Starting a Meeting
People start new meetings for many reasons. Some may be isolated from established CoDA meetings because of inconvenient meeting times or distance, or live somewhere with no regional meetings at all. Even those not isolated from existing meetings may wish to start a new meeting, one that meets at a different time or has a different format or focus. But as Tradition Five reminds us, all new meetings should be alike in one way:“Each group has but one primary purpose: to carry its message to other co-dependents who still suffer.”
In planning a new meeting, the first place to start is the coda.org tab Starter Materials, which includes the downloadable CoDA Meeting Handbook. (The packet is translated into other languages including Spanish, Japanese and Chinese through the CoRE website). The handbook offers detailed guidance on how to go about starting a CoDA meeting, and contains copies of standard meeting materials, such as the CoDA Preamble, the Welcome, the Steps, the Traditions, the Promises and Patterns.
A CoDA group is composed of two or more individuals whose purpose in meeting is a desire for healthy relationships. A group applies the principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, as adapted for our purpose from Alcoholics Anonymous. A CoDA group reads CoDA’s Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and the copyrighted “Welcome” and “Preamble” as they are written. These readings, along with the availability of CoDA Service Conference Endorsed literature at your meeting, help to support a sense of CoDA unity as called for in CoDA’s First Tradition.
People willing to start a new meeting may have varying levels of experience in CoDA or other 12-Step fellowships, and need different levels of support. Support and direction for those starting a meeting can come by CoDA members sharing their experience, strength and hope or from CoDA groups such as…
- Established meetings
- Outreach (or Public Information) committees
- Intergroups/ Voting Entities or other CoDA organizations in various countries
Considerations when first starting a meeting: (please see the CoDA Meeting Handbook for detailed information)
- What is the need for the meeting in the area? Consider other who may want to be involved in the process of starting a meeting and what people are looking for.
- What type of meeting? To choose a meeting format see the Meeting Format section for types of meeting
- What literature should be utilized? CoDA conference approved literature is always suggested. Please see the CoDA Literature through CoRe.
- Where can we hold a meeting? Choosing a Location can take much consideration: Please see the ORG Meeting Accessibility section about a location considerations.
Asking for help: Members often have many questions that other CoDA members can help answer. It is suggested that you talk to members who have started meetings for experience, strength and hope. Some topics they may be able to assist with are…
- How to choose and modify a format to fit their needs
- How to find sponsors
- How to attract people to their meeting while honoring Tradition 11, “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. We need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”
- How to create and maintain healthy meetings (See Healthy Meeting Matters booklet, link below)
- How to choose which CoDA-approved literature is needed to start, and where to find downloadable publications such as the Fellowship Service Manual and the Meeting Handbook.
Additional Suggestions on how to start a healthy meeting: What did it take to get your meeting established? The following is experience, strength and hope from our members:
1- Literature: Have enough literature and download and print free materials from coda.org. The Recovery Patterns tend to be very helpful for newcomers and all group members.
2- How to get the message of the new meeting out:
- Register: Register the meeting immediately on coda.org
- Flyers: Consider making and distributing flyers or eco-flyers (where a cell phone picture has information)
- Use Regional Support: Go to an Intergroup meeting and tell let people know about your new meeting. Request any support, such as an announcement of the meeting.
3- Service Positions: Develop a time for a regular group Business Meeting. At the first Business Meeting ideally, elect officers for the group. A list of potential positions is in the CoDA Meeting Handbook. Additionally, you may want to have a set Business Meeting Format.
Questions: If members have additional questions, please email the CoDA Email Team at [email protected]
RESOURCES: Please click on the following areas for additional resources and materials, if available: