People start new meetings for many reasons. Some may be isolated from established CoDA meetings because of inconvenient meeting times or distance, or live somewhere with no regional meetings at all. Even those not isolated from existing meetings may wish to start a new meeting, one that meets at a different time or has a different format or focus. As Tradition Five reminds us, all new meetings should be alike in one way…“Each group has but one primary purpose: to carry its message to other co-dependents who still suffer.”
In planning a new meeting, the first place to start is the coda.org tab Starter Materials, which includes the downloadable CoDA Meeting Handbook. (The packet is translated into other languages including Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese through the CoRE website). The handbook offers detailed guidance on how to go about starting a CoDA meeting and contains copies of standard meeting materials, such as the CoDA Preamble, the Welcome, the Steps, the Traditions, the Promises, and Recovery Patterns.
A CoDA group is composed of two or more individuals whose purpose in meeting is a desire for healthy relationships. A group applies the principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, as adapted for our purpose from Alcoholics Anonymous. A CoDA group reads CoDA’s Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and the copyrighted “Welcome” and “Preamble” as they are written. These readings, along with the availability of CoDA Service Conference Endorsed literature at your meeting, help to support a sense of CoDA unity as called for in CoDA’s First Tradition.
People willing to start a new meeting may have varying levels of experience in CoDA or other 12-Step fellowships and need different levels of support. Support and direction for those starting a meeting can come from CoDA members sharing their experience, strength, and hope or from CoDA groups such as…
- Established meetings
- Outreach Committee
- Our MinnCoDA Intergroup
Considerations when first starting a meeting: (please see the CoDA Meeting Handbook for detailed information)
- What is the need for the meeting in the area? Consider others who may want to be involved in the process of starting a meeting and what people are looking for.
- What type of meeting? To choose a meeting format see the Meeting Format section for types of meeting
- What literature should be utilized? CoDA conference-approved literature is always suggested. Please see the CoDA Literature through CoRe or the material and literature page on this site.
- Where can we hold a meeting? Some groups have found Alano Clubs, churches, community rooms, and even meeting spaces in local businesses to be good places for meeting locations.
Asking for help: Members often have many questions that other CoDA members can help answer. It is suggested that you talk to members who have started meetings for experience, strength, and hope. Some topics they may be able to assist with are…
- How to choose and modify a format to fit their needs
- How to find sponsors
- How to attract people to their meeting while honoring Tradition 11.
- How to create and maintain healthy meetings (See Healthy Meeting Matters booklet)
- How to choose which CoDA-approved literature is needed to start.
Additional Suggestions on how to start a healthy meeting: What did it take to get your meeting established? The following is experience, strength, and hope from our members:
- Have enough literature and download and print free materials. The Recovery Patterns tend to be very helpful for newcomers and all group members.
- Register the meeting immediately with CoDA International.
- Consider making and distributing flyers or posts to our Fellowship Band. Our free Fellowship Band App helps members of CoDA stay informed and communicate. It can be used to post info about new groups starting locally as well as fun events.
- Contact MinnCoDA Intergroup and arrange to attend an Intergroup meeting to request start-up assistance funds. Group Service Representatives (GSRs) and others can announce the new meeting info at their existing meetings. New meetings can be added to this website on the in-person or MN online meetings pages.
- Service Positions: Develop a time for a regular group Business Meeting. At the first Business Meeting ideally, elect officers including a GSR for the group. A list of potential positions is in the CoDA Meeting Handbook. Additionally, you may want to have a set Business Meeting Format.
Questions: If members have additional questions, please email the CoDA Email Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or locally at MinnCoDA@gmail.com
Anyone can start a new meeting and CoDA provides lots of resources and support to help! By doing the service of starting a new meeting, two things are certain. You will grow in your own recovery and help others find a new home in the program of Co-dependents Anonymous.