About CoDA

Co-dependents Anonymous is a program of recovery from codependency where each of us may share our experience, strength and hope in our efforts to find freedom where there has been bondage and peace where there has been turmoil in our relationships with others and ourselves.

CoDA meetings provide a safe place for people recovering from codependency to meet and work through their recovery in a safe and anonymous space. CoDA is based on AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and uses an adapted version of their Twelve Steps and Traditions as a central part of its suggested programme of recovery. Meetings are held weekly around South Africa and anyone is welcome to join.

Most of us have been searching for ways to overcome the dilemmas of the conflicts in our relationships and our childhoods. Many of us were raised in families where addictions existed – some of us were not. In either case, we have found in each of our lives that codependency is a most deeply-rooted, compulsive behaviour and that it is born out of our sometimes moderately, sometimes extremely dysfunctional family systems.

We have each experienced in our own ways the painful trauma of the emptiness of our childhood and relationships throughout our lives. We attempted to use others – our mates, our friends, and even our children, as our sole source of identity, value, and well-being and as a way of trying to restore within us the emotional losses from our childhoods. Our histories may include other powerful addictions, which at times we have used to cope with our codependency.

We have learned to survive life, but in CoDA we are learning to live life. Through applying the Twelve Steps and principles to our daily life and relationships, both present and past, we can experience a new freedom from our self-defeating lifestyles. It is an individual growth process. Each of us is growing at our own pace and will continue to do so as we remain open to God’s will for us on a daily basis. Our sharing is our way of identification and helps us to free the emotional bonds of our past and the compulsive control of our present.

No matter how traumatic your past or how despairing your present may seem, there is hope for a new day in the program of Co-dependents Anonymous. No longer do you need to rely on others as a power greater than yourself. May you instead find here a new strength within to be that which God intended – Precious and Free.

Patterns of Codependency:


  • I have difficulty in identifying what I am feeling
  • I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel
  • I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well-being of others


  • I have difficulty making decisions
  • I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never “good enough”
  • I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts
  • I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires
  • I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings and behaviour over my own
  • I do not perceive myself as lovable or worthwhile person



  • I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others’ anger
  • I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same
  • I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long
  • I value others’ opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own
  • I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want
  • I accept sex when I want love


  • I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves
  • I attempt to convince others of what they ‘should’ think and how they ‘truly’ feel
  • I become resentful when others will not let me help them
  • I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked
  • I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about
  • I use sex to gain approval and acceptance
  • I have to be ‘needed’ in order to have a relationship with others

    The 12 Steps of CoDA

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over others – that our lives had become unmanageable.

  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other codependents and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


    The 12 Promises of CoDA

  1. I know a new sense of belonging. The feeling of emptiness and loneliness will disappear.

  2. I am no longer controlled by my fears. I overcome my fears and act with courage, integrity and dignity.

  3. I know a new freedom.

  4. I release myself from worry, guilt and regret about my past and present. i am aware enough not to repeat it.

  5. I know a new love and acceptance of myself and others. I feel genuinely lovable, loving and loved.

  6. I learn to see myself as equal to others. My new and renewed relationships are all with equal partners.

  7. I am capable of developing and maintaining healthy and loving relationships. The need to control and manipulate others will disappear as I learn to trust those who are trustworthy.

  8. I learn that it is possible to mend – to become more loving, intimate and supportive. I have the choice of communicating with my family in a way which is safe for me and respectful of them.

  9. I acknowledge that I am a unique and precious creation.

  10. I no longer need to rely solely on others to provide my sense of self worth.

  11. I trust the guidance I receive from my higher power and come to believe in my own capabilities.

  12. I gradually experience serenity, strength and spiritual growth in my daily life.


   The 12 Traditions of CoDA

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon CoDA unity.

  2. 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.

  3. The only requirement for membership in CoDA is a desire for healthy and loving relationships.

  4. Each group should remain autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or CoDA as a whole.

  5. Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to other codependents who still suffer.

  6. A CoDA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the CoDA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim.

  7. Every CoDA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

  8. Co-dependents Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centres may employ special workers.

  9. CoDA as such ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

  10. CoDA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the CoDA name ought never to be drawn into public controversy.

  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.

  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions; ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.



"I am enough and I have enough."


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