DUAL DIAGNOSIS ANONYMOUS
12 STEPS + 5
ORIGINAL CONCEPT PAPER
With the inception of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935,
it is now widely known that 12 Step self help
support groups have been the source of tremendous
healing and recovery for countless people. While
some may dispute the tenants of AA, few in the
recovery field would argue its results. A wide
variety of self help support groups have not only
demonstrated their effectiveness, but have also been
shown to fill a needed gap in the health services
Over the past decade or so, it has become abundantly
clear that the majority of persons who suffer from
major mental illness have concurrent substance abuse
problems. The combination of these two primary
diseases has come to be know as “Dual Diagnosis”.
The progression of one or more of these diseases
leads to a tremendous amount of suffering, or, as is
aptly heard in AA/NA meetings...”to jail,
institutions, or death”.
It is not enough to focus on one or the other
illness, for BOTH are primary. We must go beyond the
tendencies of the Social Model recovery philosophy
that claims successful substance abuse treatment
necessarily leads to a cessation of mental illness
symptoms. We must also go beyond the tendencies of
the Medical Model clinical philosophy that claims
successful treatment of mental illness necessarily
leads to a cessation of substance abuse. Blending
the philosophy of the Social Model of recovery with
the clinical philosophy of the Medical Model makes a
tremendous difference in successful treatment. Dual
(DDA), represents an effort
toward building a support group that recognizes the
importance of this blending. Embracing the 12 Steps
of Recovery, DDA puts a special emphasis on mental
illness and the importance of clinical/medical
management. It has been difficult, at best, for many
people with dual diagnosis to attend traditional 12
step programs for a variety of reasons. Some of
these reasons include: a sense of “symptomatic
difference” between addicts and alcoholics and
dually diagnosed persons. Some symptoms may result
in disruptive behaviors during meetings, further
alienating the dually diagnosed. Many dually
diagnosed people experience increased levels of
fear, anxiety and/or paranoia in group settings.
Additionally there is a common perception among some
more traditional 12 Step members is that medical
management represents the “easy way”, and do not
consider those individuals who take prescribed
medications to be “clean and sober”. For these
reasons, the feeling of “not fitting in” at
traditional 12 Step meetings is common for many
individuals with dual diagnosis. Now there is an
alternative. Because DDA recognizes the importance
of “fitting in” with other 12 step support group
THE TWELVE STEPS OF DDA
1. We admitted we were powerless over our dual
diagnosis, and that our lives had become
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than
ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives
over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another
human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these
defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and
became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever
possible, except when to do so would injure them or
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we
were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve
our conscious contact with God as we understood Him,
praying only for knowledge of His will for us and
the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result
of these steps, we tried to carry this message to
others who still suffer from the effects of dual
diagnosis, and to practice these principles in all
The Twelve Steps are reprinted with permission of
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps
does not mean that A.A. is in any way
affiliated with this program. A.A. is a program of
recovery from alcoholism only -- use of the
Twelve Steps in connection with programs and
activities which are patterned after A.A., but
which address other problems, on in any other non
A.A. context, does not imply otherwise.
THE 5 STEPS OF DDA
1. We admitted that we had a mental illness, in
addition to our substance abuse, and we accepted our
2. We became willing to accept help for both of
3. We have understood the importance of medication,
clinical interventions and therapies, and we have
accepted the need for sobriety from alcohol and
abstinence from all non-prescribed drugs in our
4. We came to believe that when our own efforts were
combined with the help of others in the fellowship
of DDA, and God, as we understood Him, we would
develop healthy drug and alcohol free life styles.
5. We continued to follow the DDA Recovery Program
of the Twelve Steps plus Five and we maintained
healthy drug and alcohol free lifestyles, and helped
HOW MEETINGS WORK
Meetings of DDA are very much like traditional 12
Step meetings. While there is no “leader”, it is
helpful to have an experienced DDAer, or trained
professional present who possesses an experiential
understanding of 12 Step programs and/or recognizes
the benefits of these programs. While this person
does not necessarily “run” the meetings, for
effective meetings run themselves, s/he can gently
re-focus the meeting if necessary to keep it
focused and on track.
