Reaching out to others is an essential tool for relapse prevention. When we experience distress, difficult or painful feelings or a compulsion to drink or use we can reach out to others instead of taking a drink or drug. We can talk to our DRA sponsor, a caring and supportive friend, a therapist, a counsellor or to another professional.
Reaching out to others demonstrates that in recovery that we can do together what we could not do by ourselves.
By going to meetings, reaching out to others and taking part in recovery-related events, we build a support network of friends and caring individuals who know us well enough to give us constructive feedback, help and support. We begin to learn to trust. We learn that asking for feedback and support is fundamental to recovery.
We don't limit reaching out only to members of our Twelve Step Fellowships. We turn to our doctors, therapists, psychiatrists and other professionals. Developing comfortable working relationships with these people is a healthy part of taking care of ourselves.
We learn to identify and become aware of warning signs that could lead us to relapses or episodes of our dual illnesses. We learn to reach out and share our concerns and needs when they first arise. This helps us to prevent episodes, lessen their intensity or ensure they are more manageable.FeelingsLearning to cope with our feelings in new and constructive ways is an important part of dual recovery. Many of us used drink or drugs to suppress difficult, painful feelings and symptoms. This led to an escalation of our problems.By talking about our feelings with other recovering people and with professionals we can learn new ways to deal with difficult or painful feelings. We can begin to heal. With support we can identify and understand our feelings and express them in healthy and positive ways.SponsorsSponsors are DRA members who are clean and sober and have practical experience working the Twelve Step Dual Recovery Programme. They are willing to share their recovery experience with other members of DRA and are committed to recovery from dual illnesses. Sponsors can help guide us around the common stumbling blocks of early recovery.A sponsor is someone you can trust and respect. A sponsor can work with you to help you to think through solutions to your problems. New insights about your problems and how you can move forward can arise from this relationship.Recovery is for all of us a journey not a destination. A sponsor is not a professional, they are in recovery themselves. A sponsor will be maintaining his or her own recovery through sharing their experience, strength and hope with other DRA members and, in turn, their own sponsor.By working with other members of DRA and sharing their experience, strength and hope, sponsors continually renew and reaffirm their own recovery. Sponsors share their programme up to the level of their own experience. They do not demand that others work the Steps or recovery programme exactly the same way they do. Instead they help us find our own solutions and develop our own personal plan for recovery by sharing their experience.Although DRA is well established in the US and elsewhere, it is new to this country As a result there can be practical difficulties finding a DRA sponsor in the UK whilst we are still small. We would therefore advise that if you are in another Twelve Step Fellowship it is suggested that you find a sponsor who also has a dual disorder or is sufficiently aware of dual diagnosis issues.