A core principle behind the Ninth Tradition is that our Groups provide the environment that most of us need to best nurture our dual recovery. Basically, this Tradition builds upon the First Tradition. Without Unity, our Groups and our message may not be there for the next person who needs them.
I think that the fact that the Steps and Traditions sort of keep us on track working as a group for the good of everyone in DRA teaches us a lot about living and getting along in the world. Before DRA all I remember is ego trips and arguments. Sure there is tension sometimes when we are planning things, but we have tools to use (the Steps and Traditions) so we get over it and move on.
This is a WE program. We can do together what we could not do alone.
I took a turn at being secretary for my Home Group once. It really helped me feel like an equal partner in my Group. Before that, I didn't really feel connected to the inner workings of how things got done. Now I'm the Group Treasurer. Each Service Work Committee Position I take a turn at doing is like a little piece of the mosaic that makes up DRA. Not only my Home Group, but the Fellowship. It's like, when I chair a meeting, or share my story with a newcomer, or am holding a service position, it all adds up to making sure DRA is there for myself and other's when we need it.
I heard a guy tell my story at my first ever DRA meeting. I was still in treatment and there was this guy in the Hospitals and Institution meeting that had been through all the same things I did including the multiple commitments, the jail time, and life on the streets. But here he was-clean and sober and looking so calm and together. That was the first time I ever felt really hopeful. I am so grateful now that he and his Group took the time to bring their meeting into the hospital. I've never seen that guy since, but he just might have saved my life that day.
Our primary purpose is to help one another achieve dual recovery, to prevent relapse, and to carry the message of recovery to others who experience dual disorders. We can't do that if we are busy arguing over trivial matters or competing with each other for the spotlight. We need to put principles before personalities. That's why we hold Group Conscience meetings as often as needed and review the Traditions at our Steps and Traditions study meetings.
I tell my story in DRA meetings pretty often. If I don't have any current burning hot issues to share, I just tell my story. I have a short and a long version depending upon how busy the meeting is. Some of the regulars may get a little tired of hearing it but that's ok. There's often newer members who might relate to my story, and telling my story over and over helps me to fully accept my past, get over any shame, and keeps me focused on my own dual recovery. The main thing though is that by telling my recovery story, how it was -- what happened -- and what it's like now, I am telling the story of DRA. I am carrying the message of recovery and believable hope. I can't tell you exactly how or why the Steps and DRA works, but I can tell you my story, how I manage my dual illnesses on a day to day basis. That's a form of service work and really, it's how it works. One person with a dual disorder talking to another.