Jackson County

Dual Recovery offers hope for those with mental illness and addiction

Those with mental illness and addiction have a new place to talk on the Coast.
Those with mental illness and addiction have a new place to talk on the Coast. MCT

Dual Recovery Anonymous has been holding meetings for patients at a Coast hospital for more than year, and now it is offering the same meetings to people in two cities — D’Iberville and Ocean Springs.

Dual Recovery is an option for people with both chemical dependency and emotional or psychiatric illness. It focuses on preventing relapse and actively improving quality of life.

It offers a standard 12-step program for addiction, but also welcomes people with mental illness as a place to meet and talk about their additional issues, which often include medication and doctors, one member said. However, the program does not give advice about medications or recommend doctors.

Chris Ras, social services manager for Gulf Oaks psychiatric hospital in Biloxi, hosts weekly meetings with patients.

“There’s absolutely a place for something like this,” Ras said. “When patients are discharged, some groups focus just on addiction. This one combines mental health and addiction. The two are often linked — if you drink to make the voices go away, for example.

“As you peel away the layers, you may find alcoholism has been caused by mental-health issues, or your addiction could have caused depression.

“People involved realize this.”

Jeff S. founded the group because he has mental-health issues as well as addiction problems and was being treated for one or the other separately.

“But with this program, its literature and the way it works, these things need to be dealt with together,” he said. “It’s a place where people can to talk about medicine issues or trying to hurt themselves. Other 12-step programs don’t encourage that.”

Dual Recovery, established in 1989, has a central office in Kansas. It came to the Coast a year ago.

There are only two requirements for membership:

▪  A desire to stop using alcohol or other drugs.

▪  A desire to manage emotional or psychiatric illness in a healthy way.

Besides the inpatient meeting at Gulf Oaks, DRA offers a meeting for the public at 310 Porter Ave. in Ocean Springs (the office of Sandra Diaz), at 6:30 p.m. Mondays.

The newest meeting is in D’Iberville at Heritage United Methodist Church, 4322 Popp’s Ferry Road, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

Knowing your diagnosis is helpful for those who attend.

For more details, contact Jeff S. at 235-5160 or Josh B. at 217-0426.

The meetings are free, “but we pass the basket to pay for coffee.”

Two new meetings for people with addiction and mental-health issues:

  • 6:30 p.m. Mondays, office of Sandra Diaz, 310 Porter Ave., Ocean Springs
  • 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Heritage United Methodist Church, 4322 Popp’s Ferry Road, , D’Iberville