The Twelve Steps of Co-Dependents Anonymous
1. We admitted we were powerless over others – that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other codependents and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The Twelve Steps may not be reprinted or republished without the express written consent of Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. This document may be reprinted from the website www.coda.org (CoDA) for use by members of the CoDA Fellowship.
Copyright © 2010 Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. and its licensors – All Rights Reserved.
The Twelve Steps reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
The Twelve Traditions of Co-Dependents Anonymous
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon CoDA unity.
2. 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.
3. The only requirement for membership in CoDA is a desire for healthy and loving relationships.
4. Each group should remain autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or CoDA as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to other codependents who still suffer.
6. A CoDA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the CoDA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim.
7. Every CoDA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Co-Dependents Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. CoDA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. CoDA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the CoDA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11. 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.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions; ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
The Twelve Traditions may not be reprinted or republished without the express written consent of CoDependents Anonymous, Inc. This document may be reprinted from the website www.coda.org (CoDA) for use by members of the CoDA Fellowship.
Copyright © 2010 Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. and its licensors -All Rights Reserved.
The Twelve Traditions reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
The Twelve Promises of Co-Dependents Anonymous
I can expect a miraculous change in my life by working the program of Co-Dependents Anonymous. As I make an honest effort to work the Twelve Steps and follow the Twelve Traditions…
1. I know a new sense of belonging. The feeling of emptiness and loneliness will disappear.
2. I am no longer controlled by my fears. I overcome my fears and act with courage, integrity and dignity.
3. I know a new freedom.
4. I release myself from worry, guilt, and regret about my past and present. I am aware enough not to repeat it.
5. I know a new love and acceptance of myself and others. I feel genuinely lovable, loving and loved.
6. I learn to see myself as equal to others. My new and renewed relationships are all with equal partners.
7. I am capable of developing and maintaining healthy and loving relationships. The need to control and manipulate others will disappear as I learn to trust those who are trustworthy.
8. I learn that it is possible to mend – to become more loving, intimate and supportive. I have the choice of communicating with my family in a way which is safe for me and respectful of them.
9. I acknowledge that I am a unique and precious creation.
10. I no longer need to rely solely on others to provide my sense of worth.
11. I trust the guidance I receive from my higher power and come to believe in my own capabilities.
12. I gradually experience serenity, strength, and spiritual growth in my daily life.
The Twelve Promises may not be reprinted or republished without the express written consent of Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. This document may be reprinted from the website www.coda.org (CoDA) for use by members of the CoDA Fellowship.
Copyright © 2010 Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. and its licensors -All Rights Reserved.
The Twelve Service Concepts of Co-Dependents Anonymous
1. The members of the Fellowship of Co-Dependents Anonymous, in carrying out the will of a loving Higher Power, advance their individual recoveries, work to ensure the continuance of their groups and their program, and carry the message to codependents who still suffer. They may also collectively authorize and establish service boards or committees and empower trusted servants to perform service work.
2. The Fellowship of CoDA has the responsibility of determining, through its group conscience, the service work to be performed, and the best manner to perform such work. This authority is expressed through our group conscience. Authority carries responsibility; thus, CoDA groups conscientiously provide adequate funding and support for the service work they authorize.
3. Decisions about service work in the Fellowship and all CoDA affairs are made through the group conscience decision making process. For this spiritual democratic process to work, every member of the group is encouraged to participate, consider all the facts and options concerning the issue, listen respectfully to all opinions expressed, then reflect and meditate to find a loving Higher Power’s will. Finally, we deliberate honestly and respectfully to determine the proper course of action. Unanimity in the group is the desired outcome; a majority vote is a group conscience.
4. All those who volunteer to do service work for CoDA by serving on committees, boards, or
corporations are trusted servants, not authority figures. Ideally, trusted servants volunteer out of a desire to follow their Higher Power’s will, out of gratitude for the gifts they have received from CoDA, out of a desire to grow in their ability to create and keep healthy relationships, and to contribute what they can of themselves to CoDA. The Fellowship recognizes the need to select the most qualified people willing to serve as trusted servants. At times, trusted servants may hire individuals outside of the Fellowship for commercial services.