Corbett Monica is the Founder of DDA and Executive
Director of Dual Diagnosis Anonymous of Oregon, Inc.
Smith, supervising counselor for Riverside County CA
recruits Corbett Monica as a potential dual diagnosis
specialist for Riverside County
Monica was hired by Bob Hillis, Program Manager of the
Riverside County, CA Alcohol Program, as a contractor to
provide services for consumers throughout the County who
were dually diagnosed, including co-facilitating
psycho-educational sessions. Corbett also facilitated
meetings of the peer support group called Support
Together for Emotional and Mental Serenity and Sobriety
(STEMSS) developed by Michael Bricker... Corbett and
other County employees regularly attended the 12 step
Programs of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics
Anonymous (NA) with dually diagnosed consumers as a
compliment to their ongoing treatment/recovery.
was hired by the San Bernardino County, CA Department of
Behavioral Health; Alcohol and Drug Programs to provide
services for consumers throughout the County who were
dually diagnosed. Due to the success in Riverside
County, many of the same services, such as
co-facilitating psycho-educational groups, STEMSS
Meetings and AA/NA attendance, were implemented.
begins first co-facilitated dual diagnosis
psycho-educational group in San Bernardino County with
Bob Sudol, Clinic Manager for Arrow Clinic in Fontana,
meets Wayne Henkelmann, Program Manager for Redwood
Board and Care. Wayne supports dual diagnosis groups by
allowing clients to attend STEMSS meetings in Fontana.
Wayne provides financial support for STEMSS by providing
clients with petty cash funds to donate for refreshments
at the meetings. One client, Ruben G. who comes
regularly to STEMSS meetings will become a catalyst for
Corbett to change his support group from STEMSS meetings
to Dual Diagnosis Anonymous meetings.
January 1996-Corbett and Richard Mcloud brought a
group of consumers, dually diagnosed with mental illness
and substance abuse, to a traditional 12 Step meeting in
Fontana, CA. The consumers were residents of a local
Board and Care, Redwood Guest Home. One of the clients,
Ruben G., diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia and
Alcoholism, was disruptive during the meeting due to his
severe symptoms of psycho motor agitation and anxiety.
Richard and Corbett were asked not to bring Ruben G. to
any more meetings due to the distraction and disruption
he caused to other members. Corbett, who is also dually
diagnosed, recognized the importance of a 12 Step
program for people like Ruben, and himself, who did not
“fit in” to the more traditional settings of AA/NA. With
an understanding that dual diagnosis identified the
co-occurrence of the two primary diseases of mental
illness and substance abuse, Corbett condensed and
revised the 6 Step STEMSS Program into 5 Steps and began
the modified 12 Step Program of Dual Diagnosis Anonymous
(DDA). He began working on a “Concept Paper” titled
“Dual Diagnosis Anonymous; 12 Steps Plus Five.”
February, 1996-The first DDA meeting was held at
the First Presbyterian Church in Fontana CA, on the 1st
of February, 1996 at 6:00 PM. This meeting was chaired
by Corbett and attended by a dozen residents of Redwood
Guest Home. Corbett reported to the San Bernardino
County Department of Mental Health Dual Diagnosis
Committee Meeting that he had changed the name of the
support groups he was conducting from STEMSS to Dual
Diagnosis Anonymous, in order to be consistent with
other 12 Step programs.
March, 1996-Corbett completed the first draft of
the concept paper: “Dual Diagnosis Anonymous; 12 Steps
Plus Five”, and revised it in March 1996.
