DRA has Twelve Traditions which are designed to help guide our Meetings, Groups, Intergroups, and Service Boards to operate in ways that best nurture the recovery efforts of all members of our Fellowship. The Traditions are a set of suggestions that help DRA as a whole keep on track to best fulfill our Primary Purpose and maintain our Founding Vision.
The Twelve Traditions of Dual Recovery Anonymous are built upon the foundation of the original Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous to whom we owe our gratitude. DRA's Traditions are modified to suit the unique needs of our dual no-fault illnesses and the population DRA serves. At this time we do not have a long form of our Twelve Traditions or a book that fully explains our Traditions in depth. Many answers can be found in our Preamble and our Questions & Answers document. Groups are also well served to borrow the collective wisdom found in AA's traditional version of the Twelve Traditions where applicable.
Network: DRA provides a Network of support and information not only to its current members but also to those who may need us in the future. Sharing information and opening lines of communications between Individual Members, Groups, Intergroups, Service Boards, and the World Network Central Office reminds us all that we have an equal partnership in dual recovery. Networking through the Central Office by mail or phone, and helping each other at the Group level are all powerful ways of strengthening our Fellowship and adding resources to further our personal dual recovery goals. Network means connecting: We are connecting or drawing together DRA members and Groups to develop the working structure of DRA.
Unity: DRA must forever remain a united Fellowship with common goals. Our individual recoveries are greatly enhanced by DRA Unity. The Twelve Traditions help our Groups and Intergroups maintain a cohesive, safe, and comfortable atmosphere no matter where a newcomer walks into their first DRA Meeting. Though each Group is autonomous it is also aware of how its actions can influence other DRA Groups and the DRA Fellowship as a whole. Unity means uniting for a common purpose: To help one another achieve dual recovery and to prevent relapse.
Service: When DRA members are ready, they can choose to engage in service work. Lending a helping hand at a DRA function or filling a Group Service Work Committee Position helps us maintain our recoveries and helps make DRA accessible to others. We share the responsibility of helping carry the message of Dual Recovery Anonymous to those who want it. We want our message of hope and recovery to be there for other's and DRA Service Work at any level is a wonderful way to help achieve this goal. Servicemeans DRA Service Work: We carry our message and provide support to other people who experience dual disorders.
Many of us have felt very alone in our dual illnesses. Our Networking, Unity, and Service Work as guided by the Twelve Traditions of DRA help insure DRA's continued usefulness and growth. The Traditions help members and Groups develop Twelve Step DRA meetings that are a safe haven where we can experience a Fellowship of people who experience the common bond of dual no-fault illnesses. The Twelve Traditions help insure that the fear, isolation, and secrecy many of us have experienced no longer need be a part of our lives.
As AA developed the Twelve Steps which were the principles by which individual alcoholics could live, they also had to evolve principles by which the A.A. groups and A.A. as a whole could survive and function effectively.
Bill Wilson and the early members of Alcoholics Anonymous developed the original 12 Traditions over a period of about 20 years. Early on when Groups had problems they would often write to Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA, and he would correspond about possible solutions. Over the years this body of letters became quite large and represented what was essentially the combined wisdom of basically the whole Fellowship of AA. In 1945 it was suggested that this mass of problem solving correspondence might be distilled to some basic set of principles that could offer the Fellowship solutions for their problems of living and working together and how best to relate their Fellowship of recovering alcoholics to the world outside.
Initially Bill Wilson called this work "The Twelve Points to Assure Our Future." He saw them as guidelines necessary to the unity, survival, and effectiveness of the AA Fellowship. He understood well that if he had called them laws or rules, recovering people with their usual mistrust of or distaste for authoritarianism would have surly rejected them. By 1950 they had become universally accepted by the Fellowship and were soon accepted at AA's first International Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.
Perhaps the best description of the Twelve Traditions this author can give is in the words of Bill Wilson Himself, "The A.A. Traditions are neither rules, regulations, nor laws. We obey them willingly because we ought to and because we want to. Perhaps the secret of their power lies in the fact that these life-giving communications spring out of living experience and are rooted in love."
Quote reprinted from AA Today, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.