5. Trusted servants are directly responsible to those they serve and are bound to honor the group conscience decision-making process and uphold those decisions concerning their service work. The Fellowship also recognizes the need and right for members to honor their own experience, strength, and hope and their Higher Power’s will as expressed to them. When the group conscience violates an individual’s own truth and makes participation impossible, the individual may relinquish the service position.
6. The Fellowship guarantees trusted servants the right and authority to freely make decisions commensurate with their responsibilities and the right to participate in group conscience decisions affecting their responsibilities. Each CoDA member is also guaranteed the right to respectfully dissent during the group conscience decision making process. A member may freely and safely express any personal grievances as long as no particular person or group is unexpectedly singled out as the subject of the grievance. Members are encouraged to honor their own integrity as well as the integrity of others.
7. Trusted servants do practice the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in their service work and in all of their affairs. Trusted servants do not seek power, prestige, wealth, status, or acclaim; do not govern, coerce, or attempt to control others; and do not push a personal agenda, promote controversy, or advance outside issues at CoDA’s expense. Since issues over authority, will, money, property, and prestige can and do arise in service work, trusted servants need to practice emotional sobriety, including anonymity, humility, tolerance, gratitude, making amends, and forgiveness.
8. The CoDA Service Conference (Conference), through its group conscience decision-making process, guides the Fellowship in making policy decisions and in following the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. The Conference, though providing guidelines, holds no authority over the decision-making process of individual groups. The group conscience process is our decision-making process. Failure to honor this process may violate Traditions One and Four and a sanction may be imposed. The harshest sanction Conference can impose on an individual or group is to no longer recognize it as belonging to CoDA; this sanction may only be imposed on those who consistently violate the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, as determined by guidelines accepted by Conference.
9. By tradition, the CoDA Service Conference gives responsibilities to working committees composed of Conference Delegates and other CoDA volunteers or to separate service boards or corporations. All are directly responsible to the Conference. The scope of the work a committee does is determined by the Conference group conscience. The chairperson of each committee assumes the responsibility to ensure the work assigned to the committee is completed in a timely manner.
10. When the CoDA Service Conference is in session, the CoDA Board of Trustees is directly responsible to the Conference. When not in session, the Conference assigns its decision-making authority on material matters to the Trustees. The Board of Trustees is authorized to monitor the work of Conference-appointed service committees and may provide assistance or guidelines when necessary. The Trustees serve as the boards of directors of CoDA, Inc., the non-profit corporation, are assigned custodial control of all money and property held in trust for the Fellowship, and are responsible for prudent management of its finances.
11. The powers of the CoDA Service Conference derive from the pre-eminent authority of the group conscience decision-making process. Arizona State law gives the Board of Trustees legal rights and responsibilities to act for the Fellowship in certain situations. CoDA, Inc.’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws are legal documents enumerating these Board rights and responsibilities.
12. The Fellowship strives to practice and encourage spiritual principles in all its material, financial, and business affairs, including fairness, equality, and respect for individual rights. Every member within CoDA has a voice and is encouraged to use it. Every member has the right to know what is happening within our organization. To honor this right, and in the spirit of CoDA unity, our CoDA, Inc. organization publishes and distributes group conscience decisions, such as minutes of our service boards and motions from our CoDA Service Conferences, in the most inclusive and timely manner possible.
The Twelve Service Concepts may not be reprinted or republished without the express written consent of Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. This document may be reprinted from the website www.coda.org (CoDA) for use by members of the CoDA Fellowship.
Copyright © 2010 Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. and its licensors – All Rights Reserved.
Tools of Recovery
The Twelve Steps of Co-Dependents Anonymous is a program of recovery. The tools are some methods through which we work and live the Twelve Steps. A tool is a means to an end; it can never be an end in of itself.
