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The Preamble of Co-Dependents Anonymous

Co-Dependents Anonymous is a fellowship of people whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships. The only requirement for membership is a desire for healthy and loving relationships. We gather together to support and share with each other in a journey of self-discovery – learning to love the self. Living the programme allows each of us to become increasingly honest with ourselves about our personal histories and our own co-dependent behaviours.

We rely upon the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions for knowledge and wisdom. These are the principles of our programme and guides to developing honest and fulfilling relationships with ourselves and others. In CoDA, we each learn to build a bridge to a Higher Power of our own understanding, and we allow others the same privilege.

This renewal process is a gift of healing for us. By actively working the programme of Co-Dependents Anonymous, we can each realise a new joy, acceptance and serenity in our lives.

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CoDA Welcome


We welcome you to Co-Dependents Anonymous, a program of recovery from codependence, where each of us may share our experience, strength, and hope in our efforts to find freedom where there has been bondage and peace where there has been turmoil in our relationships with others and ourselves.

Most of us have been searching for ways to overcome the dilemmas of the conflicts in our relationships and our childhoods. Many of us were raised in families where addictions existed – some of us were not. In either case, we have found in each of our lives that codependence is a most deeply rooted compulsive behavior and that it is born out of our sometimes moderately, sometimes extremely dysfunctional families and other systems. We have each experienced in our own ways the painful trauma of the emptiness of our childhood and relationships throughout our lives.

We attempted to use others – our mates, friends, and even our children, as our sole source of identity, value and well being, and as a way of trying to restore within us the emotional losses from our childhoods. Our histories may include other powerful addictions which at times we have used to cope with our codependence.

We have all learned to survive life, but in CoDA we are learning to live life. Through applying the Twelve Steps and principles found in CoDA to our daily life and relationships ­ both present and past – we can experience a new freedom from our self defeating lifestyles. It is an individual growth process. Each of us is growing at our own pace and will continue to do so as we remain open to God’s will for us on a daily basis. 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.

No matter how traumatic your past or despairing your present may seem, there is hope for a new day in the program of Co-Dependents Anonymous. No longer do you need to rely on others as a power greater than yourself. May you instead find here a new strength within to be that which God intended – Precious and Free.

The Welcome may not be reprinted or republished without the express written consent of Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. This document may be reprinted from the website http://www.coda.org (CoDA)
for use by members of the CoDA Fellowship.

Copyright © 2018 Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. and its licensors -All Rights Reserved.

CoDA – Welcome (PDF)

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Sharing

Covers:
Feedback | Crosstalk | Suggestions / Support | General Recommendations


Bearing in mind the spiritual aspect of our admission in the First Step of our powerlessness over others, the CoDA Fellowship Service Manual (FSM) offers guidelines for personal, written, and electronic communications for individual members and groups, including those engaging in outreach and fellowship service work.

Guidelines for sharing – Approved 2010

The following statement is to be read before the meeting opens for general 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. 

To be read – during meeting – AFTER a specific share

If FEEDBACK occurs…

We would like to gently remind the group that all feedback, including positive comment, is discouraged, since as co-dependents we are working to establish our own realities and opinions free from the judgement, advice and opinions of other people, even those we love and respect.  This is not a criticism but only a reminder and a useful tool to preserve the safety of the room and further our recovery from co-dependency.

If CROSSTALK occurs…

We would like to gently remind the group that crosstalk or mentioning people by name is discouraged in CoDA, as we all have a right to share without fear of being misinterpreted or having our boundaries violated.

‘YOU’/’WE’/’ONE’ statements…

We would like to gently remind the group that we are encouraged to further our personal recovery from co-dependency by refraining from using the word ‘you’, ‘we’ or ‘one’ in our sharing and instead, keep the focus on our own recovery by using ‘I’ statements.  Changing the language we use in meetings and working to keep the focus on ourselves is a valuable tool in recognising and nurturing our own reality and identity. 

Suggestions to follow should certain events occur

All meeting secretaries need to be aware of possible procedures they may need to action should the following ensue. Some or all suggestions could either be included in the preamble or be available for reference as a separate document. 

Event: If someone insists on attending a meeting from which they have been excluded
e.g. a man at a women’s meeting

It is suggested that Tradition Four should be reiterated. Each group is supported in its right to be autonomous. If ineligible persons insist on attending, an immediate group conscience may be called to agree on possible actions e.g. including the person in the meeting, opening the membership to all people in the future, asking that person to leave, adjourning or relocating the meeting on that day or calling on an outside agency (police or venue manager) for support as required. 

Event: If a member behaves aggressively or abusively during the meeting

It is suggested that this particular member should be advised that they may be asked to leave by immediate group conscience which may be called by any member. This supports tradition one where our common welfare comes first. Some venues may have policies on tolerating abusive/aggressive behaviour and these policies could be read out if necessary. They should be printed out and located somewhere accessible to the secretary (e.g. in the folder). 

Event: If a member shares in a way which another member finds offensive

It is important to consider Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends upon CoDA unity. Members should take their own inventory and balance the possible harm to them in continuing to listen to the speaker or possible harm to the speaker by interrupting his/her share. Any member may call an immediate group conscience. In a group conscience, principles are placed before personalities, issues are discussed and any actions agreed and acted upon. Alternatively, members may choose to leave the meeting on the day temporarily or permanently. Similarly, members may ask the secretary to re-read the guidelines at the end of that person’s share, rather than interrupting.  

Event: If a member finds it hard to access suitable meetings or share and behave appropriately at meetings

It is suggested that the member should be informed that all members have access to online meetings (website addresses), CoDA literature, and arrangement of sponsoring relationships when attending meetings is difficult or inadvisable.

