DDA was founded in the USA in the late 1990s by Corbett Monica.
Corbett was a Vietnam War veteran who was in recovery from substance misuse and mental illness. In his recovery, he had gone on to work as a therapist in the U.S. prison system and in social care sectors.
After taking a couple of dually diagnosed people he was working with to an AA meeting, Corbett was asked not to bring them back to the AA meeting because they were displaying mental health symptoms. In response, Corbett took it upon himself to get permission from AA to use the 12 Steps, plus also write the further 5 Steps of DDA….and thus DDA was born!
In 2014, Dan Ware (a frontline worker in London Homelessness Services with an interest in Dual Diagnosis), visited Corbett in Portland, Oregon and was blown away by the DDA meeting he attended and the whole DDA programme.
Dan gained permission from Corbett to take DDA to the UK and in 2016, set up Dual Diagnosis Anonymous as a non-profit organisation with his old friend Alan Butler.
Alan and Dan formed a friendship when Alan was early in his dual diagnosis recovery and was volunteering as a peer support worker at a Day Centre in West London, where Dan also worked as the Substance Misuse Worker.
Together, Alan and Dan ‘pitched’ to Ealing’s Mental Health and Substance Misuse Commissioners and were awarded funding to set up 2 DDA meetings in Ealing, West London.
This was an early success for DDA UK because not only had DDA gained funding to run meetings but symbolically this funding had been jointly funded by both Substance Misuse and Mental Health Services!
Around the same time, Dan and Alan also met John O’Donnell – who had almost single-handedly been running a similar 12 Step Dual Diagnosis Fellowship in Shepherds Bush/Chelsea and Westminister (for over 10 years).
John was impressed by the additional 5 Steps that DDA offered, so changed his existing ‘Dual Recovery Anonymous’ meetings into ‘Dual Diagnosis Anonymous’ Meetings.
Since then, DDA has added a further meeting in Hillingdon; and want to grow DDA throughout London and the UK….as we know there is a need for it everywhere.
Although we are currently small in size, we go from strength to strength: The University of West London will shortly be publishing an academic study on the effectiveness of DDA Meetings, and they have secured further funding to study the impact of social Fund’ for DDA members to take part in more activities away from meetings. To date, we have already run 2 DDA Retreats; one DDA Bowling Night; and one DDA Christmas Dinner!
DDA also runs a 24-hour phone support line.