In order for a tool to work, it must be used, and so, too, with our tools of recovery. Unless we act upon them, there can be no recovery. The tools we practice are our actions in working the Twelve Steps of recovery and the process of developing our own spirituality. By utilizing the tools, we learn to move from fear to faith, from shame to acceptance, and from blame to forgiveness. We also learn about boundaries, self-acceptance, self-love, self-esteem, and how to address our own resistance. We begin to act with integrity and authenticity.
The Tools Are:
In Co-Dependents Anonymous, abstinence means to abstain from obsessive, compulsive relationships. There are no absolutes for abstinence. It is both a tool that facilitates working the Twelve Steps and a result of living the Steps.
As a tool, abstinence brings the symptom of codependency to an immediate halt. We willingly adopt disciplined, well-balanced boundaries. From this vantage point, we can begin to follow the Twelve-Step recovery program a day at a time. Now we are able to move beyond the compulsive behaviour to a fuller living experience.
As a result of practicing the Twelve-Step program, the symptom of codependency is removed on a daily basis. Thus, abstinence is also an attitude change directly due to the program.
For many codependents, abstinence also means:
• Freedom from the bondage of obsessive relationships.
• Planning and developing a manner of living that puts relationships in their proper perspective.
• Trusting that a power greater than ourselves has removed the compulsion to overact, or at such times when it is experienced, we need not react at all, because we have the strength, courage, and hope to resist.
• Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Consciously deciding to let go of negative feelings towards a person who has harmed us, and towards ourselves when we fall back into our codependent behaviours may improve our emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
• The process of surrendering to something greater than ourselves; the more total our surrender, the more fully realized our freedom from codependent behaviour.
The CoDA program suggests that we cannot recover alone. We need to make a conscious decision to seek help from our Higher Power and other recovering CoDA members in order to work the Program. For many codependents, reaching out to others is difficult because we’ve always done everything ourselves. Some of us fear rejection and would rather not disclose our vulnerabilities to other people. However, in recovery, we learn to ask for help when needed, from our Higher Power, sponsor, or friends.
Some of us have come to CoDA with a history of unmanageable relationships. Being involved in a sponsor/sponsee relationship gives us an opportunity to change unwanted patterns that interfere with our ability to relate with others. We learn another way to choose the people we want to invite into our lives. We ask a sponsor to guide us through our program of recovery on all three levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. In working with other members of CoDA and sharing their experience, sponsors continually renew and reaffirm their own recovery. Sponsors are CoDA members who are committed to living the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to the best of their ability sharing their hope, strength, courage, and recovery.
Sponsoring and being sponsored teaches us about ourselves, our strengths, and liabilities. It is more “about ourselves” than it is “about” the other person. Eventually, we become willing to put aside the belief that we are responsible for another’s well-being, or that someone else is responsible for ours. In the process, we can learn to practice healthy limits, goal-setting, and boundaries. We can find our voices and even learn to say ‘no’ when appropriate. We can also learn to be accepting, forgiving, and patient, and even change sponsors without experiencing guilt or shame for changing our minds. Most of us find new ways to give and receive love. Some people learn lessons about the freedom and relief in letting go. What we lose in old behaviour we gain in new attitudes of humility and gratitude.
As codependents, many of us find that sponsorship is beneficial to our recovery. Sponsors guide sponsees in working the CoDA Steps. As sponsees, we may share parts of our journal, our Fourth Step inventory, or letters to a family member with our sponsor. As sponsors, we listen actively, intently, and patiently, and openly share our experience how it was for us in codependence and how it is now in recovery. Sponsorship provides a rich arena for both parties to learn to share without becoming enmeshed, without dictating, and without taking things personally. A healthy sponsorship relation helps build trust and an opportunity for growth. A key ingredient to being a good sponsor is having a sponsor. Participating in sponsorship builds CoDA community and promotes unity. Healthy sponsorship builds healthy meetings.