May, 1996-On May 7th Corbett sent a letter to
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services in New York
requesting permission to use the DDA version of the 12
Steps of AA for the DDA program. On May 16th AA granted
permission to DDA to use the revised version of the 12
Steps with an appropriate disclaimer. New DDA Meeting
began at Cedar House in Bloomington, Ca. Corbett
completes first draft of DDA meeting materials (Format,
Preamble, Intro to Serenity, Prayer, 12 Steps, 5 Steps)
June, 1996-DDA meetings are now held at the
following locations: First Presbyterian Church in
Fontana, San Bernardino Valley College, Victor Valley
Counseling Center in Hesperia, The Recovery Center in
Upland, and Team House in San Bernardino.
October, 1996-The DDA meeting at the First
Presbyterian Church in Fontana is attended by fifty
DDAer's. This marks the most attendees ever at a DDA
November, 1996-Corbett is featured in “Inside
Oriented” a monthly publication of the San Bernardino
County of Behavioral Health, in an article entitled,
“Corbett Monica's Experience Enables Him to Offer Hope
to Dually Diagnosed Clients.” The article highlights the
quote by Dostoyevsky; “To Live Without Hope Is To Cease
To Live”, as one of Corbett's guiding principles. This
quote becomes a cornerstone of the philosophy of the DDA
May, 1997-First DDA meeting held at Patton State
Hospital in San Bernardino. Meeting is held in the “T”
Building, the same Building where Corbett resided while
in Treatment there in 1971. Fifty-One people attend
June, 1997-The First Annual Dual Diagnosis
Anonymous “Spring Fling” is held in San Bernardino on
6-6-1997 and attended by an estimated 200 DDA'ers!
Corbett meets Clancy Miller on 6-19-1997 at the
Department of Behavioral Health Dual Diagnosis Committee
meeting. Clancy works at Orchid Court Board and Care in
San Bernardino, and reports increasing acceptance of
dually diagnosed clients at the Serenity Club in San
Bernardino. Corbett informs Clancy of DDA and invites
him to bring clients to a local meeting.
July, 1997-Clancy Miller attends the First
Presbyterian Church Chapter of DDA in Fontana with
clients from Orchid Court, increasing the average
attendance from twenty-seven to forty.
December, 1997-There are now sixteen weekly DDA
meetings in San Bernardino County.
April, 1998-On April 23rd Corbett corresponded
with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services in New York,
requesting permission to use the DDA version of the 12
Traditions of AA for the DDA program. On April 30th AA
granted permission to DDA to use the revised version of
the 12 Traditions with an appropriate disclaimer. First
draft of 12 Traditions for DDA completed.
June, 1998-The Second Annual Dual Diagnosis
Anonymous Spring Fling is held in San Bernardino, with
attendance estimated between 150 and 200 people.
July, 1998-DDA averages two hundred and four
contacts per month for the past year in California.
Corbett begins new position as the Treatment Supervisor
of Men's Services at the De Paul Treatment Center in
September, 1998-The first DDA meeting in Oregon
is held at the De Paul Residential Treatment Center in
downtown Portland at 8:00 PM and is attended by thirteen
April, 1999-Corbett becomes the first Program Manager
for Project Oasis. Project Oasis is an integrated effort
of two agencies; CODA (a substance abuse treatment
service delivery system), and Mental Health West (a
mental health service delivery system) in downtown
Portland. Project Oasis is an intensive case management
program for high risk felony offenders with a dual
diagnosis. The second chapter of DDA begins at Mental
Health West in downtown Portland and is attended by
1999-Gregory Sweetwood writes DDA version of
“Just For Today.”
2001-Gregory Sweetwood edits “Just For Today.”
August, 2001-Corbett accepts a position as
Lead Counselor for the Bridgepoint Program at Columbia
River Correctional Facility (CRCI). CRCI is a minimum
security prison and Bridgepoint is a fifty bed dual
diagnosis program for men. The first Bridgepoint Chapter
of DDA begins and is attended by twelve men.
September, 2002-The number of DDA meetings at
Bridgepoint increases to five weekly.
January, 2003-Mark Buckner and Bridgepoint
DDA Chapter draft the first DDA “Six Rules of Respect”
February, 2003-Meetings are now held Monday
through Friday at the Bridgepoint Program. Corbett and
Mark revise meeting format.
