Thinking about starting a new CoDA meeting? Consider the following:
Meetings can be held almost anywhere. Try area churches, synagogues, counseling centers, hospitals, or places where other groups hold meetings.
Based on a time that's best for you to serve, choose the day and time of the week you want to hold the new meeting.
It's important that rent (no matter how small) be paid for the meeting place. In this way, we honor our Seventh Tradition: Every CoDA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
Since you won't know how large a meeting will be at the start, try to keep rent to a minimum. Rent may be a percentage of the meeting's collection, a monthly or quarterly fee, or anything to which you and your landlord agree. Some places let you use the space more as a courtesy than as a revenue source, so don't be afraid to negotiate. At the same time, dont abuse their generosity.
Ask for help, especially in the beginning. Invite people from other meetings to help you get the new meeting going. It helps to have several people present when newcomers show up. And be sure to post a sign at the new meeting location each week so that people can find your room easily.
Let people know about the new meeting. Visit other meetings with the necessary information (e.g., date, time, directions and/or a map). Place announcements in counseling centers and hospitals. Some local newspapers publish meeting notices at no charge. Just remember the Eleventh Tradition: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. As people see the announcements and hear about the meeting, they will come.
After a few initial meetings, take a group conscience to choose a meeting format. Several different types of meeting formats exist:
Speakers Meeting: A speaker meeting features one individual's story of recovery. Speakers share their experience, strength, and hope with the group. Depending on the length of the individual's story, the meeting may or may not include open sharing after the speaker has shared.
Open Share Meeting: The open share meeting often has no topic or individual speaker. This gives group members an opportunity to share their experience, strength, and hope on any subject of their recovery.
Topic Share Meeting: The topic share meeting opens with a facilitator or group member suggesting a specific topic (e.g., the Steps, setting boundaries, sponsorship, etc.). The facilitator usually begins the sharing.
Step Meeting: The Step meeting makes use of our CoDA conference approved literature or the CoDA Book. The group may elect to read a portion of the material out loud before open sharing.
After the first meeting or two, it's best to reach a consensus on the structure of the new meeting. Note that this can always be changed at a future business meeting. Some questions may include: What guidelines will be used for sharing? How might the meeting deal with crosstalk? How will newcomers, literature, and other issues be handled? When will regular business meetings take place? The New Meeting Starter Packet (below) provides information and guidelines.
New Meeting Starter Packet
CoDA has a New Meeting Starter Packet, which includes a meeting format that can be adapted to individual meeting needs. CoDA recommends that every meeting have a copy of this packet. It contains the basic documents that support CoDA unity. You can download a copy free from the web or order one from:
PO Box 670861
Dallas, TX 75367-0861
Fax (214) 340-6066
View\Print Meeting starter packet
Registration: Once you receive the New Meeting Starter Packet, you will need to register to become a CoDA meeting. In addition to a suggested meeting format, the packet contains all the forms you will need to apply for a registration number.
Once you have an official number, the meeting will be listed in the National Meeting Directory. If you have a state organization or Intergroup, tell them about your new meeting so that it can be added to the state and/or communitys meeting lists as well.
CoDA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions: Just as the Twelve Steps offer guidance for maintaining healthy relationships, our Twelve Traditions offer guidance for maintaining healthy meetings. The CoDA Book contains commentary on all the Steps and Traditions. Also, a helpful Service Manual is available.
Rely on the wisdom embodied in the Steps and Traditions. Keep in mind that trusted servants take direction from the Fellowship. A group conscience can be a powerful tool.
Jobs: Define what tasks must be done, such as:
Key Holder: The key holder lets people in and locks up after the meeting.
Chair/Meeting Leader: The chair/meeting leader runs the meeting.
Treasurer: The treasurer holds all Seventh Tradition donations, pays rent, and mails funds to state and national offices.
Secretary: The secretary takes notes at business meetings and keeps records.
Literature Person: The literature person orders and keeps track of the group's CoDA literature.
Phone Contact Person: The phone contact person responds to inquiries from people asking about the group.
Group Service Representative (GSR): The GSR is elected by the group to represent the meeting's group conscience to community and state CoDA organizations. Since GSRs act as liaisons to CoDA as a whole, they are also known as contact persons.
Growth: In the beginning, people may be called to do service work in more than one job. This is okay on a temporary basis, but may cause "burn out" or resentments over the long term. Jobs in CoDA are usually rotated to prevent "burn out."
Job rotation also supports the concept that each meeting depends on all who attend. Let different volunteers perform each task, rotate positions regularly, and limit terms of service. More information about trusted servants can be found in the New Meeting Starter Packet. If at any time the group wants help or support (or has questions), call your Intergroup, community office, or delegates. Our Higher Power will surely make available a member experienced in service, with whom you may consult
Higher Power is present at all Fellowship meetings.