. Angela S, and Zoe V.
By 2008 an Intergroup meeting had taken place and DRA was starting to expand. Unfortunately the Thursday Hinde Street meeting had to fold and the Woolwich meeting move venues to Charlton, but by June 2009 a new meeting had started up in Kent headed by Corinne and Veronica.DRA is growing and carries a powerful message of recovery for the dually diagnosed in the UK. There is a depth of honesty in our meetings that’s hard to find in other fellowships. We provide essential support for our members and a fearless forum in which to voice our “double trouble” issues. As I write in September 2010, there are moves to start DRA in Plymouth, Brighton and Winchester.