April, 2003-Following his release from CRCI Mark
Buckner, with help and support from Laurie Ellet
establishes Cascadia Chapter of DDA in North Portland.
July, 2003-Corbett revises and condenses Just for
Today in DDA and the Six rules of Respect become the
Five Rules of Respect.
and State Commissioner of Mental Health/Addictions
Services, Bob Nikkel meet to discuss the prospect of
Dual Diagnosis Anonymous of Oregon.
May, 2004-Bob Nikkel introduces Corbett to
Mary-Claire Buckley, Executive Director of the
Psychiatric Security Review Board at annual National
Alliance for the Mentally Ill walk in Portland. Corbett
and Mary-Claire discuss consumer driven services and the
September, 2004-Sean Roush is instrumental in
establishing DDA in McMinnville Oregon. Sean will later
write one newspaper article and publish one journal
article regarding DDA.
Bob Nikkel, Margaret Thiele, and Corbett discuss support
for DDA of Oregon Project.
May, 2005-Corbett meets with Mary-Claire Buckley,
Margaret Thiele, and Anthony Guillen regarding DDA in
meets with Janet Bardossi and Margaret Thiele regarding
possibility of local A&D Agency, CODA, Inc. to oversee
DDA of Oregon. CODA, Inc agrees to provide support and
infrastructure to DDA of Oregon.
September 6, the Statewide Project: “Dual Diagnosis
Anonymous of Oregon” begins as a collaborative effort
between the State Office of Addictions and Mental
Health, The Psychiatric Security Review Board, Multnomah
County, CODA, Inc. and Project Director/DDA Founder
October, 2005-First DDA of Oregon monthly
Fellowship Gathering is held in Salem. The Monthly
Fellowship Gathering is held on the last Tuesday of
every month and becomes a cornerstone of support for
DDAer's and friends of DDA Statewide!
November, 2005-Wired World Web Factory launches
DDA of Oregon web site. DDA meetings began at the Oregon
June, 2006-Article about DDA published in Salem
Statesman Journal written by Bob Nikkel. Article about
DDA published in McMinnville News-Register written by
Founder of Dual Diagnosis Anonymous a Sole Source
Determination Contract with the State Office of
Addictions and Mental Health is awarded to Corbett as an
Hall is hired as first part-time outreach specialist for
DDA of Oregon.
December, 2006 -First “Unofficial” DDA of Oregon
Board meets in Salem. First Annual DDA of Oregon “Fun In
Recovery” Bowling Bonanza is held at Mt. Hood Lanes in
Gresham. Over fifty DDAer's attend.
January, 2007-Dual Diagnosis Anonymous of Oregon
is Incorporated as a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation.
February, 2007-Central Office of DDA of Oregon opens in
March, 2007 -First “Official” DDA of Oregon, Inc.
April, 2007-Article about DDA published by Salem-News.com
written by Lela Taylor
December, 2007-Second Annual DDA of Oregon “Fun
in Recovery” Bowling Bonanza is held and attended by
over sixty DDAer's. DDA of Oregon has established some
80 new meetings in 18 Counties in Oregon.
February, 2008-On 1-08-08 sixty-seven people
attend DDA in the 50 Building at Oregon State Hospital.
This is the largest regular weekly DDA meeting ever held
in Oregon! First ever DDA meeting is held in Vancouver
WA and is attended by four people. Article published
about DDA and DDAer Rosanna published in the Newport
News Times written by Elizabeth Chapman.
March, 2008- Corbett finalizes original “Dual
diagnosis Anonymous 12 Steps Plus Five Concept Paper”
and revisions of DDA readings (Meeting format, Rules of
Respect, Preamble, Opening Prayer, 12 Steps, 5 Steps,
Just For Today in DDA, and Group Meeting Record). DDA of
Oregon, Inc. readings, Logo, and History are submitted
for trademark/copyright protection.
July, 2008- Corbett
completes first draft of the DDA meeting format
principles and guidelines packet for facilitators.