Categories
sponsorship

Sponsorship Ideas

We are looking for CoDA groups/individuals to provide ideas/feedback on what has worked for them which we can share (anonymously) at our Sponsorship Workshop in London or via our Zoom Workshop.

We would also welcome suggestions on how we can move sponsorship forward in the UK. Is there something you would like us to try? All suggestions/ideas are welcome. Our email is: sponsorship@codauk.org

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sponsorship

Sponsorship Shout Out

If you are a sponsor looking for sponsees, then we would appreciate it if you could contact sponsorship@codauk.org. There are always lots of sponsees looking for sponsors and we can put you in touch with each other.

Categories
Sponsorship-TEMP

Working Steps 1, 2, 3

CoDA has produced a new thirty question tool to aid newcomers to begin working steps 1, 2, and 3.
Thirty Questions – Getting Started working the steps as easy as 123

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Sponsorship-TEMP

Step Study groups

Step Study groups are groups of codependents working through the Twelve Steps (and often the Twelve Traditions) in a structured format, usually outside of a regular meeting.Step Study groups often have the same objectives as co-sponsors, but with more people, and members often make contact outside the group. Please see the Step Study Group section of the ORG for information and details on starting a Step Study Group. It is recommended that members do have sponsors outside of the Step Study Group, but the group work often inspires the desire to “go to all lengths” to find a sponsor.

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Sponsorship-TEMP

Co-Sponsoring

Co-sponsoring occurs when two CoDA members sponsor each other. Co-sponsors meet or call regularly to share what they are learning about the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. They share experience, strength, and hope equally, growing in their own way and at their own pace.

As in all sponsor relationships, the recovery goal in CoDA co-sponsorship is to have a mutually beneficial relationship. Working the Steps, changing our behavior, and growing spiritually frees us from advising, controlling, and rescuing.

Co-sponsors may choose to have another CoDA member guide them, especially through difficult situations or when they get stuck.  Sometimes co-sponsorship is a good model for sponsorship when utilized in conjunction with a Step-Study Group.

Categories
Sponsorship-TEMP

Sponsor-Sponsee

The place to begin the search for a sponsor is often in your home group or local meetings. Some meetings offer a list of CoDA members willing to be sponsors (but many members who are eager and qualified to be sponsors are not on the list). Over a period of time we listen to these people when they share, perhaps spending some time with them after the meetings. It may take time to get to know someone well enough to consider them for a sponsor. It is important to remember that no sponsor is “perfect”, as our program teaches us that all people are “perfectly imperfect” human beings.

We may find ourselves in a group in which there are no members willing or able to sponsor. In this case we can travel to another CoDA group in the area or perhaps a regional CoDA event. Other options are to attend a phone or online meeting and try to find someone there with whom you identify.

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workshops

Workshop #4

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workshops

Workshop #3

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workshops

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workshops

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Sponsorship-TEMP

Workshop materials

Did you know that the Sponsorship Workshop which takes place 4 times a year in London has been designed for groups to pick up and deliver wherever they are?

All the materials are available in the script; you will just need a couple of people to help with service. The Sponsorship Committee members are happy to assist and guide you. The workshop has also been held online temporarily and more details will be added on this soon.

Freely available to all CoDA members
Categories
Sponsorship-TEMP

Sponsorship Service

Are you willing to do a 10 minute Chair, giving your experience strength and hope (ESH) working the steps as a Sponsor, being Sponsored, working in a Step Group, as a Co-Sponsor?

Are you willing to do service to support the workshop? Opportunities for Service on the day:

  • Giving 10 minute chair
  • Being Chair Finder
  • Reading Script
  • Booking person to contact venue and secure place
  • Treasurer
  • Literature person (purchase it and sell it at the meeting)
  • Spiritual Timekeeper 
  • Door keeper, 
  • Greeter
  • Newcomers rep
  • Zoom host and co-hosts
  • Experienced coda member for each breakout room

The proposed script of the zoom version of the workshop is held at: 

Proposed Sponsorship script

You can follow that link and post comments on the document. 

We organize ourselves through a service committee, and we meet before the workshop to go through the script to see if it can be improved, and incorporate comments and suggestions. And decide who is going to do what.

