Healthy Communication Guidelines

Lack of communication among our members can cause unnecessary conflict... The principles of effective communication [below] may be applied to all forms of communication among members, committees, and service boards of CoDA.

This info is from the Fellowship Service Manual Section 9 PDF


[ anonymity ]

• I respect the anonymity of others by not using a member's last name in the text of a message.

• When sending an email to a list of addresses, I send the message to myself and BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) the list of intended recipients in order to protect their anonymity.

• If a member's last name appears in an e-mail address, or if the member is identifiable in any way, I remove that address in any carbon copies unless I have the member's permission to send it as is.

• I respect the personal integrity, anonymity, and privacy of each member, and I expect and deserve the same.

[ honesty ]

• The text of any forwarded message is transmitted verbatim. I do not edit it. (For the purposes of committee work where editing work is in process, I clearly mark a previous, unedited version and include it with my suggested revisions.) Generally, emails are not forwarded to people not addressed by the original sender.

[ clarity ]

• When in doubt about the content or intent of a letter, phone call, e-mail, or other communication, I first request clarification from the author before discussing its content.

• I encourage others in their recovery, and do not "flame" them. Flaming is a written attack on a person, a person's opinions, or a person's point of view, distributed to multiple addresses, usually via e-mail. When my opinions differ from another, I share my experiences with that person, explaining how they are different or similar.

[ primary purpose ]

• When I participate in a group discussion (in person or by any form of communication), I maintain focus on the subject at hand. My attention and focus is a gift I offer other members.

• I maintain civility and decorum in my communications to members of CoDA, as I practice developing and maintaining healthy relationships. I continue to practice healthy interpersonal behavior in communications via phone, text, e-mail, and the Internet.

• Recovery is a process; I respect each member for where that member is in recovery. I practice my program by sharing my experience, strength, and hope with others, not by pointing out faults and flaws in others.

These guidelines were developed with insight gained from the following Steps and Traditions:


Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

If I fail to follow our guidelines, I admit my shortcomings and make amends wherever and as soon as possible. If I wronged a person in private, I make amends in private; if I wronged a person in front of others, I make amends in front of others.


Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon CoDA unity.

I ask myself, "Does this message promote CoDA unity, foster fellowship or promote recovery? Could it be interpreted as disruptive or divisive?" If I receive a message that I consider disruptive or divisive, I share that feeling with the author before seeking other remedies. I ask permission before copying an e-mail message or other communication to others. I review my responses for adherence to our Steps, Traditions, and principles.


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.

CoDA has procedures in place to determine the group conscience of a meeting, Intergroup, Voting Entity and even our CoDA structure. We determine our collective group conscience by selecting/electing representatives to serve the Fellowship. Our Higher Power gives us guidance in this way.

Sometimes people may circumvent our process by claiming to be interpreters of our group conscience. To avoid future confusion, when I participate in a group conscience decision, I make written notes of the people who were notified and/or participated, identify the subject we discussed, and include the results of the decision.


The only requirement for membership in CoDA is a desire for healthy and loving relationships.

We need to be aware that not everyone in CoDA has access to telephones, computers, e-mail, or the Internet. CoDA is based on inclusion, not exclusion. Access to technology of any kind is not a requirement for participation in our program, so we rely on the Postal Service as our primary method of distribution of information to the Fellowship. I make a sincere attempt to include all interested members in our discussions, whether by telephone, fax, e-mail, the Internet, Postal Service, or other means.


CoDA, as such, ought never to be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

As a member of CoDA, and when working as a trusted servant in any way, I am respectful to the members I serve and the members I associate with during my service. I communicate with others on matters that affect other groups or CoDA as a whole. I communicate with my Voting Entity Delegates when seeking information.


CoDA has no opinion on outside issues; hence, the CoDA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

As a member of CoDA and when working as a trusted servant, I respect the careful use of Postal Service, telephone, fax, and e-mail. I do not use personal correspondence of any kind to draw Co-Dependents Anonymous, any of its service boards, or any CoDA member into public controversy on any matter.


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.

The Internet is not a private form of communication. It is a public medium. Publishing items to news groups is comparable to publishing in a newspaper. For this reason, we encourage members to seek anonymity in screen names, e-mail addresses, and postal mail addresses.


Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

I respect the anonymity of others and myself. I consider the point of view of any writer or speaker. Is anyone cloaking personal opinions or concerns in our Steps and Traditions? Are we all respecting group conscience procedures? Is there a possibility of miscommunication? Could I be making erroneous assumptions? Does it feel right? If not, it probably isn't. When in doubt, check it out.

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