Ever since I started doing service beyond attending meetings I have been puzzled by Tradition 9. “CoDA as such ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.” What is “CoDA as such” and what isn’t? Recent experience has cleared some of the fog for me.
Years ago I started doing service with a CoDA group doing work so demanding that we could not deal with organizational matters involving other parts of CoDA service. So our group made an agreement with another group to take care of those matters so we could concentrate on our work.
The arrangement worked well for many years until the other group came to feel responsibility over what we did in our group and wanted to change the arrangement. It took a long time before I realized why that desire on the part of the other group felt so wrong to me. Finally, I realized it felt like a betrayal of trust.
That explained to me what Tradition 9 means. Our group had been acting very much in the trusting spirit of “CoDA as such.” We trusted the other group to take care of those needs so we could serve the Fellowship in the particular, and demanding, way we had been doing for years. We were free of the distraction and codependent temptations that can happen in organized groups. Perhaps because of that the work we did was especially satisfying.
I see now what Tradition 9 means for me. I see “CoDA as such” exemplified most clearly in our sharing meetings. In contrast to those meetings, business meetings, intergroups, voting entities and CoDA World Service are the “service boards and committees directly responsible to…” them.
The service group I was in had a similar relationship to the other group, relying on them and trusting they would take care of the externals so we could focus on what we did. But this was not clear to any of us. We were all thinking in strict organizational terms suitable for getting things done and not in terms of mutual trust, i.e. not in terms of Tradition 9. As they came to feel they were responsible for our work, our admitted trustworthiness was no longer enough for them and they insisted on taking control.
It certainly was a loss for me, but well compensated for by my fuller understanding of “CoDA as such”. A valuable guide for me as I continue to do CoDA service.
Bernard – April 14 2020