By John R.
Three immediate and huge benefits for attending a
Co-Dependents Anonymous Meeting:
- You’re not Alone; You’re immediately accepted the way you are and the way you aren’t.
Whatever it is that makes your life difficult right now, you will find people suffering the same things in a similar way at a meeting of Co-Dependents Anonymous. You will be automatically welcomed and immediately included. You gain instant membership with very little asked of you in return. Your sharing and your silence are both welcome here. At first it might seem weird.
There is no trick, no hidden offer. There will be no obligation placed on you. If you’re like me you already have a full plate of obligations and it will seem like finding an oasis in the desert: Zero expectations.
And … it’s free. We don’t want your money. We just want you to come back.
- You’ll get No Advice
At first it might seem weird. Every other place you go in this world is full of advice. Your mother, your life partner, your siblings, your friends, your boss, your co-workers, your therapist, your doctor… a steady stream of advice is aimed at you. You are probably full of advice. You probably give yourself advice. Advice is a form of addiction. I know people who can’t stop giving advice. I also know people who are compulsive advice shoppers, people who can’t cross the street on a green light
without a chorus of advisors’ approval.
So in a CoDA meeting we ask that you take a short vacation from advice. Without the constant noise of advice you’ll soon notice a new kind of listening is present in the room and available for your own application. (Did you know there are different kinds of listening?) It’s a really nourishing kind of listening. It nourishes both the listener and the person who is finally being listened to without judgement or advice. Most of us just want to be heard and known. Most of us don’t want to be fixed or changed.
Codependents are learning to live without constantly seeking approval and guidance from outside themselves. They are also learning how to live a life that is built from individual choosing, instead of one steered by expectations, obligations and fearfulness. Some of us have found we no longer use the word “should”. We find better things to say to the people in our life.
- You’ll quickly find new ways to “Be” that don’t include complaints, comparisons,
reasons, explanations, justifications and excuses.
Nobody ever got to Heaven, or found Happiness by complaining. Noticing and giving voice to the shortcomings of others does not produce healthy self-esteem in the fault-finder. Excuses don’t excuse. Justifications don’t justify. Explanations don’t explain much of value. None of these behaviors are fun to be around, they don’t actually work. So why do they persist? The answer to that question isn’t all that interesting, it’s just another explanation.
A better question is what practices actually do work? The answer to that question might seem weird: When you find yourself sincerely asking that question in your own words and for your own benefit and not to look good or win approval, new ways of being begin to arrive in your life. If you keep attending meetings and you start to “work the 12 steps” you will start to see whole new worlds open up for your choosing. If you do the work, you will start to receive the 12 Promises of Co-Dependents Anonymous.*
And did I mention? … It’s free.
*Look it up. Don’t expect me to do your work.