General Recommendations – for meeting secretaries

It is proposed that all meetings should review their guidelines to sharing to ensure that they have the following incorporated:

  • A description of cross talk and feedback and WHY they are discouraged. 
  • Using ‘I’ statements, avoid using the word ‘you’ or addressing someone by name.  
  • If a member wants to talk about what someone has said, he/she should approach the person after the meeting asking their consent/agreement first.
  • Members have the procedure to ask the secretary to re-read the guidelines again if they feel that the guidelines have not been observed, but only after a person has shared. 
  • A statement about how the group will deal with seriously offensive shares, secretary to re-read the guidelines at the end of that person’s share, rather than interrupting.  

See also

Healthy Meetings – handbook
For Safety’s Sake – guidelines
Communication & Recovery
CoDA.org – Online communications guidelines

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The Twelve Steps of Co-Dependents Anonymous

  1. We admitted we were powerless over others – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other co-dependents, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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The Twelve Traditions of Co-Dependents Anonymous

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon CoDA unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving higher power as expressed to our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for membership in CoDA is a desire for healthy and loving relationships.
  4. Each group should remain autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or CoDA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to other Co-Dependents who still suffer.
  6. A CoDA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the CoDA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim.
  7. Every CoDA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Co-Dependents Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centres may employ special workers.
  9. CoDA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. CoDA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the CoDA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television and all other forms of public communication.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions; ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
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The Twelve Promises of Co-Dependents Anonymous

I can expect a miraculous change in my life by working the programme of Co-Dependents Anonymous. As I make an honest effort to work the Twelve Steps and follow the Twelve Traditions:

  1. I know a new sense of belonging. The feelings of emptiness and loneliness will disappear.
  2. I am no longer controlled by my fears. I overcome my fears and act with courage, integrity and dignity.
  3. I know a new freedom.
  4. I release myself from worry, guilt, and regret about my past and present. I am aware enough not to repeat it.
  5. I know a new love and acceptance of myself and others. I feel genuinely lovable, loving and loved.
  6. I learn to see myself as equal to others. My new and renewed relationships are all with equal partners.
  7. I am capable of developing and maintaining healthy and loving relationships. The need to control and manipulate others will disappear as I learn to trust those who are trustworthy.
  8. I learn that it is possible for me to mend – to become more loving, intimate and supportive. I have the choice of communicating with my family in a way which is safe for me and respectful of them.
  9. I acknowledge that I am a unique and precious creation.
  10. I no longer need to rely solely on others to provide my sense of worth.
  11. I trust the guidance I receive from my higher power and come to believe in my own capabilities.
  12. I gradually experience serenity, strength, and spiritual growth in my daily life.
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The Serenity Prayer


God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
Grant me patience with the changes that take time
Appreciation of all that I have
Tolerance of those with different struggles
And the strength to get up and try again
One day at a time

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Free CoDAUK Posters

Tradition Five : “Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to other co-dependents who still suffer”

This can be done by:

Placing CoDA posters on public noticeboards in our local area
Possible location include: libraries, community centres, churches, community boards (in commercial spaces e.g. supermarket)

Draft CoDAUK Posters

Leave copies of the free CoDA leaflets – signed off internationally – with your local surgery (downloadable below)
Am I Codependent?
CoDA Canada – Tools of Recovery
Recovery from Codependence – An Introduction
What is CoDA?
Welcome to Co-Dependents Anonymous
Your First Meeting

Tradition Eleven: “Out public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion”
We do not advertise our meetings in the usual sense – we simply circulate basic information with a call to action to visit the CoDAUK website. We let people know we are here and then we respect each person’s right to decide for themselve if CoDA is right for them.

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Free CoDA Leaflets & Samples

Co-Dependents Anonymous is a fellowship of people whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships. The only requirement for member is a desire for healthy and loving relationships

CoDA Preamble


CoDA offers a set of free leaflets covering newcomers, those working the steps, sponsorship and beyond, which you can download below.

NB: Certain conditions on your computer, such as security settings or browser cookies, can prevent you from viewing a PDF. Find out more.

Am I Codependent?
Your First Meeting
Attending Meetings
What is CoDA?
Welcome to Co-Dependents Anonymous
Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence

CoDA Canada – Words of Recovery
Codependency & Recovery – The Differences
CoDA Canada – Tools of Recovery
Recovery from Codependence – An Introduction
Communication and Recovery
Establishing Boundaries in Recovery
CoDA Canada – Starting a New Meeting
Twelve Service Concepts
Using the Twelve Traditions


Sponsorship in CoDA
CoDA Australia – First 14 Days
CoDA Canada Newcomers Package
CoDA Step prayers

Awaiting ratification
2020 – Forty Questions – for CoDA steps 4 and 5


See also
CoDA – Big Book – Free Sample
CoDA – In this Moment – Daily Meditation Book – Free Sample
CoDA – Big Book – Pocket Edition – Audio – Free Sample

CoDA UK Free Posters
Prepare your own CoDA UK Poster – (opens in free package called Figma) – instructions in page
Email codauk-pi@outlook.com if you’d like assistance

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About CoDA Uncategorized

Welcome to Co-Dependents Anonymous

Co-Dependents Anonymous is a fellowship of people whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships. The only requirement for membership is a desire for healthy and loving relationships. We gather together to support and share with each other in a journey of self-discovery — learning to love the self. Living the program allows each of us to become increasingly honest with ourselves about our personal histories and our own codependent behaviors.

We rely upon the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions for knowledge and wisdom. These are the principles of our program and guides to developing honest and fulfilling relationships with ourselves and others. In CoDA, we each learn to build a bridge to a Higher Power of our own understanding, and we allow others the same privilege.

This renewal process is a gift of healing for us. By actively working the program of Co-Dependents Anonymous, we can each realize a new joy, acceptance and serenity in our lives.