Service in Recovery
The members of the Fellowship of Co-Dependents Anonymous, in carrying out the will of a loving Higher Power, advance their individual recoveries, work to insure the continuance of their groups and their program, and carry the message to codependents who still suffer. They may also collectively authorize and establish service boards or committees and empower trusted servants to perform service work.
The Fellowship of CoDA has the responsibility of determining, through its group conscience, the service work to be performed, and the best manner to perform such work. This authority is expressed through our group conscience. Authority carries responsibility; thus, CoDA groups conscientiously provide adequate funding and support for the service work they authorize.
Decisions about service work in the Fellowship and all CoDA affairs are made through the group conscience decision making process. For this spiritual democratic process to work, every member of the group is encouraged to participate, consider all the facts and options concerning the issue, listen respectfully to all opinions expressed, then reflect and meditate to find a loving Higher Power's will. Finally, we deliberate honestly and respectfully to determine the proper course of action. Unanimity in the group is the desired outcome; a majority vote is a group conscience.
All those who volunteer to do service work for CoDA by serving on committees, boards, or corporations are trusted servants, not authority figures. Ideally, trusted servants volunteer out of a desire to follow their Higher Power's will, out of gratitude for the gifts they have received from CoDA, out of a desire to grow in their ability to create and keep healthy relationships, and to contribute what they can of themselves to CoDA. The Fellowship recognizes the need to select the most qualified people willing to serve as trusted servants. At times, trusted servants may hire individuals outside of the Fellowship for commercial services.
Trusted servants are directly responsible to those they serve and are bound to honor the group conscience decision making process and uphold those decisions concerning their service work. The Fellowship also recognizes the need and right for members to honor their own experience, strength, and hope and their Higher Power's will as expressed to them. When the group conscience violates an individual's own truth and makes participation impossible, the individual may relinquish the service position.
The Fellowship guarantees trusted servants the right and authority to freely make decisions commensurate with their responsibilities and the right to participate in group conscience decisions affecting their responsibilities. Each CoDA member is also guaranteed the right to respectfully dissent during the group conscience decision making process. A member may freely and safely express any personal grievances as long as no particular person or group is unexpectedly singled out as the subject of the grievance. Members are encouraged to honor their own integrity as well as the integrity of others.
Trusted servants do practice the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in their service work and in all of their affairs. Trusted servants do not seek power, prestige, wealth, status, or acclaim; do not govern, coerce, or attempt to control others; and do not push a personal agenda, promote controversy, or advance outside issues at CoDA's expense. Since issues over authority, will, money, property, and prestige can and do arise in service work, trusted servants need to practice emotional sobriety, including anonymity, humility, tolerance, gratitude, making amends, and forgiveness.
The CoDA Service Conference (Conference), through its group conscience decision making process, guides the Fellowship in making policy decisions and in following the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. The Conference, though providing guidelines, holds no authority over the decision making process of individual groups. The group conscience process is our decision making process. Failure to honor this process may violate Traditions One and Four and a sanction may be imposed. The harshest sanction Conference can impose on an individual or group is to no longer recognize it as belonging to CoDA; this sanction may only be imposed on those who consistently violate the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, as determined by guidelines accepted by Conference.
By tradition, the CoDA Service Conference gives responsibilities to working committees composed of Conference Delegates and other CoDA volunteers or to separate service boards or corporations. All are directly responsible to the Conference. The scope of the work a committee does is determined by the Conference group conscience. The chairperson of each committee assumes the responsibility to ensure the work assigned to the committee is completed in a timely manner.
When the CoDA Service Conference is in session, the CoDA Board of Trustees is directly responsible to the Conference. When not in session, the Conference assigns its decision-making authority on material matters to the Trustees. The Board of Trustees is authorized to monitor the work of Conference-appointed service committees and may provide assistance or guidelines when necessary. The Trustees serve as the board of directors of CoDA, Inc., the non-profit corporation, are assigned custodial control of all money and property held in trust for the Fellowship, and are responsible for prudent management of its finances.
The powers of the CoDA Service Conference derive from the pre-eminent authority of the group conscience decision-making process. Arizona State law gives the Board of Trustees legal rights and responsibilities to act for the Fellowship in certain situations. CoDA, Inc.'s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws are legal documents enumerating these Board rights and responsibilities.
The Fellowship strives to practice and encourage spiritual principles in all its material, financial, and business affairs, including fairness, equality, and respect for individual rights. Every member within CoDA has a voice and is encouraged to use it. Every member has the right to know what is happening within our organization. To honor this right, and in the spirit of CoDA unity, our CoDA, Inc. organization publishes and distributes group conscience decisions, such as minutes of our service boards and motions from our CoDA Service Conferences, in the most inclusive and timely manner possible.
There are many service opportunities within CoDA Meetings
Chairperson/coordinator/facilitator: (it is suggested that this position rotates with each meeting or at time intervals, i.e., monthly or biannually)
- Takes a leadership role for the duration of the meeting itself.
- Assumes overall responsibility for meeting format.
- Invites speakers or finds a volunteer to handle speaker invitations.
- Guides the meeting according to CoDA-endorsed guidelines.
Secretary: (Suggested term of office - 6 months)
- The business representative for the group and acts as liaison to the meeting facility.
- Obtains and maintains a meeting room.
- Plans and conducts "business meetings" regularly (agenda items may include: elections,
- meeting format, procedures, etc.) and keeps records of group conscience decisions.
- Provides the community service group with the full name, address, and phone number of all
- IMPORTANT: Changes in the location, time, or day of the group meeting, or contact person
- should be updated. This may be done through a 'Changes in Group Information’ form sent to CoDA or through the CoDA web site at www.coda.org.
Group Service Representative (GSR): (Usual term 2 years)
- The link between the CoDA group and CoDA as a whole. Ideally, a GSR is an established member of the group, with experience, knowledge, and understanding of CoDA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions...
- Attends the local CoDA Intergroup or Voting Entity service meetings.
- Carries the group conscience to the local CoDA Intergroup, Voting Entity service meeting;
- and then reports to the group on the outcomes.
- Notifies the group of any local or CoDA updates, announcements, and flyers.
- Keeps accurate financial records of the group, and regularly reports to the group regarding income, expenses, and prudent reserve. (Note: A prudent reserve is determined by the group conscience of the meeting, usually two or three month’s worth of group expenses).
- Pays rent to the meeting facility for use of the meeting room.
- Disburses Seventh Tradition funds in accordance with group conscience. A suggested
- guideline is offered in the Welcome Letter from the Board of Trustees in the Starter Packet
- Puts CoDA Endorsed literature out at the meeting.
- Keeps track of group literature supplies and re-order as needed.
- Obtains funds from the group treasurer to restock literature.
- Refers newcomers and CoDA members to available CoDA literature.
Phone Contact Person:
- Makes first name and phone number available on local and CoDA meeting lists.
- Is available to receive phone calls in order to give directions to the meeting.
Content re-published with the permission of Co-Dependents Anonymous, Incorporated (www.coda.org).