Updated on February 20, 2024
6 min read

A Comprehensive Guide to CoDA: Codependents Anonymous

Do you feel as though your relationships often become all-consuming? Do you enable bad behavior in a partner or family member, or are you too focused on them and their feelings to the point of neglecting your needs?

Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) is an international fellowship group of people willing to understand themselves better, break unhealthy relationship patterns, and gain independence from those close to them to lead healthier lives.

This blog post discusses what CoDA is about and how it helps members utilize its resources and visited meetings worldwide.

What is Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA)?

Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) is a membership community for people with a common desire to develop healthy and functional relationships. It's a non-professional fellowship that offers a 12-step program for codependents.

CoDa doesn't offer a definition or diagnostic criteria for codependency. But Mental Health America defines codependency as “a learned behavior” that can be hereditary. 

Who is Co-Dependents Anonymous for?

Co-Dependents Anonymous is for anyone struggling to form healthy or loving relationships due to codependency. Co-Dependents Anonymous helps members develop and maintain nurturing relationships with themselves and others.

Many people who join Co-Dependents Anonymous wonder if codependency defines them. If you or someone you know is on a journey of self-discovery, Co-Dependents Anonymous may be for you.


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How to Join CoDA

It's never too late to reach out and ask for help along your path to recovery from codependency. And you can take it one day at a time. To get involved in Co-Dependents Anonymous, visit their site at CoDA.com.

To find a treatment center near you, message the program through the website. Or give them a call at their phone number: +1 888-444-2359.

Understanding Codependency and Its Impact

Codependency is “an emotional and behavioral condition that affects a person's ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship.” In other words, codependency is a relationship addiction. It was first identified as a disorder about a decade ago.

Codependent people may find themselves in one-sided relationships that are toxic on an emotional level. They may learn this behavior by watching and imitating other family members who display it.

This behavior often emerges strongly in relationships with substance abuse. Whatever the case, it's emotionally destructive. If left untreated, codependency can only further hurt you and those around you. 

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What Can You Expect at A Codependents Anonymous Meeting?
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The Growth and Role of Co-Dependents Anonymous

Co-Dependents Anonymous exists to help codependents unlearn their behaviors and form happier, healthy relationships. The first Co-Dependents Anonymous meeting in 1986 in Phoenix, Arizona, welcomed 30 people.

Within a month, 100 people had joined. And before the end of the year, there were 120 groups. It’s only grown in popularity since.

People join Co-Dependents Anonymous for a few reasons, including:

  • Some come out of curiosity
  • Others come out of a crisis
  • Some are urged by their family members, friends, and loved ones
  • Others are encouraged by their physicians, psychiatrists, or therapists

What they all have in common is that they come seeking help for their problem with codependence.

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Benefits of CoDA for Codependency 

Codependency is typically rooted in childhood, so treatment involves diving deep into childhood issues and current relationships. There are various ways to do this. 

While therapy is vital, Co-Dependent Anonymous is a community where you can rediscover yourself alongside others in similar situations. With other codependents in your position, you can work on identifying and breaking self-defeating behaviors. 

Plus, Co-Dependent Anonymous offers a whole host of resources for codependents. These include educational materials, a forum for sharing, and audiovisuals with others’ positive recovery stories.

How Do I Know if I’m Codependent?

Codependent people tend to have low self-worth and self-esteem. They may find it difficult to be their authentic selves.

Moreover, they often look to outside sources to help them feel better about themselves. This may include seeking validation from others or abusing alcohol and drugs.

Some codependents may also develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, hyperactive sexuality, and gambling. They also tend to take on the role of martyrs and become “benefactors” to others in need. 

For example, you may find yourself covering up for an alcoholic partner or making excuses for a troubled child. With time, they feel satisfied with “being needed.” But they soon become helpless in their relationships, unable to break away.

Traits of Co-Dependent Behaviors and the Importance of Professional Diagnosis

Codependent behaviors include:

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility to help others in need
  • A tendency to mistake pity for love
  • A desire to “rescue” others
  • A tendency to always do more than their share
  • An extreme need for validation, approval, and recognition
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships
  • A sense of guilt when being assertive
  • A need to control others
  • A lack of trust in themselves or others
  • A fear of abandonment or loneliness
  • A difficult time adjusting to change
  • A difficult time with intimacy/boundaries
  • Chronic anger
  • Dishonesty
  • Poor communication skills
  • Crippling indecision

Of course, not all codependents will embody all of these traits. And not everyone who experiences the above is codependent. Only a qualified professional can diagnose you as a codependent. 

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Types of CoDA Meetings

There are various types of Co-Dependents Anonymous meetings you can explore. Each is equipped with appropriate meeting materials tailored to the type of meeting and the needs of the participants.

Newcomer Meetings

Newcomer meetings are for first-timers who are coming with curiosities. If your loved ones or medical professionals suggest you attend a Co-Dependents Anonymous meeting, you’ll get started at the newcomers meeting.

Face-to-Face Meetings

You have the option to do meetings in different ways with Co-Dependents Anonymous. Face-to-face meetings allow you to meet with other members in person.

Phone Meetings

Phone meetings occur over the phone. These are strictly audio-based meetings. There are daily meditation support groups that you can dial into if you want, as well.

Online Meetings (Virtual Zoom Meetings)

Online meetings occur over the internet on your phone, tablet, or computer. You can do a virtual Zoom call, using video, to meet. There are also online meetings that you can tune into.

What Happens at a Codependents Anonymous Meeting?

Here’s what you can expect at different Co-Dependent meetings:

Speaker Meetings 

At speaker meetings, a member shares their experience, strength, and hope for the other members in the room. 

Step or Tradition Study Meetings 

Step or tradition study meetings involve groups of codependents who work together through the Twelve Steps (and usually the Twelve Traditions) in a structured format.

Step Study groups are different from other meetings in several ways:

  • A Step Study group member may facilitate the groups 
  • There may be co-facilitators or rotating facilitators
  • The groups are usually closed to new members
  • There are typically weekly assignments for Step work
  • Groups may also choose to use non–conference approved materials in addition to The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Workbook and the Co-Dependents Anonymous

Open Share Meetings 

In open share meetings, members can share their experiences, ask questions, and engage with one another. These meetings don’t have topics or individual speakers. It gives people the opportunity to share personal stories.

Topic Share Meetings 

Topic Share meetings focus on a particular topic related to codependency.

What is Cross Talking?

Co-Dependents Anonymous defines cross-talking as “any verbal or physical response to another person’s sharing.” This includes interrupting, asking questions, and offering unsolicited advice.

Cross-talking minimizes others’ feelings and experiences. Plus, it can be a trait of codependency that members are trying to break. Co-Dependent Anonymous combats this practice and has strict guidelines against it.

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Updated on February 20, 2024

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