Attending meetings is a crucial part of the recovery program of Co-Dependents Anonymous. Showing up and participating in whatever way we are able is how we grow in CoDA. Individual recovery does not happen in isolation. Attending meetings puts us in contact with other recovering codependents who share our experience.
We discover we are not alone.
There are open and closed meetings, Step or CoDA Big Book meetings, speaker and topic meetings. Most meetings are open to all people, although there are women-only, men-only and LGBTQ+ meetings available.
We suggest attending six meetings before deciding if CoDA is right for you— and try different meetings to find the ones that work best for your recovery.
What happens at a CoDA Meeting?
- Meetings vary in length from 60 to 90 minutes.
- CoDA Meetings are not all the same although they follow a consistent format which may include an opening section with introductions, readings, announcements and time for individual sharing.
- We read the four foundational documents: The Preamble, The Welcome, The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. Many groups also read the Recovery Patterns of Codependence, Affirmations, and the 12 Promises.
- We practice “no cross talk” and during individual sharing we use “I” statements keeping our sharing to 3-5 minutes.
Meeting readings and materials are tools that many of us find helpful in our recovery journeys.
Our sharing is our way of identification and helps us to free the emotional bonds of our past and the compulsive control of our present.The CoDA Welcome
CoDA’s guide to sharing
- As we pursue our recovery, it is important for each of us to speak as we are able. Many of us find speaking among others, especially strangers, a very difficult task. We encourage people to begin slowly and carefully. It is the intention of every CoDA member and group not to ridicule or embarrass anyone. Nothing that is shared is unimportant or stupid. The sharing of our experiences is best done with “I” statements. “Crosstalk” and “feedback” are discouraged.
- When sharing in CoDA meetings, we use “I” statements to help keep the focus on ourselves and help us express our feelings directly and honestly.
- We limit our sharing to 3-5 minutes. This boundary allows time for everyone to share.
- We practice “no crosstalk.” This means we refrain from asking questions, interrupting, giving feedback or advice, referring directly to another person’s share, calling another person present by name, or making “you” and “we” statements. Although it may feel awkward at first, experience has shown us that CoDA’s crosstalk guidelines help keep our meetings a safe place.
- It is always an option to pass during any part of the meeting.
Listening to others share in a CoDA meeting is how we begin to understand the program. Learning to listen deeply is a skill that takes practice. As we take the time to sit and listen to others share in CoDA meetings, we begin to identify with the experience, strength, and hope of others. Although their specific stories may be different from ours, we hear the truth that resonates with our experience.
Finding a Meeting
A CoDA meeting is the heart of the program of Co-Dependents Anonymous.
CoDA World also has a meeting locator where you can search for meetings all over the world or here at home. There are specific online and phone meeting locators as well. It may be good idea to try to reach out to a meeting’s group contact person before attending for the first time. Meetings listed at CoDA.org will also have group contact info listed.
If you want a meeting near you and don’t have one, read on!
Starting a Meeting
Each CoDA meeting started with one person seeking to share and give back to the community— a spark of light shared with others. Be a spark and start a meeting!
To help you start your meeting, CoDA has developed a complete Meeting Handbook that includes everything a meeting needs to get up and running. Register your new meeting via CoDA.org to receive a start-up kit. Our MinnCoDA Intergroup offers support as well. MinnCoDA’s Meeting Materials page has downloads of all the documents needed. Initial financial assistance from MinnCoDA may be requested and arranged as well.
Reach out to us if you are interested in starting a meeting or for more discussion.