If you would like to do a service position, or join the service committee, please email sponsorship@coda-uk.org

Categories
A This month Events Homepage News

24th Aug – CoDA World Service Conference

CoDA WSC 2020 – starts Monday 24th August
There is no registration fee, to attend as an observer contact events@coda.org and register on the CoDA Eventbrite page as an observer.

Closer to the event you will be given a private Youtube Live Stream address to follow proceedings.

Starts: Mon 24th Aug
Ends: Wed 26th Aug
Timings: 4pm – 9:30pm (UK Time)

Note: Do not share the Youtube Live Stream address

What is it?
The CoDA Service Conference (CSC) is CoDA World’s annual business meeting. The CSC is held each year in order to transact CoDA World business through the group conscience process. The location varies from year to year to support and help grow CoDA communities around the world.” This year it is virtual

Who can attend?
Anyone that would like to observe the CSC process is welcome… [The only people who get a vote and a voice are] … Delegates and Board members [who] attend the CSC. A delegate is an individual in the fellowship who is elected by their Voting Entity to represent its wishes at the CSC. Committee Chairs, who also attend, can be granted voice, but no vote by the delegates at CSC, through group conscience.

What is a voting entity?
A Voting Entity is a group of members who represent CoDA in an area of the country or world. Ours is CodaUK Motions presented by a Voting Entity are called Voting Entity Issues.

Categories
A This month Events Homepage News sponsorship

15th Aug – Sponsorship Workshop (Zoom)

CoDA UK will host the 2nd Zoom Sponsorship Workshop on Saturday, August 15th 2020. This event will be limited to the first 100 people who log-in. No registration is needed.

  • Numbers limited to 100 (by Zoom)
  • No registration required, first come first served
  • Doors open 12:30pm (meeting)
  • Workshop start 1pm

Zoom connection details – will be posted to all subscribers
Please email sponsorship@coda-uk.org to be put on this mailing list.

CodaUK – Sponsorship Workshop Committee

Format of Sponsorship Workshop
1pmReadings
1:15pm



Workshop 1 – One to One sponsorship1 ¼ hours
Starting with four chairs of 10 minutes
Sharing experience strength and hope (ESH)
– Questions at the end via “raised hand”
(Zoom chat box closed)
1:20pmChair – Sponsorship 1:1
1:30pmChair – Sponsorship 1:1
1:40pmChair – Sponsorsee 1:1
1:55pm “Raised hand” sharing(40 minutes)
2:40pm
15 minute break
(optional free form discussion and Zoom chat box open)
2:55pm

Workshop 2 – Co-Sponsorship and Step Groups – 1 hour
Starting with four chairs of 10 minutes
Sharing ESH instead of direct questions
3:00pmChair – Being a Co-Sponsor
3:10pmChair – Being a Co-Sponsor
3:20pmChair – Being a Step Group
3:30pmChair – Being a Step Group
3:45pm“Raised hand” sharing – (30 minutes) – (3 minutes each)
4:15pm
Close of workshop
(optional free form discussion and Zoom chat box open)
4:30pmEnd


We have a script for the workshop, if that helps: all are welcome to read and comment: 

Workshop – Script

CoDA Documents used in Workshop

CoDA – Preamble
CoDA – Welcome
CoDA – 12 Steps
CoDA – 12 Traditions
CoDA – Safeguarding Policy

You can follow that link and post comments on the document. 

CoDA Org Sponsorship Resources

An account of Step Group – Coda World

Working Steps in a group

Coda Fellowship Forum Audio Recording

CoDA – Fellowship Forum – Audio recordings

Categories
A This month Events

8th Aug – Co-Dependence Matters

Meeting opens 6:45pm
8th August – UK speaker series – Christina (7 – 9pm )

Join Zoom meeting online
Meeting ID : 820 0559 3834
Passcode: 036019
Or dial one of the numbers below
+44 203 051 2874, +44 0203 481 5237 (UK)
+1 929 205 6099 (US – New York)
+353 1 653 389 (Ireland)

Note: Registration not needed! Places limited to 100


Service opportunities
Are available, we are especially looking for speakers. If you can help at this or any other event please email us at codaunitycommittee@gmail.com

Categories
A This month Events

1st Aug – Co-Dependence Matters

Meeting opens 6:45pm
1st August – UK speaker series – Frank (7 – 9pm )

Join Zoom meeting online
Meeting ID : 820 0559 3834
Passcode: 036019
Or dial one of the numbers below
+44 203 051 2874, +44 0203 481 5237 (UK)
+1 929 205 6099 (US – New York)
+353 1 653 389 (Ireland)

Note: Registration not needed! Places limited to 100


Service opportunities
Are available, we are especially looking for speakers. If you can help at this or any other event please email us at codaunitycommittee@gmail.com

Categories
News

London South East Region – operational

The London & South East Region (LSER) became operational again at the last meeting on July 11th, and a committee has been formed consisting of Chair, Communications Secretary, Minutes Secretary and GSR (Regional Rep).

We’ll be holding regular meetings every 3 or 4 months (to be decided at the next meeting) and we’re hoping the LSER will be  a forum for GSRs and members to come together in CoDA spiritual principles of service and unity to share what is working in their meetings, raise issues, and to discuss putting on events and other community building activities.

We currently have a vacancy for the post of Treasurer, other service positions will become available as we look to do various projects and work out what we need in the Region.

NEXT MEETING : October 3rd – 1pm on Zoom
Login details and links will be sent out nearer the time. All CoDA members are warmly invited to attend

All CoDA members are warmly invited to attend

In Fellowship

LSER Communications Secretary

CoDA Service Information : http://coda.org/index.cfm/service-info/

Find out more about LSER here

Categories
LSER News Article

LSER Update 30/6

Service positions available

Tuesday 30th June

Dear CoDA London South East Region Members,

An informal London & South East Region (LSER) Zoom meeting took place on Saturday 23rd May to continue the dialogue from the initial meeting in February 2020.

During the meeting, general consensus was to reform the LSER committee and some of those present expressed an interest to serve. It was agreed to open all the Committee roles to the wider LSER community and anyone who is interested can read the service role descriptors (see below) to understand what would be required. This will then allow for nominations and a vote to take place during our next meeting on Saturday 11th July 1-3 pm, to which you and your group members are invited. 

The below list shows which service positions are available should you wish to put yourself forward with a brief description of what each role entails. Some of these positions (Chair, Treasurer and Secretary) are described more fully in part 3 of the CoDA Fellowship Services Manual (FSM): https://coda.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/FSM-Part-3-Guidelines-for-Other-Service-Levels.pdf

Service roles that require filling: 

Chair – manages the business meetings and set the agenda.

Secretary – the role would include producing and distributing meeting minutes and other key information to attendees, officers, and the local Fellowship.

Minutes Taker – takes the minutes during the meeting.

Communications Secretary – creates and maintains a Region contact list, answers incoming email, and would handle most mass mailings.

GSR – attends and reports to the National Steering Committee (NSC) every 3 or 4 months.

Treasurer – responsible for accounting and documentation of all funds, maintaining accurate records and presenting written reports of the status of the LSER account at meetings and when requested to the Fellowship.

Literature Secretary – to liaise with UK CoDA publisher to ensure literature is available. Provides other information about literature (new publications etc).

Timekeeper – during the LSER meetings.

Please note the CoDA Fellowship Service Manual states: ‘Terms of office and/or rotation of officers is highly recommended and considered healthy in CoDA. A term office of two years is suggested unless otherwise specified by a Group conscience.’

Please inform your group members about these service vacancies to get more involved at intergroup level (LSER) which are also opportunities to further your recovery as well as meet other CoDA members. If you as a GSR or any of your group members are willing to serve at the regional level then please note it is recommended to be attending local fellowship for at least 1 year and have worked or are working the CoDA program. For those of you interested in the Treasurer role the guidelines are more than 3 years.

A term office of two years is suggested unless otherwise specified by a Group conscience.’

Also, in accordance with the CoDA FSM 2019, GSRs and Committee members have a right to vote however as there is no LSER Committee yet this means only GSRs can vote. Ideally, the formed LSER Committee would consist of GSRs and Service members who are not GSRs.

Finally, LSER committee meetings are open for all CoDA members to attend, to contribute ideas about what they would like to see happen in their region and to discuss any issues their groups are experiencing, currently they are taking place on Zoom. It is a good way to be informed of what is happening with CoDA groups across the London South East Region and to connect with other CoDA members too.

We hope to see you on Sat 11th July 2020 at 1pm, when all being well the LSER Committee will once again become operational,

In fellowship
Acting LSER Communications Secretary

Note: please contact coda.uk.se.region@gmail.com for Zoom login details.

