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Am I Co-Dependent?

You may be wondering: ‘Am I Co-Dependent?’ ‘What is Co-Dependence?’ Many of us want precise definitions and diagnostic criteria before we will decide. At CoDA, we respectfully allow psychiatric and psychological professionals to provide these, but what we do offer from our own experience are characteristic attitudes and behaviour patterns that describe what our co-dependent histories have been like.

We believe that recovery begins with an honest self-diagnosis. We came to accept our inability to maintain healthy and nurturing relationships with ourselves and others. We began to recognise that the cause lay in long-standing destructive patterns of living. We have found these patterns to fall into four major categories: denial, low self-esteem, compliance and control. The checklist of patterns and characteristics is offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation. It may be particularly helpful to newcomers as they begin to understand co-dependence. It may also aid those who have been in recovery for a while to determine what traits still need attention and transformation.

After completing this checklist we suggest that you continue attending CoDA meetings for several weeks. Listen to the similarities and not the differences. Search out members of the fellowship you believe you can trust and discuss your checklist answers with them. If you come to accept that you are, indeed, co-dependent, then you will be ready to begin the Twelve Steps of recovery, and to seek a sponsor to guide you through the process.

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New to CoDA 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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What is codependence video

CoDA world service has produced a video to educate the public on ‘What codependency is’ and to be of service to the codependent who still suffers.

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New to CoDA

CoDA International

The first CoDA meeting attended by 30 people was held on 22 October 1986 in Phoenix, Arizona. Within four weeks there were 100 people and before the year was up there were 120 groups. CoDA held its first National Service Conference the next year with 29 representatives from seven states. CoDA has now has meetings active in 60 other countries and online.

CoDA has been a presence in the UK since the beginning of the 1990’s – when two original CoDA members – took their strong Fellowship beliefs (and their Higher Power) to a CoDA Retreat in Holland and returned with their inspired Experience, Strength and Hope and determination to Carry the Message of CoDA Recovery back to the UK.

CoDA.org International meetings list

International sites

Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc
CoDA Australasia
CoDA Brazil
CoDA Canada
CoDA Denmark
CoDA Farsi
CoDA France
CoDA Germany
CoDA Hebrew
CoDA Iceland
CoDA Ireland
CoDA Israel
CoDA Italy
CoDA Mexico
CoDA Netherlands
CoDA Russia CoDA Russia
CoDA South Africa
CoDA Spain
CoDA Sweden

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New to CoDA

Patterns and Characteristics of Co-Dependency

These patterns and characteristics are offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation.
They may be particularly helpful to newcomers.

Denial Patterns:

I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
I minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel.
I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well-being of others.
I lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
I label others with my negative traits.
I can take care of myself without any help from others.
I mask my pain in various ways such as anger, humor, or isolation.
I express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
I do not recognize the unavailability of those people to whom I am attracted.

Low Self Esteem Patterns:

I have difficulty making decisions.
I judge what I think, say, or do harshly, as never good enough.
I am embarrassed to receive recognition, praise, or gifts.
I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings, and behavior over my own.
I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
I constantly seek recognition that I think I deserve.
I have difficulty admitting that I made a mistake.
I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others and will even lie to look good.
I am unable to ask others to meet my needs or desires.
I perceive myself as superior to others.
I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
I have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
I have trouble setting healthy priorities.

Compliance Patterns:

I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger.
I put aside my own interests in order to do what others want.
I am hypervigilant regarding the feelings of others and take on those feelings.
I am afraid to express my beliefs, opinions, and feelings when they differ from those of others.
I accept sexual attention when I want love.
I make decisions without regard to the consequences.
I give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change.

Control Patterns:

I believe most people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
I attempt to convince others what to think, do, or feel.
I freely offer advice and direction to others without being asked.
I become resentful when others decline my help or reject my advice.
I lavish gifts and favors on those I want to influence.
I use sexual attention to gain approval and acceptance.
I have to be needed in order to have a relationship with others.
I demand that my needs be met by others.
I use charm and charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and compassionate.
I use blame and shame to emotionally exploit others.
I refuse to cooperate, compromise, or negotiate.
I adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, authority, or rage to manipulate outcomes.
I use terms of recovery in an attempt to control the behavior of others.
I pretend to agree with others to get what I want.

Avoidance Patterns:

I act in ways that invite others to reject, shame, or express anger toward me.
I judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
I avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a means of maintaining distance.
I allow my addictions to people, places, and things to distract me from achieving intimacy in relationships.
I use indirect and evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
I diminish my capacity to have healthy relationships by declining to use all the tools of recovery.
I suppress my feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
I pull people toward me, but when they get close, I push them away.
I refuse to give up my self-will to avoid surrendering to a power that is greater than myself.
I believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.
I withhold expressions of appreciation.

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

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The Preamble of Co-Dependents Anonymous

Co-Dependents Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women 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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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, and films.
  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 men and women 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, sponsorshop and beyond. Download below:

Am I Codependent?
Attending Meetings
CoDA Canada – Words of Recovery
Codependency & Recovery – The Differences
Communication and Recovery
Establishing Boundaries in Recovery
Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence
Sponsorship in CoDA
CoDA Canada – Tools of Recovery
Recovery from Codependence – An Introduction
Using the Twelve Traditions
What is CoDA?
Welcome to Co-Dependents Anonymous
Your First Meeting
CoDA Australia – First 14 Days
CoDA Canada – Newcomers Package
CoDA Step prayers

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

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

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