H.&I. (Hospitals and Institutions) Committee
Hospitals & Institutions Committee (H&I) at the CoDA, Inc. level acts as a resource and support
to those doing H&I service (taking CoDA meetings/resources/message into facilities–medical,
penal, educational and social services institutions) at all levels of the Fellowship (CoDA Service
Conference, Voting Entity, Intergroup, local group, and individual). Although there is work to be
done at this level (CoDA, Inc.), most of the work is done at the local level.
1. Getting literature into institutions
A) Your group can take literature that you purchase to a local facility
CoDA has several pamphlets such as “Am I Codependent?”, “What Is CoDA?”, “Welcome to Co-Dependents Anonymous,” etc. that are appropriate for placing in facilities. These can be purchased from CoRe Publishing www.corepublications.org. If the facility allows, you may take the opportunity to place donation information on them such as: “This book is provided by __ [group name] __ which meets on __ (Date and time) __ at __ (location, address). Other CoDA meetings can be found at www.CoDA.org.
B) Books For Inmates & Institutions (BFII)
The Books for Inmates and Institutions program is set up to provide CoDA literature, primarily Co-Dependents Anonymous and The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions Workbook books, in English and Spanish to inmates or facilities (residential) in the U.S. who request literature. Seventh Tradition donations and matching funds from CoDA’s H&I budget assure this is at no cost to the inmates or institutions. This literature is purchased from our publisher, CoRe Publications, at the lowest list price or donated by CoRe. Donation form for BFII
C) Your local group can utilize the BFII program
- Take a second Seventh Tradition donation at your meeting for the Books for Inmates and Institutions (BFII) program. Then send in your 7th tradition donation with the BFII Form. You may want to direct your donation to a specific institution or allow it to help fill requests from residents in institutions all over the United States. Both directed and non-directed donations are needed to continue to reach the codependent who still suffers in an institution.Currently (as of 6/2018) it costs just under $9 to deliver one book or workbook to a resident of an institution. One of both books can be delivered for under $13.
- Inform a local facility that a resident may personally request a book by writing to Hospitals & Institutions Committee, Co-Dependents Anonymous, P.O. Box 33577, Phoenix, AZ 85067-3577 or emailing the request to [email protected].
- If working with a group at a facility, send a scanned list of personal requests from individual residents of a facility to [email protected] along with the name and address of a staff member of that facility to whom books may be shipped. When gathering a list, we ask that individuals place their own names on the list. Asking for a book for another person is a codependent action that could be done by that individual.
- In addition to books, other CoDA literature is available to facility residents upon their request at no charge to them.
a. The “Standard Packet”: which currently (2018) consists of Newcomers Handbook, Twelve Step Handbook, Making Choices, Affirmations Booklet, Communications in Recovery, and Establishing Boundaries.
b. CoDA Institutional Meeting Handbook
c. Fellowship Service Manual, Part 1. (Structure & General Information) & Part 2. (Meeting Handbook)
d. Other CoRe publications.
If it will be shared with residents of the facility, H&I will send a CoDA library consisting of a Co-Dependents Anonymous book, The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions Workbook in English and Spanish, and one of most of the other pieces of CoDA literature. We do not send coins, CD’s, posters, or bookmarks with the libraries. H&I pays for these items and shipping. Libraries need to be shipped to a facility staff person at the facility. H&I budgets for a limited number of libraries each year.
Any questions regarding the above may be sent to [email protected] .
2. Meetings in institutions
In H&I service work it is important that each of us has worked our program long enough to have seen our Higher Power remove some defects of character related to care-taking issues. Many people with whom we come in contact through this type of service work have a deep need for being taken care of, so we must be vigilant about boundaries and forming healthy relationships.
We also recommend that H&I work be done by a group of people.
The key to gaining access to a facility is finding the right contact person within the facility. It may be a therapist within the facility, the director, someone in charge of aftercare, etc. It is important to share with this contact person how you and your group are willing to serve their residents. It is necessary for you and your group to decide what you want to offer and then see if that would be helpful to the facility.
It is also important to make local meeting lists available at the facility.
B) Local group sponsor panels in institutions
A panel consists of 2-4 local CoDA members who go into the facility to share their experience, strength, and hope (ESH) and general information about CoDA with residents. An initial panel or presentation of CoDA’s program, to staff only, may be helpful. The panel session may follow a general meeting format with reading of the Foundational Documents followed by the sharing of members’ ESH and a Q & A time. The frequency of having the panels needs to be determined by the facility staff and availability of the CoDA members. This activity works well in facilities where residents’ stays are short (less than two months).
C) Local group hold meeting in an institution providing leadership
CoDA members can lead (chair) a meeting in a facility and the clients share after your lead. When turnover rate of facility residents is rapid, featuring topics such as first, second, and third step work at regular intervals may be helpful for new clients. H&I has a meeting format that is tailored for use in institutions available on line at: H&I meeting format
D) Use of the CoDA Institutional Meeting Handbook
H&I has an Institutional Meeting Handbook for facility residents or staff to use to hold meetings without participation of an outside CoDA member,That is available on the CoDA website as a printable pdf that your meeting could provide to the residents. Click here for the Institutional Meeting Handbook.