Categories
A This month Events Homepage News Northern Region News Article

1st Aug – CoDA North Region – Virtual Meetings

Virtual Business Meeting (morning) and Virtual Open Fellowship Meeting (afternoon)

Date: 1st August 2020
Times: 10.15 for 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3pm

Morning 10.30-12.30:
CoDA North is holding our quarterly business meeting which is open to members from all the North region meetings (which include North Wales and Scotland).

Join us online/by phone to discuss our region’s CoDA business and share news from your groups. Group Service Representatives (GSRs) are able to vote on any motions proposed. 

If you have any business your group would like to be discussed at the morning meeting, please mention it when you email for the password so that we can put it on the agenda. If possible, the agenda will be circulated in advance to all those registered.

Please email northregion@codauk.org with any business or reports from meetings in the North which are not going to represented in person on the day.

Afternoon 1.30-3.00:Join us for an open CoDA sharing meeting with fellows from around the North region. This will be run along the lines of a normal CoDA meeting.

How to join the meetings:
Both meetings are open to all members, not just GSRs, using the Zoom details below. For the safety of the group, you will need a password to join this meeting. Please email northregion@codauk.org to obtain the password any time before the meeting and state which group you attend most regularly. We will monitor the email inbox regularly and respond with the password before 10am on Saturday 1st August. 

We may not be able to check this account once the morning meeting has begun, so please register your intent to attend at 1.30 before 10am.

Join Zoom meeting online
Meeting ID: 932 8388 5330
Or dial on one of the numbers below
+44 330 088 5830, +44 131 460 1196 , +44 20 3481 5237,
+44 20 3481 5240, +44 20 8080 6591, +44 20 8080 6592

Note: Please email northregion@codauk.org to obtain the password any time before the meeting and state which group you attend most regularly.

Categories
LSER - News - redirect category News

LSER Update 30/6

Service positions available

Tuesday 30th June

Dear CoDA London South East Region Members,

An informal London & South East Region (LSER) Zoom meeting took place on Saturday 23rd May to continue the dialogue from the initial meeting in February 2020.

During the meeting, general consensus was to reform the LSER committee and some of those present expressed an interest to serve. It was agreed to open all the Committee roles to the wider LSER community and anyone who is interested can read the service role descriptors (see below) to understand what would be required. This will then allow for nominations and a vote to take place during our next meeting on Saturday 11th July 1-3 pm, to which you and your group members are invited. 

The below list shows which service positions are available should you wish to put yourself forward with a brief description of what each role entails. Some of these positions (Chair, Treasurer and Secretary) are described more fully in part 3 of the CoDA Fellowship Services Manual (FSM): https://coda.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/FSM-Part-3-Guidelines-for-Other-Service-Levels.pdf

Service roles that require filling: 

Chair – manages the business meetings and set the agenda.

Secretary – the role would include producing and distributing meeting minutes and other key information to attendees, officers, and the local Fellowship.

Minutes Taker – takes the minutes during the meeting.

Communications Secretary – creates and maintains a Region contact list, answers incoming email, and would handle most mass mailings.

GSR – attends and reports to the National Steering Committee (NSC) every 3 or 4 months.

Treasurer – responsible for accounting and documentation of all funds, maintaining accurate records and presenting written reports of the status of the LSER account at meetings and when requested to the Fellowship.

Literature Secretary – to liaise with UK CoDA publisher to ensure literature is available. Provides other information about literature (new publications etc).

Timekeeper – during the LSER meetings.

Please note the CoDA Fellowship Service Manual states: ‘Terms of office and/or rotation of officers is highly recommended and considered healthy in CoDA. A term office of two years is suggested unless otherwise specified by a Group conscience.’

Please inform your group members about these service vacancies to get more involved at intergroup level (LSER) which are also opportunities to further your recovery as well as meet other CoDA members. If you as a GSR or any of your group members are willing to serve at the regional level then please note it is recommended to be attending local fellowship for at least 1 year and have worked or are working the CoDA program. For those of you interested in the Treasurer role the guidelines are more than 3 years.

A term office of two years is suggested unless otherwise specified by a Group conscience.’

Also, in accordance with the CoDA FSM 2019, GSRs and Committee members have a right to vote however as there is no LSER Committee yet this means only GSRs can vote. Ideally, the formed LSER Committee would consist of GSRs and Service members who are not GSRs.

Finally, LSER committee meetings are open for all CoDA members to attend, to contribute ideas about what they would like to see happen in their region and to discuss any issues their groups are experiencing, currently they are taking place on Zoom. It is a good way to be informed of what is happening with CoDA groups across the London South East Region and to connect with other CoDA members too.

We hope to see you on Sat 11th July 2020 at 1pm, when all being well the LSER Committee will once again become operational,

In fellowship
Acting LSER Communications Secretary

Note: please contact coda.uk.se.region@gmail.com for Zoom login details.

Categories
Uncategorized

Sponsorship in CoDA: 2007 Workshop

Sponsorship in CoDA – Workshop held in Birmingham 21/4/07

I am a recovering codependent who normally attends the Birmingham Branch of CoDA, and the following relates my experience of the above workshop. There were two speakers: Emma, who shared her experience of individual sponsorship, and Hilary, who shared her experience of co-sponsorship. Kay, the speaker on group sponsorship, could not be at the workshop so sent her written account to be read out.

There was some discussion following the talks, when both speakers mentioned how healing the sponsoring relationship can be, in terms of providing an opportunity for identification with another person, and the feelings of reassurance and acceptance that this can give. It can really relieve the feelings of isolation and shame that many codependents carry. For myself, I came away with the realisation that by setting clear boundaries for oneself, it makes it easier for the other person to define themselves. And, I guess, that the ideal sponsor-sponsee relationship can provide a blueprint for managing all relationships – within CoDA and outside. 


Individual Sponsorship

Sponsorship in CoDA – Workshop held in Birmingham 21/4/07 The speaker began by stating how the role of sponsor in a one-to-one situation is a GIFT from recovery; ideally a mutual and balanced relationship and very much a two-way street. The sponsored member may have much to give. She clarified the role of the sponsor […]

Group Sponsorship

Sharing the Experience, Strength and Hope I’ve Found in a CoDA Step Work Group My name is Kay and I’m a recovering co-dependent. I have been in the fellowship for just under three years. I joined the fellowship following a bad break-up which left me broken spiritually, untrusting of my own judgement and merits and […]

Co-Sponsorship

Sponsorship in CoDA – Workshop held in Birmingham 21/4/07 The speaker described how she had been in CoDA for around 3-4 years, following sponsoring in another 12 step fellowship. There was a lack of available sponsors, and the co-sponsoring relationship was set up in the light of this. She described the ‘mechanics’ of the relationship, […]

Categories
Share Sponsorship shares

Working steps in a group

An account of Step Group – Coda World

What Is a Step Study?
Often regular, listed CoDA meetings call themselves a Step Study when the focus of the meeting is CoDA literature about the Steps, and sometimes the Traditions. These meetings are open and rotate through the literature again and again. New people join the meeting wherever the group is and get a taste of CoDA’s Steps, Traditions, and the experience of the members of the meeting.

When you are ready to WORK the Steps, you might find or start a small group of likeminded members who want to take their recovery to the next level. Members create small groups to support each other by working through all the Steps together. We strongly suggest working the Traditions simultaneously. This is also called a Step Study Group. This kind of group will be the major focus of this document.

Read more

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Share Sponsorship shares

Individual Sponsorship

Sponsorship in CoDA – Workshop held in Birmingham 21/4/07

The speaker began by stating how the role of sponsor in a one-to-one situation is a GIFT from recovery; ideally a mutual and balanced relationship and very much a two-way street. The sponsored member may have much to give.

She clarified the role of the sponsor as someone who will take the sponsee through the Steps, and share experience, strength and hope. The sponsor’s ego ideally needs to be out of the equation – the codependent need to ‘fix’ is no more appropriate here than in any other relationship. So it is important that the sponsor takes care of themselves first, in terms of time and energy boundaries, and that the negotiations are for the needs of both. It may be that sponsees new to the programme are particularly needy at a particular point, and the sponsor needs to be clear about what they can really provide; over-reaching can lead to co dependent feelings of victimhood, martyrdom or resentment which will not ultimately benefit the sponsee. Setting boundaries avoids any ‘rescuing’ behaviour and protects the sponsor. Negotiation and dialogue between the two people is absolutely crucial.

And, as with any other relationship, it takes TIME for the sponsor/sponsee relationship to develop and deepen.