CoDA is a program of attraction; find a sponsor who has what you want and ask how it was achieved.
As codependency led to problems within our relationships, we discovered isolating and hiding our true selves no longer worked and began to realize the benefit of belonging to a group, a place to try out and experience healthy relationships.
Meetings are gatherings of two or more codependents who come together to share their experience in recovery. Though there are many different types of meetings, fellowship is the basis of all of them. Meetings are an opportunity for us to identify and confirm our common problem by relating to one another and by sharing the gifts we receive through this program. We learn more about CoDA, codependence patterns and characteristics, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and even how to cope with uncomfortable feelings and how to engage positively with others in various ways regardless of whether we may agree or disagree with a person.
When sharing in meetings, CoDA members share their own truth in their recovery. We are free to share our feelings and experiences, be they painful, shameful, or joyous, in an atmosphere of safety and security, without being interrupted, criticized, ridiculed, or judged. In fact, we often hear people share stories that are similar to our own. Through identifying with others, we realize we are not alone, and we feel comforted. Listening to others’ experiences helps us gain insight into our relationships with others and ourselves. By allowing ourselves to recognize and release pent up emotions, we begin the healing process. Additionally, many of us find that once we’ve shared about ourselves, we feel more connected with the group’s members and many of us report feeling more positive after attending a meeting.
Recovery depends on CoDA meetings being viable. From the time we were led to our first Co-Dependents Anonymous group and realized the wealth of help obtainable, we have relied on CoDA being available on a consistent basis. When we get the word out about the meetings, we remember our Eleventh Tradition: “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion.”
If there are a number of available meetings in the area, CoDA suggests trying several different ones, but the basic meeting format reminds us that “who you see here, what is said here, when you leave here, let it stay here.” Respecting the confidentiality of CoDA members adds to a feeling of safety within the group, assuring us that our participation in CoDA is not made known without our consent. Anonymity reminds us of Tradition Twelve: to place principles before personalities.
We may have started going to CoDA meetings hoping to find a one-time cure, but we keep attending meetings because we find ongoing reinforcement in a program that supports our spiritual and personal growth on our journey towards authenticity.
Codependency is a disease of isolation. The telephone is a means of communicating with another codependent between meetings. It provides an immediate outlet for those hard to handle highs and lows we all experience. The telephone is also a daily link to our sponsor, offers the means to find a meeting, and, as part of the surrender process, is a tool by which we learn to ask for help, reach out and extend that same help to other members. Those of us who have the convenience of cell phones need never be far away from support.
Telephone lists are a lifeline allowing codependents the opportunity to keep in touch with our support network when we need to talk to someone about our codependent issues. When we as group members, agree to have our phone numbers listed for newcomers, we are willing to be available for the codependent who still suffers. However, it is important to remember that those of us available on a phone list are not professional therapists.
Anonymity is a tool as well as a Tradition because it guarantees that we will place principles before personalities. It offers each of us freedom of expression and protection against gossip. Anonymity assures us that only we as individual CoDA members have the right to make our membership known within our community.
Anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and television means that we never allow our last names or faces to be used once we identify ourselves as CoDA members.
Within the Fellowship, anonymity means that whatever we share with another CoDA member will be held in respect and confidence. What we hear at meetings should remain there. It should be understood, however, that anonymity must not be used to limit our effectiveness within the Fellowship. It is not a break of anonymity to give our names and phone numbers to the secretary of the group or to other service officers of CoDA for the purpose of conducting CoDA business, which is primarily Twelve Step work. It is likewise not a break in anonymity to enlist Twelve Step help for group members in trouble, provided we are careful to omit specific personal information. If their disease has reactivated and we persist in protecting their anonymity, we may, in effect, help kill them and their anonymity.
