New to CoDA—Chapter 3 of Co-Dependents Anonymous outlines a suggested program of recovery which includes attending meetings in addition to fellowship, sponsorship, literature, conferences, conventions, service work, the CoDA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions (pg 25, 3rd edition). It is suggested that newcomers attend 6 different meetings, as they vary in format and focus. Although each meeting is autonomous, the principles of our program, as outlined in the 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, Preamble, and Welcome, are consistent.
What to expect—While every meeting is unique, all are free and confidential. Some meetings have an introduction section and/or an open sharing section, but in either case, participation is always optional.
No-Crosstalk—“No-Crosstalk” rules can be jarring at first, but keep meetings safe for all as we recover from dependency upon what others think, as well as compulsive advice-giving. We find our recovery grows when we keep the focus of our shares on our own experiences are refrain from commenting on the experiences of others.
13th Stepping—It is highly inappropriate for anyone to exploit you romantically, sexually or financially. This is commonly known as “13th Stepping,” and is sometimes used in the guise of teaching the program. No one has the right to tell you how to work your program. As CoDA’s Promises offer, in time you will come to believe in your own capabilities with the guidance of your Higher Power and allow the Steps and Traditions to work for you.
Sponsorship—Meetings are a good place to find a sponsor. Many meetings have a section that asks people willing to sponsor to identify themselves. If you hear a share you identify with from a person who has what you want in terms of recovery, it is okay to ask that person for their phone number or to sponsor you after the meeting.
Fellowship—Usually, fellowship occurs after the meeting, but some meetings have fellowship before the meeting, or only on certain weeks of the month. This information can be heard in the fellowship section of the format or a trusted servant’s report. All are invited.