Harking back to the issue of keeping the sponsor’s ego out of the equation, she stated how rewarding it can be to see sponsees flourish, but to remember always that it is their Higher Power that does this, not the sponsor! There is a risk that the initial impetus to become a sponsor may be driven out of a codependent need to fix. If a sponsee is continually raising the same question without taking on board the answer, for example, this may raise issues for the sponsor about not being heard – but they then need to let go the outcome. If a sponsee is not working the programme and stays stuck, it may be appropriate for the sponsor to let them go rather than staying with them in their problems.

The whole relationship can be a real gift to the sponsor, serving as a constant reminder of the steps and seeing issues from the sponsee’s perspective. The sponsor needs also to be aware that the sponsee may just need to be listened to, without any feedback. Issues may also arise for the sponsor, around boundaries, dependency, fear of conflict, the need to control and the need to ‘fix’. These, too, can be a gift – ideally the sponsor needs to be willing to receive these messages. It may nevertheless be appropriate to terminate a relationship which really is not working – in CoDA as anywhere else.

The speaker then went on to describe sponsorship as a tool, one of many available tools on the road to recovery. It is important to refrain from advice-giving, to share experience, strength and hope – and let God. However, all relationships are valuable in that much insight can be gained – whether the relationship is ultimately successful or not.

The sponsor really needs to understand their own relationship with God before embarking on a relationship with the other person; an understanding which will minimise the risk of them standing in the way of the sponsee’s Higher Power.

The speaker then stated the need for courage to confront difficult situations. There are many potential lessons here about intimacy, healthy communication and only giving what you have available to give.

There is also an issue of manageability without being controlling. Being available every day can be a challenge, for example, though this may sometimes be appropriate. If a sponsee leaves a message, it is fine to leave a reply, but not then to ‘chase’ the other person. It is a matter of trust to let the other person manage their own life and to let go of the outcome.

In conclusion, she stated that though it is challenging to work as a trusted tool, it is also an opportunity and a gift to work through one’s own painful, codependent side. Sometimes being forced out of self-centredness and self-pity to focus on another person can be a gift, too. The sponsee will also receive the benefit of wisdom. At the end of the day, though, the sponsor is a guide only, not a fixer, therapist or coach.

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Share Sponsorship shares

Group Sponsorship

Sharing the Experience, Strength and Hope I’ve Found in a CoDA Step Work Group

My name is Kay and I’m a recovering co-dependent. I have been in the fellowship for just under three years.

I joined the fellowship following a bad break-up which left me broken spiritually, untrusting of my own judgement and merits and without hope for the future. Just a few weeks in CoDA saw a marked improvement in the way I felt about myself and my situation, but there was still something missing.

I didn’t see how I could work the programme properly without a sponsor and sponsors were very thin on the ground. I’d tried working with a remote sponsor in America but I found that was expensive and impractical. So, gathering my courage, I decided to end that sponsor relationship. But I still knew I needed support if I was going to take the 12 steps on board properly and make a real change in my life.

I decided to hand it over and see what would happen. Then the London region ran a sponsorship workshop. Here, a group of us decided to put together a Step Work Group to keep us moving forward through the 12 steps.

We meet once a month. At the first meeting, we set out ground rules and decided to use the 12 traditions as the blueprint for our meetings. We start each meeting with the serenity prayer to give it structure and end in the same way. We check in briefly then go on to share our work for that month.

Together, we’ve worked right up to step 9. We use the questions from the CoDA work book, work the questions and share our responses. For me, this has really helped. Not only do I have the support of four fantastic women who support me through my highs and lows and offer me their experience to help me see how I can manage my dis-ease, I also have the experience of their perspective on the programme.

I am a practicing Christian, but watching my fellows work through steps 1, 2 and 3 made me appreciate these steps more deeply, challenging my faith and increasing my understanding. Steps 1-3 have been a real foundation which I’ve turned to whenever I’m in a stick.

Step 4 came after we’d been working together for three months. In that time, we’d started to build a real trust and the safety produced by using the 12 traditions made me feel safe enough to trust that the confidentiality needed for step 4 could be maintained by the Step Work Group. I shared my fear at this step and drew on the knowledge that we were all heading into these waters together as I took bigger and bigger Step 4s.

