Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) is a set of informal self-help groups made up of men and women with a common interest in working through the problems that co-dependency has caused in their lives.
There are four parts to the CoDA program of recovery:
Sharing and Fellowship
Working the Steps
A major part of recovery in any 12 step fellowship is attending meetings. At meetings members are able to share their experiences, thoughts and feelings with the group. There is never any obligation to share if you do not wish to. Being able to speak and be heard without interruption or comment is a powerful healing experience for many people, as is listening to others in the same way.
To attend CoDA meetings, all you need is the willingness to work at having healthy relationships. This means that all kinds of people attend meetings. Individual members can and do have differing political, religious and other affiliations, but since these are not relevant to the business of recovery from co-dependency, no comment is made about them. Meetings are around one hour in length. You don’t have to pre-arrange to attend, just turn up. The number of people at each meeting varies from week to week. Download a pamphlet on attending your first meeting here.
All meetings begin with an introduction which usually includes the Twelve Steps and Traditions, a welcome to newcomers, and an explanation of the format the meeting will take. There may be a speaker, or a reading of a Step or a topic. The meeting is then open for people to share their experiences, feelings and recovery with the group.
There is no obligation to share if you do not wish to, whether you are a newcomer or a long-established member. Each meeting usually incorporates a collection to cover the expenses of the group (eg hire of the meeting room) but CoDA is non-profit making. The meeting will end with a special prayer, called the Serenity Prayer. After the meeting, newcomers who would like more information can use this time to have their questions answered by more established members.
Recovery is something we cannot do alone.
It is recommended that you attend at least six CODA meetings in relatively quick succession before deciding if CoDA is right for you. If you are able, it is recommended that you attend more than one CoDA Group as part of your six meetings.
The ”God” as mentioned in the Steps is the Higher Power entirely of your own understanding; CoDA is a spiritual not a religious program and has no denominational, religious or other affiliations.
If you are new to CoDA, please read through all the information on this website. The best way to get started is to choose a meeting from the list here, and simply go along. You do not need to ‘join’ formally – if you decide CoDA is for you, simply attending meetings makes you a member.
Download a CoDA Welcome Pack kindly put together by CoDA Canada.