I’ve been in this program for six years. In that time, I’ve attended a wide variety of meetings; each with their own format, structure, and style. I‘ve been welcomed and understood, over and over. I have experienced a sense of belonging like the Twelve Promises of CoDA mention. I have noticed some common threads that make that possible:
· Experienced CoDAs offer healthy modeling by listening well and sharing honestly.
· The meeting format encourages a safe space by making guidelines clear for everyone.
· Newcomers are appreciated for showing up and encouraged to keep coming back.
· Conversations during fellowship are respectful and inclusive.
· Decisions for the meeting are made by Group Conscience, everyone is invited to participate.
· Conflicts that come up are resolved by relying on the wisdom of the Twelve Traditions.
· Humble leadership is done by willing volunteers who are actively working the Twelve Steps.
· Trusted Servants take turns doing different jobs and ask for help when they need it.
· Opportunities are available to everyone who wishes to be of service.
When I was new to CoDA, I felt intimidated by the leaders in my first few meetings. As I kept going back, I got to know them as real people instead of the authority figures I was expecting. Their dedication and general attitude were inspiring to me. They were warm, caring, and funny, so I started to be more at ease. They were doing their best and the fact that they were open about not being perfect gave me hope. When I took on a service position, I was encouraged to ask for help if I needed it, but they also trusted me to handle it in my own way. That was scary and liberating at the same time. Over the years, I’ve gradually taken on more and different service commitments at many different levels. My confidence increases each time I stretch myself. Every now and then, a newcomer will say something to me that reminds me of how I used to look up to trusted servants and I’m amazed. It also helps to keep me mindful of what it was like to walk into the rooms in the beginning. I really do want to share the gifts I’ve received and continue to gain through this program. That’s why I do my part to help the meetings I attend, so that we can co-create an environment where “a lot of recovery” can keep happening.
Gratefully in service,
Caryn T. 6/5/2022