Fostering Inclusive Meetings
Codependent patterns afflict people of all cultures, languages, gender identification, sexual orientation, religions and age groups. We aim to promote the spirit of Tradition 5 which states, “Each group has but one primary purpose: to carry its message to other codependents who still suffer”. Therefore, it is important to make CoDA meetings a welcoming and inclusive space.
Being a new participant in a meeting can feel overwhelming, especially if you come from a minority group (for example, due to ethnic background or sexual preference) or have different needs from other members (such as speaking a different language or a physical limitation). We encourage newcomers and members who cannot immediately identify with other members in the group to keep coming back. To address members needs, we have developed three sub-sections: Linguistic Diversity, Gender Identification and Sexual Preference, and Religious Identification. Furthermore, we hope to gather experience, strength and hope in developing future sections on addressing important topics such as Cultural Diversity. Please go to the “Submissions” section to share your ideas.
As a group, there are actions we can take to foster all members’ comfort while maintaining healthy boundaries. What can we as individuals and groups do to encourage newcomers to feel welcome from their first meeting?
- Encourage members’ comfort by adapting the meeting if necessary: An explanation of the meeting’s guidelines is helpful, either with language that welcomes them as part of the format, or by giving them an introductory handout (see Newcomer Support section). Group conscience may be used to determine or adapt the group’s guidelines to support all members. Flexibility may be called for.
- Take the time to define crosstalk: Many CoDA groups define crosstalk differently. Please see the CoDA booklet “Experiences with Crosstalk” for more information. Sometimes people who are unaccustomed to a CoDA meeting with a strict no-crosstalk guideline can feel unwelcome when they violate boundaries out of ignorance, when that is not the intention. Crosstalk rules can help members feel safe when sharing, but the primary purpose of a CoDA group is to carry its message to other codependents who still suffer. Therefore, a group may decide to grant a certain flexibility to newcomers not yet familiar with the program, while still adhering to the Twelve Traditions.
By creating an inclusive atmosphere where all members are welcomed and supported, a meeting can fulfill its primary purpose.
FEEDBACK & SUBMISSIONS FOR THIS PAGE: The Outreach Resource Guide (ORG) is a work in progress which depends on contributions from you, our fellowship members. Please submit suggestions and materials by going to the Submissions page for further instructions.