About the Codependents Anonymous 12-Step Recovery Program

All 12-step programs are nonjudgmental in nature. Codependents Anonymous (CoDA) is a program designed to help people who feel they are codependent or in an unhealthy relationship understand their addiction and learn ways to either get out of the situation or turn it into something healthy.

Patterns of a Codependent

Instead of telling you that you are a codependent, CoDA has a list of personality patterns found in people who have the addiction. There are different patterns of the various ways codependency can affect you. These include:

  • Denial patterns
  • Low self-esteem patterns
  • Compliance patterns
  • Control patterns
  • Avoidance patterns

It is up to you to read through the different patterns and determine whether or not you have a codependency issue. The hardest part is being completely honest with yourself when going through the list.

The Codependent’s Recovery Program

“The idea is that you should accept you have a problem, face it and find a way to rectify it.”
The Anonymous recovery programs are a form of rehabilitation in which you work through the steps on your own and at your own pace. There is no right or wrong way concerning how you work through your recovery as long as you follow the steps religiously. A 12-step program is more of a support system than anything else. The idea is that you should accept you have a problem, face it and find a way to rectify it. You need to accept that there is a higher power you can turn to for help in finding a solution and in the healing process. The program involves meetings which you attend when you feel the need to share what you are going through or listen to others who are experiencing the same things.

What to Expect at Meetings

There are four different types of CoDA meetings. Each one serves a specific purpose; you will know what type of meeting is coming up and can choose to attend or not, based on your preferences. These types include:

  • Speaker meetings take place with one person sharing experiences regarding the dependency. This person may or may not have completed the program and have recovered to the point of going to meetings only to help others. It is similar to sitting in a lecture as in you sit and listen to their story.
  • Open share meetings are the most common. During these meetings, everyone has a chance to talk and share what they have done to overcome the addiction or how they have not been able to handle things well. When you are not talking, it is important to do nothing more than listen. Do not give opinions on what the speaker is saying or interject in any way.
  • Topic share meetings are intended to go over different aspects of the addiction recovery program. The group leader may decide it is time to discuss the 12 steps or explain how sponsorship works.
  • Tradition study meetings focus on the way the program is designed to assist you in helping yourself.

codependencyIt is quite common for all meetings to end with at least one group member sharing. Usually, this will be someone who has made great strides towards the next step or has had serious problems since the last meeting.

Participating in a 12-step support program may be part of a court order. If you need to find a CoDA group or are looking for something different to help you, call 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? to find out what is available near you. If you know someone who is in a relationship that is not healthy, getting the person to understand that things can be better is something you can do to help them seek much-needed help.

People with a codependent addiction do not realize how they are harming themselves and quite possibly the person they are dependent upon. They may view your attempt to help as jealousy of what they have and turn away from you entirely. It will be up to you to keep trying to help without pushing them away. Do not be afraid to reach out for professional assistance to help your friend or loved one. Call us today for more information.


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