What is Dual Diagnosis Anonymous (DDA)?
Dual Diagnosis Anonymous (DDA) is a 12-step program variant that uses the principles created by Alcoholics Anonymous to help those who suffer from the effects of dual diagnosis. DDA is described as a “fellowship of persons who share their experiences, strengths, weaknesses, feelings, fears, and hopes with one another” to resolve their dual diagnosis or learn to live with the unresolved issues.1
What is a Dual Diagnosis?
A dual diagnosis is when a person has both a mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD and a substance abuse issue at the same time.
How Does Dual Diagnosis Anonymous Work?
Participants in Dual Diagnosis Anonymous typically attend meetings to discuss their issues, share stories of recovery, and how life is like now when dealing with their dual diagnosis. Meetings are to be kept anonymous and things mentioned or talked about during the meeting should be confidential and anonymous. The basis for 12 step programs is to “surrender ourselves to a Power greater than ourselves,” which may be God, a state of spirituality, or other source of strength.
What are the 12 Steps of Dual Diagnosis Anonymous?
DDA has adapted the 12-steps used by Alcoholics Anonymous as well as having added 5 additional steps known as the Five Steps of DDA.
The 12-Steps of DDA are:2
- We admitted we were powerless over our dual diagnosis, and that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- 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 our affairs.
The 5 Additional Steps of DDA are:2
- We admitted that we had a mental illness, in addition to our substance abuse, and we accepted our dual diagnosis.
- We became willing to accept help for both of these diseases.
- We have understood the role of medication, including its risks and benefits, the importance of clinical interventions and therapies, and we have accepted the need for sobriety from alcohol and abstinence from all non-prescribed drugs in our program.
- 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 addiction free life styles.
- We continued to follow the DDA Recovery Program of the Twelve Steps plus Five managing our wellbeing, a healthy addiction free lifestyle, and helped others.
Who Should Attend DDA Meetings?
The only requirement for membership is a desire to develop health addiction free lifestyles and help others.1 Those struggling with dual diagnosis mental health and substance use disorders typically attend DDA meetings.
Should I Go to Rehab Instead?
Everyone’s situation and relationship with substance use and mental health is difference. Dual Diagnosis rehab facilities will frequently use the 12-steps as part of the treatment process if patients are interested. If you believe you or a loved one’s substance use is becoming a problem, you can give us a call at There, an admissions navigator will listen to your story, determine your options, and help you attend treatment if needed.
The process of overcoming addiction in rehab typically starts with medically supervised detox, wherein patients are supported as they undergo withdrawal. Then, patients will typically enter the inpatient rehab phase at the same facility. In inpatient rehab, patients will attend therapy, meetings, and get help understanding their addiction and ultimately learning strategies to reach long-term recovery.