Each month, we set ourselves a subject – an area to explore, using the questions from the CoDA book and another book which we decided to use by Group Conscience. We’d share our step 4 and then, if we wanted to, we asked for feedback from the group. This helped to give me perspective and clarity over my responsibilities and my part in events. When asked for feedback, we carefully shared similar experiences, giving examples which paralleled situations rather than dictating how people should feel.

We tackled many difficult subjects including family, physical relationships, colleagues, friends. We started with less emotive subjects before tackling the big family members category.

The step 4 work was painful and detailed. We worked steadily, supporting one another between our Step Work Group evenings with phone calls and also ran into each other at various CoDA meetings in the area. Because this remarkable group of women was pushing on with the work, it kept me going too. Their company on my journey helped me to take many difficult steps, knowing that I had their support and, of course, the unfailing support of a loving Higher Power who would restore me to sanity.

Steps five to nine followed on over the next four months. We used the same model as we had for steps one to three, working from CoDA literature and using our other literature to build our understanding of the step. However, when we got to step 9, we found it became difficult to work together at the same pace. Step 9 is for me a very personal step. I make direct amends as and when I am ready to and when the right opportunities arise. So we weren’t all able to work at the same pace.

We’ve decided to keep working together but are currently working through the 12 traditions with the CoDA work book. As and when I approach a step 9, members of the group are there to support, before and after the amend is made. We share our feelings about the amend we’re working through, and our concerns about the future. Voicing these has helped me to move forwards in my relationships and where I have made amends, those relationships have invariably improved.

It’s not all been easy. We’ve had fallings out. But we’ve used “I” statements and CoDA principles to keep us on track. Suspending judgement has helped and we’ve successfully kept out of each others lives enough to maintain some level of anonymity which means that when asked to give feedback, that feedback isn’t clouded by knowing the other person in the situation, only the patterns of our fellows and how we’ve reacted ourselves in similar situations. Using the 12 traditions has helped us to reflect – our individual progress depends upon CoDA unity.

People within our group have sponsees. Again, this has been a positive thing. We’ve been able to share our experiences of how difficult it is to sponsor without controlling! Because the Step Work Group is run using CoDA principles, it’s made these principles more familiar to me and I’ve found it easier to use them when sponsoring.

I find one of the things which makes the group safe for me is that it’s an all women group. This helped me when it came to the more personal elements of Step 4 and I believe that my disclosure in Step 4 would not have been as complete with men present.

When we started the group, we decided that we would work together and see how it goes. We haven’t had anyone leave throughout the process and we also haven’t had anyone join. For me, I feel it would be difficult for anyone to join us now. But, we’ve decided that should anyone ask to join us, we would put it to group conscience and let our Higher Power steer the group where we need to go.

And, so far, so good. Every day of my recovery has its challenges, but I know that I can draw on the support, the experience, strength and hope of some incredible women. I don’t limit my support group to the Ladies Step Work Group. I still go to regular CoDA meetings and I am happy. Just for today.  

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Co-Sponsorship

Sponsorship in CoDA – Workshop held in Birmingham 21/4/07

The speaker described how she had been in CoDA for around 3-4 years, following sponsoring in another 12 step fellowship. There was a lack of available sponsors, and the co-sponsoring relationship was set up in the light of this.

She described the ‘mechanics’ of the relationship, which has been helpful in various ways. A regular weekly slot is allocated, and each takes it in turns, both to make the telephone call and to share. The length of the call is also decided on the basis of need. Because of the regular routine, it is very clear whose role is which at any time. She described the benefits of knowing the other person over a long period of time, and the experience of really being known. A great sense of security is also created between contacts, knowing that there will be time available at some point in the future to home in on and clarify issues.

She described the various options available, which include email, phone – where it is not always necessary to receive a reply – and working the steps when this is appropriate. There are different strategies to avoid a sense of victimhood and to maintain detachment, involving both contact with another person and prayer.

She also mentioned the benefits of the ability to be there for another person, to develop listening skills and not to get deeply embroiled in someone else’s life events. As in individual sponsorship, the boundaries are being maintained, but because both parties are establishing them at the same time it may flow more smoothly. Strength and focus are still needed, nevertheless, to deal with the discomfort of raising controversial issues and to maintain boundaries as necessary.

The speaker also felt that there were issues which could still be addressed by her; these included working the steps in depth. Because of the time slot, these could sometimes be skipped over. She also reiterated her own need to stay focused – the co-sponsoring relationship did not negate the need to do other work, too.