The Fifth Traditions states, "Each group is independent, to better meet the recovery needs of our members. We are sensitive to the well-being and unity of other groups and to DRA as a whole."
DRA groups are free to operate in ways that work best for them as long as they remain free from any outside influence. They can make their own mistakes and they learn from them. There are only two limits to this freedom: groups shall not do anything that will injure DRA as a whole and decisions affecting the group are made by taking an informed group conscience. All members have an equal voice.
DRA groups will face many decisions such as how long terms of service will be for the group's various service positions, should the meeting be smoking or non-smoking, or how will the treasurer handle the group's money. Through an informed group conscience taking, groups seek a substantial unanimity on issues before setting group policies or taking definitive actions that affect the group or its membership.
An "informed group conscience" is usually taken at a business meeting when all of the group's active members are aware the issues are up for discussion and have had some time to contemplate them. The idea is for all willing group members to fully share their individual points of view without interruption. Placing principles before personalities each member has an equal voice. A preset maximum amount of time may be allotted each member for sharing so no one monopolizes the process. The group works slowly until a clear sense of a collective view emerges and then a vote is taken. The Twelve Traditions and the principles of the Twelve Steps are the group's guides. An informed group conscience taking seeks the spiritual expression of the conscience of the group.
DRA members who travel and visit DRA meetings in other towns may find the meeting formats differ and some of the practices feel strange but at root the principles of the Steps and Traditions affirms our common goals and Fellowship in dual recovery.
DRA trusts the autonomy of the group and the group conscience explicitly. Mistakes will be made but each DRA group will eventually find and conform to the standards and principles that have ensured the survival and success of Twelve Step groups throughout the world.
Many DRA groups will periodically hold a group inventory meeting to evaluate how well they are adhering to the principles of the Twelve Traditions. This is a good chance for the group to discuss how well it is carrying the message of hope and recovery as a group and if it is meeting the needs of its members.