CoDA Conference Endorsed literature is written by CoDA members for codependents. What better way to feel connected than by reading the words of other members who have gone through what we are experiencing? The CoDA Blue Book and Conference Endorsed pamphlets and booklets are sources of experience, strength, and hope. Reading about codependency as seen through the eyes of other codependents can provide new perspectives and support. It also impresses on us certain basic truths we have found vital to our growth. Many of us also read spiritual literature to start our day off on a positive note.
We also study two Alcoholics Anonymous books: the Big Book, and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to reinforce our program. Our CoDA literature and the AA literature are an ever available tool that gives insight into our problem as well as the strength to deal with it and the very real hope that there is a solution for us.
Sharing focused on the Steps, Traditions, and topics found in CoDA literature helps members grow together in the program. Reading the literature between meetings helps build a sense of connection to the program and aids our progress towards spirituality.
Slogans (including our prayers, such as the CoDA opening and closing prayer, the Serenity Prayer, Third Step Prayer, Seventh Step Prayer, and Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow prayer) are also part of our literature and provide us with opportunities for reflection and daily personal reminders of hope teaching us to practice patience, persistence, and recovery solutions in our otherwise hectic daily lives.
As codependents, many of us use writing as a tool to identify and process our feelings. By placing our thoughts and feelings on paper, or describing a troubling incident, it helps us to better understand our actions and reactions in a way that is often not revealed to us by simply thinking or talking about them. In the past, codependent behaviour was our most common reaction to life. When we put our difficulties down on paper, it becomes easier to see situations more clearly and perhaps better discern any necessary action.
There are many different forms of the writing tool that are available to us. Some more commonly used forms in CoDA are Journals, Letters, Step Work, and Affirmations.
Journals: Writing in a journal about our experiences, memories, feelings, thoughts, hopes, needs, fears, and desires in our relationships with family, friends, and colleagues helps us gain insight into our issues and work through them. Reading out loud what we have written may be a powerful experience in increasing our self-knowledge. Reviewing earlier journal entries helps us to recognize our progress.
Letters: Some of us write letters to ourselves, to our Higher Power, or to others, perhaps even a person who has died. These letters may express love, anger, disappointment, or regret. They may be written without concern for spelling or punctuation and need not be mailed. The important thing is to get the thoughts and feelings on paper. Writing letters to others and ourselves can promote healing, acceptance, and serenity.
Step Work: In addition to using the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Workbook, when working on a step, some of us have found it particularly helpful in writing it out. In each step, we ask ourselves questions like, ‘What are some characteristics and patterns I see in my behaviour that lead me to believe I might be codependent?’, ‘Who is my Higher Power?’, ‘What are some ways I experience taking my will back?’, ‘Who have I harmed and how?’, ‘How can I make amends?’, and, ‘What can I do to be of service and give back?’. Writing our responses down allows us to organize our random thoughts, and possibly bring hidden thoughts to the forefront. We also engage in other Step writings, such as an autobiography in Step One, various inventories in Step Four, lists of people harmed in Step Eight, and so on. Writing in our Step work helps us develop our recovery by understanding our own histories, discover our liabilities and take action by exercising responsibility for ourselves and not anyone else.
Carrying the message to the codependent who still suffers is the basic purpose of our Fellowship and therefore the most fundamental form of service. Any service, no matter how small, that will help reach a fellow sufferer adds to the quality of our own recovery. Putting away chairs, making coffee, talking to newcomers, doing whatever needs to be done in a group or for CoDA as a whole are ways in which we give back what we have so generously been given. Do what you can when you can. “A life of sane and happy usefulness” is what we are promised as the result of working the Twelve Steps; service fulfills that promise.
What would happen to Co-Dependents Anonymous if no one volunteered for service? Or what would happen if only a few CoDA members did all the work? The answer is obvious; CoDA would eventually cease to exist. Regular rotation of service positions gives every member the chance to participate, ensuring that recovery continues to serve the worldwide Fellowship and be available for us and those who follow.
