One of the keys to starting and maintaining a successful DRA Meeting is having enough interested people who are willing to attend regularly and perhaps become involved in the Group's service work. We have found that in most communities there are plenty of people who are interested in personal dual recovery and DRA meetings. It's a matter of getting the message about your new DRA meeting out to the right people and places.
There are several ways that a group can begin to inform the community:
DRA FELLOWSHIP: There may already be DRA meetings being held in the community. DRA Groups are run by DRA members that volunteer to become part of the Group's Service Work Committee. Group Service Work Committees guide and coordinate activities that help to carry the message of DRA to those in need and perform needed Group functions called service work that help keep the meeting going. There may also be a DRA Area Intergroup that conducts monthly meetings. In some communities, DRA members that form Service Committees produce schedules of meetings, have answering services, or print DRA newsletters to inform the community of a new meeting. They are all ways of working with the DRA Fellowship to announce a new meeting.
NETWORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY SERVICES: Providing information in order to carry the message of recovery is different than the concept of "promotion". A DRA group may want to design and reproduce brochures or flyers that provide information about DRA and offer a list of area meetings. Flyers and brochures may be mailed or faxed to other recovery self help groups, professional service providers, religious or spiritual organizations, recovery magazines or bookstores, and consumer or advocacy organizations. There may be community service providers and organizations that produce newsletters. Frequently, they identify new resources in their community and may offer to feature information on DRA and new meetings.
MEDIA: There are city and community newspapers that feature articles on health related issues. In addition, they may also provide public service information and list self help groups that meet in their community. Information about the DRA program and a list of DRA meetings may be provided to news agencies.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Members of the DRA group may want to personally visit the agencies and organizations that they intend to send brochures and flyers to. The purpose of the visit is to provide information about the DRA program and local meetings. It will also be helpful to provide printed materials for the people they are meeting with. In that way, those people will be able to share the information with their co-workers who in turn, can pass the information on to the men and women they provide services to.
One of the most effective ways to let the community know about your new meeting is by using printed flyers or handout sheets. The DRA web site has flyers suitable for this that you can download and print out. They include a place to write in your meeting information and some basic information about DRA. If you have a computer and printer you can design and print your own too.
You should ask permission before posting these flyers at recovery clubs or bulletin boards at treatment centers and social services agencies. Making a personal visit to treatment centers and community mental health centers where possible may open lines of communication that lead to new members or resources. Staff members may take an interest in the new meeting as an additional resource for their clients. If the facility or institution is already registered in DRA's educational session and mock meeting database, they will already know about DRA and will be glad to see new meetings starting in their communities.
People may need additional information or want to confirm that the meeting is still in existence or the information they have about time and location is current. A telephone number with an answering machine or messaging service is almost indispensable. This can be your own home phone, a voice mail service, or perhaps if you hold your meetings at a public facility such as a community mental health center or treatment center, they may allow you to use their phone number and offer to give meeting time and directions to callers. Please discuss this issue with the facility director or someone in authority before publishing their phone number.
Registering your new meeting with DRA World Network as soon as possible is a good way to let people know of your meeting. People often call the World Service Central Office toll-free phone number or look on our web site for meeting information in their area. Registering your new meeting and keeping the information current is one important way your Group can help carry the message of DRA. and let interested people know when and where your meeting is.
We get a lot of calls from professionals who are looking for meetings in their area to refer clients and consumers to. If and when the Group's budget will allow, it can help to send your printed flyer, or a "Welcome to DRA" handout along with your meeting information to local professionals. These may be sent to substance abuse treatment centers, mental health care facilities, community social service agencies, local chapters of NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and other advocacy organizations, private therapists, counseling agencies, shelters, and hospitals that provide substance abuse and mental health services.