Co-Dependents Anonymous Meeting Experience

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I attended a meeting of Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA). CoDA is an open group aimed to help those who self-identify as co-dependent. Similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), CoDA is a self-help group founded upon the twelve steps. This group is run by its members, not by a professional, and it focuses on individual rather than societal concerns (Doel and Kelly, 2014). The meeting was easy to find through their website,, though it did require some travel to get to a meeting as they are not as common as AA or NA. The meeting I attended was a “Newcomers Meeting”, meaning it was specially designed to welcome new members and help get their needs met and questions answered by members who had been around for a while.…show more content…
I found the two co-leaders of the group and introduced myself as a Social Work student with Simmons College. They welcomed me to the group and said they were glad to have me. The group began a little later than the time designated for it to start. The beginning of the meeting was structured very clearly. The leaders began the group by introducing themselves and explaining a little bit about what brought them to CoDA. This self-disclosure provided an opportunity for group members to feel less alone and find something to relate to. The group then went around in a circle and introduced themselves one-by-one. Along with their introduction, members were asked to include one word about their current emotional state. This served as a check-in for the members and offered the leaders a platform from which to base their facilitation of the group. After introductions, the group leaders asked for volunteers to read the preamble, twelve steps, twelve traditions, and the welcome message. These pieces of literature provided a much-needed sense of purpose for the group. I was able to clearly see the principles of purpose laid out by Doel and Kelly (2014): “No jargon… No hidden agendas… Outcomes are related to wants and needs… Specific enough to be…show more content…
This member told the group about how they were caught in a relationship for years without hope of a way out because of how much they depended on their long-term partner for financial and emotional support, affirmation, and validation, even though the relationship was also abusive. Several other members nodded along with the story, the latent content here being that they could relate or empathize with the situation presented. After the member finished telling their story, a previously silent member spoke up and said that they could relate, that they had been in a similar situation. This new member thanked the other member for sharing their story, saying that it had made them feel less alone and less “crazy”. This example of mutual aid exemplifies Group Building and Purposeful Use of Self as examined by Steinberg (2014). It allowed for a chance to find “commonalities that exist among members” as well as the use of self-reference (Steinberg,

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