Service work is a win-win situation because it benefits the Fellowship as well as the individuals who serve. Through service work, recovering codependents learn many lessons: to work as part of a team, accept group conscience decisions gracefully, be more direct in communicating their needs, to negotiate and compromise, be more comfortable taking on leadership roles, set healthy boundaries, and learn more about who we are. Service work provides a natural way for individuals to use their talents and creativity to meet and get to know other codependents in more depth.
CoDA has survived because it is more than a group of people coming together toward a common goal: a desire for healthy and loving relationships. CoDA is a spiritual program that follows a well mapped out series of Steps and Traditions and is guided by a loving Higher Power. Through service, our groups and committees continue to carry the message of recovery to codependents who still suffer.
Fellowship is a cornerstone of CoDA recovery. Many newcomers arrive at their first meeting feeling alone and isolated. They may be recently out of a relationship or in a relationship in which their emotional needs are not being met. They come, eager to find answers to their questions, but the no-crosstalk rule discourages that. However, if they stick around, they learn about fellowship, meetings, and how it helps build CoDA community. Socializing after the meeting provides an opportunity for conversations in which newcomers can ask questions, talk in more detail, and get to know other members better.
For most of us, our pasts were filled with secrets we dared not share. Whether we were trying to influence or avoid others, we eventually found that something was missing. For all our efforts, we never seemed to find the sense of emotional security and love we craved. We could not see or value our own needs and wants. Instead, we either became consumed with another person; or we avoided others as much as possible. No matter what path brought us to our first CoDA meeting, most of us came with a feeling believing things could be better if we could learn another way.
Codependents are not alone and are not all stamped out of one mold. One thing that keeps us coming back is our identification with other codependents. As we listen and share in CoDA meetings, we discover that others have similar feelings and behaviours. We hear our own stories coming from the mouths of strangers and are given the opportunity to learn from others. Our sense of isolation finally begins to lift. Many of us experience the “pink cloud” of early recovery, feeling wonderful from identifying with other codependents. However, we have to be careful not to make other people our Higher Power by seeking our answers and our definition from them or substituting the Fellowship for our parents, friends, lovers, etc. Although others can support us on our journey of self-discovery, we also need to look within ourselves to find our own personal truths. The Fellowship is a community of other recovery people with whom we can be ourselves, without seeking approval and validation, and a network of support to us throughout our recovery. It is meant to add to, and complement our lives with a variety of supports – both in giving and receiving.
10. PRAYER AND MEDITATION
The difference between prayer and meditation can be understood by saying that during prayer, we ask our Higher Power for something, and during meditation, we open ourselves up to hear our Higher Power speak to us.
Meditation is generally an internal, personal practice. It often involves invoking or cultivating a feeling or internal state, such as compassion, or attending to a specific focal point. The basic idea behind most forms of meditation is to focus the mind on turning inward, to pay attention to our inner self, and center our consciousness so that our minds are open and clear. During meditation, the purpose of this inward concentration is to remove all outside distractions and quiet the chatter inside our heads.
However, during prayer, we clear our minds of all outside distractions in order to be able to focus our thoughts on the prayer itself and the answers or guidance we hope to find by praying. We pray because we have faith in our Higher Power. In Step Two, we came to believe in a power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity. We believe He takes care of everything in life and we turn our Wills over to Him. We believe our Higher Power is in control and everything happens for a reason known to Him. We can only pray for knowledge of that plan for us and the strength to carry it out the best we can and accept that our challenges and struggles may be a gift from Him. Through prayer and meditation, we lose all doubt and gain strength. There is no right or wrong way to pray or to meditate, there is only speaking and listening to our Higher Power in pursuit of our own spiritual growth.
The Co-Dependents Anonymous Tools for Recovery is neither magic nor rocket science. Rather, the tools encompass and provide guidance in those areas of life where we codependents have had difficulties, primarily relationships with others, our Higher Power, and ourselves. We need to reconnect and rebuild our spiritual lives.