3. Inmate sponsorship
Our inmate sponsorship program, launched in 2014, allows CoDA members to sponsor inmates via US mail correspondence. If you’d like to share your experience, strength, and hope with an inmate, check here for more info.
4. H&I service at Voting Entity and Intergroup levels of the CoDA Fellowship
A) Serve on your Voting Entity or Intergroup committee to encourage H&I service
B) Be an H&I contact for your Voting Entity or Intergroup
C) Be an H&I Chair/Officer serving your Voting Entity or Intergroup
5. Ongoing H&I committee work at CoDA, Inc. level
A) Responding to letters from residents of institutions
B) Responding to inquiries from the Fellowship and from institutions
C) Ordering books requested by institutions or their residents
D) Overseeing the Inmate Sponsorship Program
E) Attending monthly internet conference meetings on the 3rd Thursday of the month.
1. Availability of CoDA literature to residential institutions
CoDA literature (publications from CoRe Publications only) is made available to facilities and individuals in those facilities at no cost to them through CoDA’s Books for Inmates and Institutions Program. This is funded through donations from CoDA members and groups with gratitude for what they have received from the program. Although we try to process requests as quickly as possible, it usually takes at least 2 weeks and sometimes more than 2 months for a book to be received.
A) CoDA Institutional Meeting Handbook is available as a downloadable PDF to guide residents in forming and leading a CoDA meeting in an institution where non-resident participation is restricted. Additional meeting materials can be found on the CoDA website under meeting materials.
B) Any resident in a facility may personally request CoDA literature by writing to Hospitals & Institutions Committee, Co-Dependents Anonymous, P.O. Box 33577, Phoenix, AZ 85067-3577 or emailing the request to [email protected]. The person making the request must be able to receive literature (per institutional rules) and must provide the name, address, and any other pertinent identifying data such as ID number and dorm address.
C) H&I will also send a CoDA library, if it will be shared with residents of the facility. It will consist of a Co-Dependents Anonymous book, The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions Workbook in English (and Spanish if requested), and one copy of most of the other pieces of CoDA literature. We do not send coins, CD’s, posters, or bookmarks with the libraries. The library is free of charge to the institution. Libraries need to be shipped to a staff person at the facility. A library can be requested by writing to the address in the paragraph above or by emailing the request to [email protected].
D) If your facility has a length of stay of fewer than three months, you may request a “seed set” of the Co-Dependents Anonymous books and/or The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions Workbook This consists of 5 or 10 copies that may be given to any resident who wants one*. We ask that the person who has been given a book personally request that book by either: sending a request in writing to Hospitals & Institutions Committee, Co-Dependents Anonymous, P.O. Box 33577, Phoenix, AZ 85067-3577 or by personally writing his or her name and the book received and having someone on the facility staff scan and send it to [email protected] along with the name and address of a staff member of that facility to whom replacement books may be shipped. Replacement books will be sent to the facility to the attention of the people who have requested books by mail or email and provided their names. However, the books are to be kept by the facility, not delivered to the individual (who would already have received one). This will allow another resident to obtain a book while in the facility, rather than sending a written request and waiting for a mailed-in request to be received.
* It is the desire of CoDA to make these books available to individuals who want to work on their recovery from codependence. Please give them to individuals who personally request them. It is not our intention to provide books for your curriculum or all residents of your facility.
2. Starting a meeting in an Institution
CoDA, Inc. and the Hospitals and Institutions Committee of CoDA, Inc. provides resources to those who want to conduct meetings in accordance with CoDA’s steps and traditions.
A) Consider your local resources.
Look for local CoDA members by contacting local CoDA groups to see if there are any members interested in setting up a meeting or bringing in a CoDA panel at the institution. Visit the CoDA website meeting locator https://coda.org/find-a-meeting/ to find a list of meetings in your area. Enter your zip code and a distance from your facility. (If you get no results, try increasing the distance.) Follow the blue hot links (Group ID) to get contact information for that meeting.
B) Provide access to resources to peer leaders*
A place to meet: Hospitals and treatment centers can provide space for CoDA meetings to meet.
* If you are a mental health or corrections professional (employee of the institution), CoDA asks that you only start meetings or participate in meetings as an individual recovering codependent. CoDA is forever nonprofessional and does not affiliate with any outside facility or outside enterprise. Tradition Two — “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving higher power as expressed to our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” — reminds us that no one individual holds authority over CoDA meetings.
C) Materials available to help lead a CoDA meeting:
The CoDA Institutional Meeting Handbook, for meetings that are closed to the general public, can be printed from the website. Click here for the Institutional Meeting Handbook.
The CoDA Meeting Handbook is available for meetings that are open to the general public. Link to Meeting Handbook.
Request a lending library for your residents and those attending the meeting. (See 1) C) above)
D) Awareness of meetings:
Provide information to your residents about CoDA and meetings held that they can attend. Then let them choose to attend meetings led by their peers, either from within the institution or from outside.
E) Considerations for short-stay (less than 90 days) facilities:
CoDA meetings are peer led and it is difficult to maintain meetings lead by participants in a short-stay program. In that case introducing participants to recovery from co-dependence, having lists of local CoDA meetings, sharing CoDA literature like “Am I Co-Dependent?” and having some CoDA literature in your lending library may help. CoDA panels may also help. (See 2. A above).