Guide to Sharing

Each meeting has a guide to sharing or crosstalk statement which is a guideline used to keep the meeting a safe place for everyone in the meeting. As there are quite a few variations on the guides to sharing, here are just a few so that you can experience the similarities between them.

Guide to Sharing

The purpose of the crosstalk guidelines is to allow us to practice our recovery skills. At some point, many of us have asked, “How can I tell when I’m being Codependent?”

When we follow these guidelines, whether in meetings or in our daily life, it’s likely that we’re actively practicing our recovery. Some of us found these guidelines a bit scary when we were new.

The most important thing to remember when sharing in CoDA, is that we want to hear about YOU! Your thoughts, feelings, experience, challenges; and what has worked for You in Your recovery.

In CoDA meetings, we share with others what we have experienced and learned in our current and past relationships. We share who we are – our feelings, thoughts, and actions; and our experience, strength and hope.

When our sharing focuses on others — who they are, and what they may be thinking or doing – we are then in our disease.

In recovery, we learn that the focus is on us — and that our job is to take care of ourselves — not to fix others!

The crosstalk statement enables us to practice our recovery behaviours.

It also allows us to make CoDA a safe place for every Codependent to share their feelings, without fear of judgment or ridicule. Over time many of us have learned to use these tools in everyday life. The crosstalk statement is there for our mutual protection, growth and recovery.

In our meetings, we speak about our own experience, and we listen without comment to what others share. We work toward taking responsibility for our own lives, rather than giving advice to others. This is why crosstalk is strongly discouraged during our meetings. Crosstalk guidelines help keep our meetings a safe place. For more information, please refer to the Newcomer’s Handbook and Experiences with Crosstalk.

Examples of crosstalk may include, but are not limited to:

  • Giving unsolicited feedback
  • Advising
  • Answering
  • Making “you” and “we” statements
  • Interrogating
  • Debating
  • Criticizing
  • Controlling
  • Dominating
  • Minimizing another person’s feeling or experiences
  • Physical contact / touch (in face to face meetings)
  • Body movements such as nodding one’s head or other gestures
  • Verbal sounds / noises
  • Referring to someone present by Name

Crosstalk is any verbal or physical response to another person’s sharing. Interrupting, asking questions, and offering advice are considered to be crosstalk in CoDA.

We take responsibility for ourselves by owning our statements, and not criticizing others.

In CoDA, we encourage the use of “I” statements as a way of focusing the speaker’s attention on their own personal experience. Using the word “you” rather than “I” can be a way to avoid owning our individual reality. Also in CoDA, we do not assume that we know what is true for anyone other than ourselves. One example of crosstalk could be, “When you get a cold, you should take vitamins.” An appropriate way to express the same thing would be, “I’ve found vitamins to be helpful when I have a cold.”

Other forms of crosstalk can include: caretaking, physical touching, referring back to a person by name, commenting on what someone has said, or replying directly to what someone has said. Offering or receiving comfort during a meeting can encourage us to remove the focus from ourselves and lower the intensity of our feelings. We try to limit excessive focus on details during our sharing; this may be part of the disease, enabling us to avoid our feelings.

One helpful way to share in CoDA is to take just a few sentences to explain a situation, followed by more sharing of what you learned & what came up for you.

Details can be shared with a sponsor, friends, or a professional. As this is a spiritual program & not a religious program, we also ask that you refrain from using specific religious names & simply use Higher Power or God. Crosstalk involves discussing people, places or things that don’t pertain to your recovery. Our recovery requires the focus to be on ourselves!

Sometimes in our meetings there may be periods of silence. We try to use that time to pay attention to our feelings & ourselves. We encourage newcomers to begin slowly and carefully. Nothing that is shared is unimportant or stupid.

If you have any questions concerning CoDA please wait until after the end of the meeting and one of the members will be glad to answer them.

If you wish to give feedback to what anyone had to say tonight, please first ask that person for their permission after the meeting. We also ask that you limit your sharing to an appropriate amount of time to allow everyone the opportunity to share. If one person begins to dominate the sharing or chooses not to follow these guidelines, it is hoped that a group member will inform the person in a safe and courteous manner.

It is this form of sharing that makes our groups safe, supportive, healthy & magical.

(taken from CoDA approved literature, newcomer’s handbook, boundaries pamphlet, what is crosstalk pamphlet, and on crosstalk from website)

From CoDA Canada – 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.
The sharing of experiences is best done with “I” statements. Crosstalk and feedback are discouraged.

What Is Crosstalk?
Crosstalk can be: giving unsolicited feedback, advice-giving, answering, making “you”
and “we” statements, interrogating, debating, criticizing, controlling or dominating. It may also include: minimizing another person’s feelings or experiences, physical contact or
touch, body movements, such as nodding one’s head, calling another person present by name, or verbal sounds and noises. In our meetings, we speak about our own experience, and we listen without comment to what others share. We work toward taking responsibility in our own lives, rather than giving advice to others. Crosstalk guidelines help keep our meeting a safe place.

From CoDA Australasia – Guide to Sharing

Guide to sharing:
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. It is the intention of every CoDA group to support each person at every CoDA meeting. Nothing that is shared is unimportant or stupid and there is no requirement to share.
The sharing of our experiences is done with “I” statements – this
means that we tell only of our own experience, use of the words
“you” and “we” is discouraged.
CoDA has one paramount rule during sharing “no cross-talk”, this
means any verbal or physical response to what someone else is
saying or has said during their turn to speak. We give the person
sharing our full and uncritical attention. We also do not mention
other CoDA members during our share.
We can only share our own experience, strength and hope and do
not give advice without a person’s agreement. This also applies
after the meeting.
In the spirit of anonymity, we also ask that members do not give
their last name, identify their professions or refer to non-CoDA
literature during the meeting.

From CoDA UK – Guidelines for Sharing

When many of us were growing up no-one listened to us. We were told our feelings were wrong or that they did not matter. We were often interrupted and criticised. As adults we are used to taking care of other people and not taking responsibility for our own lives.

So in our meetings we speak about our own experiences and feelings. We listen without comment to what others say because it is true for them. In this way we work towards taking responsibility for our own lives, rather than giving advice to others. It is important for our recovery to know that we can share without fear of interruption, contradiction or criticism.

We do not judge, offer advice or comment on what other people say in meetings, even if the comment is positive or solicited – this is ‘feedback’.

We do not interrupt one another or engage in discussion – this is called ‘crosstalk’. When sharing, we use ‘I’ statements and avoid using the word ‘you’, ‘we’, ‘one’ or addressing someone by ‘name’. Crosstalk can include: physical contact or touch, passing tissues, excessive laughter, verbal sounds and noises.

Crosstalk and feedback are strongly discouraged in CoDA, since as co-dependents we are working to break away from dependency on what others think, feel or advise. Crosstalk infringes on boundaries, and many people find crosstalk or feedback unsafe. When we ask for no crosstalk, we have set a boundary in order to create a safe environment. No crosstalk nurtures recovery rather than co-dependency. It reminds us to focus on our own recovery rather than be distracted with helping or controlling others.

If a previous members share echoes within you and inspires you to speak, we suggest you stick to the ‘general topics’ you identify with, only. If you would like to speak to someone about something they have shared, please do so after the meeting, asking their consent first.

The secretary may read these guidelines again to remind members of this CoDA principle. Please do not be upset or embarrassed if this happens – it is only to maintain the safety of the room, to help us identify co-dependent behaviour and further our recoveries and awareness of this principle. If you think these guidelines have been violated or are not being observed, please ask the secretary to read them again at the end of that particular share.