We gain strength and guidance from other codependents at meetings, through sponsorship, and through service. We gain insight as we begin to know and accept ourselves, work the Steps with a sponsor, and “walk the talk” with others who speak the same language. Using the tools is our way out of the quagmire into which many of us have fallen. Regular use of the tools can provide the motivation, hope, and determination we need to move forward in our lives.
Slogans are one of these tools available to us to use at any time as our own personal instrument of self-awareness and grounding. Slogans are a handy way to help redirect our thoughts and actions in times of possible relapses into codependence behaviours, to thoughts and actions of recovery living the best we can by the Steps and Traditions CoDA is built upon. Some of these slogans with possible interpretations are listed below.
One Day at a Time:
– focus on this day only and not the future;
– break huge overwhelming tasks into smaller, more attainable goals;
– do not waste time worrying about the future you have no facts about.
Keep It Simple:
– do not focus on anticipating everything that can go wrong, but take it at face value and focus on what is actually happening;
– avoid adding too many tasks or elements to a task and keep it as basic as possible;
– don’t take on more than you can handle at any given time.
– remember you’re in recovery;
– remember your life before recovery, and where you are now;
– remember to practice compassion towards others even when their attitudes and actions bother us.
Easy Does It:
– don’t try to force a solution thus creating further conflicts;
– take your time working the Steps to maximize the return in your recovery: doing them thoroughly and doing them well is more valuable to your recovery than doing them fast;
– relax and calm yourself down when you feel you’re getting worked up;
– it is easy getting caught up in speed thinking that’s how to be productive, but in rushing through things, we are likely to miss something – we might not hear someone, might not recognize our own needs, or behaviour in a situation and we may forget to view things objectively. This slogan reminds us to slow down, take it easy, and notice what is happening around you.
First Things First:
– prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! Do what is necessary when it is necessary before moving on to the next thing – keeping in mind not to jump the gun or start big;
– address your own needs, health and wellness – personal recovery comes first.
Just For Today:
– allow yourself opportunities to make adjustments or changes to your own attitudes and actions
– explore new possibilities to move forward in a positive direction.
Let It Begin With Me:
– mind your own actions and attitudes instead of pointing fingers, criticizing or judging someone else’s behaviour, or blaming others;
– approach situations with a different perspective and take responsibility for your part in it; meeting your own needs and exerting your assertiveness.
Think, Think, Think:
– act versus react – not getting caught up in our emotions and automatically reacting in our codependence patterns and behaviours, but instead, we stop and think what our recovery tells us about how to cope and live the Steps and Traditions;
– making choices within your own best interests of recovery.
Other CoDA slogans:
1. DENIAL – Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying
2. Do The Next Right Thing
3. FEAR – Face Everything And Recover
4. HALT! – never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired
5. How Important Is It?
6. If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes
7. Things Don’t Change, We Do
8. If You Think You Can, Or Think You Can’t, You’re Right
9. INSANITY – Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results
10. It Works If You Work It
11. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Sweetheart
12. Let Go And Let God
13. Life Is Simple. First You Do One Thing, Then You Do The Next
14. Live And Let Live
15. NUTS – Not Using The Steps
16. Progress, Not Perfection
17. Put Down The Magnifying Glass And Pick Up The Mirror
18. Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say, But Don’t Say It Mean
19. SPONSOR – Sage Person Offering Newcomers Suggestions On Recovery
20. The Only Way Out Is Through
21. This Too Shall Pass
22. When I Point A Finger At You, Three More Point Back At Me!
23. Work It, You’re Worth It
24. Yesterday Is History; Tomorrow, A Mystery. Today Is A Gift; That’s Why It’s Called The Present
25. You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets
26. If You Always Do What You Did, You’ll Always Get What You Got
Find which Slogans resonate with you, think about what it means to you and why, and feel free to incorporate them into your recovery!