I remember my first CoDA meeting as if it were yesterday. Of course, I had no idea of what to expect but I had certain expectations. Sounds ironic, doesn’t it?
It was January 20, 2020. My fiancé and I went to the meeting thinking it would solidify our relationship even more. What we experienced was a small group of people who were warm, friendly, and welcoming.
The meeting agenda was structured and organized. What I remember most was that no one was pressured to speak at any time. Of course, there was CoDA-approved literature available but there was no “hard sale” so to speak.
What I remember the most, however, is how safe people felt and how comfortable people felt about sharing their feelings. There was no criticism – only acceptance of what and how each individual felt at that particular time. I knew then my perception of what I thought the meeting would be like was incorrect. I also knew I would return. This was something new for me and I liked it! Thank You CoDA!
Little did I know that a seed had been planted in me that would blossom into a wonderful garden. I have always hated gardening because I believed I had a black thumb. I now appreciate the beauty that can come from a person’s effort and labor.
Before I knew it, I had a sponsor, realized I had writing skills, studied the Steps and Traditions, slogans, but most of all I learned that I could live life instead of just surviving life by sharing my hopes, strengths, and experiences. I shared my fears, my failures, and my successes. My home group became my family. They are always there when I am down or depressed and lift me up and encourage me. They are understanding and patient. I want to thank them for helping me learn and believe in myself.
Today, the seed that was planted in my first CoDA meeting has sprouted and grown into a beautiful garden. Of course, as with any good gardener or farmer, in order to yield the fruits of their labor they must remove all the nasty weeds…. something I work on daily.
My weeds are all my character defects such as isolationism, low self-esteem, judgmentalism, denial, fear of failure, perfectionism, and martyrdom. My CoDA garden has become my “Labor of Love” so to speak. I am slowly replacing my weeds with acceptance, kindness, generosity, patience, self-confidence, and humor.
I have planted several seeds since that first meeting. It never occurred to me before CoDA that I even deserved to have a beautiful garden. What a wonderful place to find oneself as I learn to live life. I know I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement of my sponsor and my home CoDA group.
I am so glad I have found CoDA because now I know I don’t have to live in fear. And I know I can become a master gardener. Thank you, CoDA for being there for me!
Linda C. 7/8/22