outreach @ coda.org
I'm answering the CoDA web page info e-mail address comments/questions at the moment. I thought I'd share this message that I wrote today.
Thank you for your comment to the CoDA info web e-mail address. It does take a lot of effort and courage to be willing to get help.
I've been in CoDA for almost 9 nine years. When I went to my first meeting, I was terrified and in tremendous pain. If it hadn't been for that pain, I wouldn't have gone and I wouldn't have been willing to change. I heard something in those meetings that I didn't have and that was hope. I heard people say they had been where I was and they obviously didn't look or sound like they were there any more. I wanted that and despite my fear and my pain, I was willing to keep going. I surprised myself by that as I am not a 'group' person. In meetings, I heard about things I could do to change myself. I didn't have any idea what recovery was and couldn't have told you, but I kept going back. It took me almost two to three years before I started feeling comfortable in the meetings. I heard a lot of things I thought were total bull, but I can look back and realize that was about me. I've listened to people try to define recovery and what that is. I've heard people judge other's recovery and have done that myself. We are all where we need to be.
I've seen a lot of people come into meetings one or two times and then don't see them again. I have to let that go. I cannot make anyone come to a meeting and I can't make a meeting be all things to all people. All I can do is work my program to the best of my ability, work to get what I need out of the meetings, and support the process by attending and doing service work.
I realize there are less healthy meetings out there. There are a lot of disconnected meetings that haven't had contact with National in a long time. We are working to update our meetings and get people reconnected. We can only do so much. Others have to be willing to do their part.
National has a convention every other year. The next one will be in 2000. There are many retreats offered around the country (many of which are listed on the CoDA web page). There's one in Georgia this weekend. We need people who are willing to do things on a National level. I find working with National people to be a positive experience. I find that there are a lot of people with some great recovery there.
Some meetings are "better" than others. I've seen meetings change too. They go through cycles because the people who attend the meeting change themselves and people come and go for a variety of reasons. I left Baton Rouge 4 years ago but I'm still active in CoDA--most of them probably don't know that. I guess what I'm trying to say is if someone doesn't connect with a meeting on one visit that doesn't mean there isn't any recovery there. It can take time to develop a relationship and it often says more about where I am than about anything else. I do realize there are some dysfunctional meetings out there. We all have to trust in our Higher Powers that what is supposed to happen is happening. CoDA never promised me that I wouldn't be in pain or that there would never be any more struggles in my life. What it showed me was that there were different ways to handle these things than the way I was handling them and that I can protect myself. I have choices today.
I'm not sure if I've given you anything that you can relate to here. I hope so, but I know it was good to write it. It helps me to say and write these things, as it imprints it deeper into my brain.
I'm kind of enjoying doing this. I'm on the outreach committee (that's the committee that answers the messages--among other tasks). We're working to update all of the meeting lists (not an easy task) and to get meetings reconnected.
There are a lot of projects going on. If you'd be interested in working on this committee, let me know and I'll pass it on.