New to CoDA— Before deciding if CoDA is the right fit, it is suggested that newcomers attend 6 different meetings, as they vary in format and focus.
What to expect—While every meeting is different, all are confidential and free (although donations are welcome). Some meetings have an introduction section and/or an open sharing section, but in either case, participation is always optional. Your First Meeting
Fellowship—Fellowship is when members spend time together either in the meeting space or at a coffee shop or restaurant. 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.
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. More info here.
Literature — Many meetings have CoDA literature for sale. Most only accept cash. Some pamphlets are as low as 45 cents, books can range from $3 to around $15-20.
No-Crosstalk— In our meetings, we speak about our own experience, and we listen without comment to what others share. “No-Crosstalk” rules keep meetings safe for all as we recover from dependency upon what others think, as well as compulsive advice-giving. Examples of crosstalk may include, but are not limited to:
- Referring to someone present by name
- Making "you" and "we" statements
- Giving unsolicited feedback
- Physical contact / touch
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.
7th Tradition Donation — Meetings ask for optional donations. Newcomers need not donate. No matter how long you've been in program, your recovery is more important than your donations. 7th Tradition funds are used to pay for room rentals, literature purchases, printing and other expenses.
Beyond Meetings — CoDA suggests a program of recovery which includes meetings, fellowship, sponsorship, literature, conferences, conventions, service work, and working the CoDA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions.
Types of Meetings
Speaker Meeting: This type of meeting features a personal story of recovery shared by one individual. Speakers share their personal experience, strength, and hope in the program. The meeting may or may not include open sharing after the speaker, depending on the length of story shared.
Open Share Meeting: This type of meeting often has no topic or individual speaker, giving members an opportunity to share their experience, strength, and hope on their recovery as they wish.
Topic Share Meeting: This type of meeting opens with a member of the group suggesting a specific topic, i.e., the Steps, setting boundaries, sponsorship, etc. That member will usually begin the sharing.
Step or Tradition Study Meeting: In this style of meeting, the group uses our Conference Endorsed CoDA literature and/or the CoDA Book as a foundation for study, discussion, or sharing related to CoDA's Steps and /or Traditions. For example: the group may elect to read a portion of this material out loud and then have an open sharing session.
Literature Meeting: In this style of meeting, the group decides on a piece of CoDA literature to read each week and then shares based on the reading or whatever they feel like sharing.
Meditation Meeting: In the time that other meetings allot for a lead speaker or literature reading, this type of meeting has a meditation. CoDA does not endorse a specific meditation, but encourages members to find what works for them. Afterwards, there is often open sharing time.
"A CoDA meeting is much more than a place to sit and tell your troubles, it is a place to meet people like yourself and to learn from those who are different from you; a place to interact with people focused on learning to have healthy and loving relationships...
It is a place to find sponsorship and fellowship as well as the sharing of experience, strength and hope...
A strong sense of acceptance and community makes a meeting attractive both to the new comer and old timer."
~CoDA Fellowship Service Manual Meeting Handbook, page 9