This is one of the first blog entries from our members and Annette has worked hard to write this wonderful post on finding our voice in our recovery and stepping into the role of offering service, which our steps as us to do in Step 12. I hope you enjoy her entry and we hope you will see that you too can contribute to our group by writing up something you would like to share, referencing our CoDA material in your submission. Please email me for details or simply email your submission to: email@example.com. Thank You Annette for your Service to our group and to our CoDA Community.
Referencing Carrying the Message brochure, Codependence Anonymous (The Sunshine Book), and Guide to Sharing and Crosstalk.
On the first page of Carrying the Message brochure, right there on page one, is the quote I grew up hearing like a mantra. Drilled into the very core of my being. “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done right.” Some additional follow ups were; “Everyone will be disappointed.”, and “We will lose everything!”, followed by complaining, criticism, resentment and blame when things did not go “as planned.” It was a lesson I learned well, and I am now unlearning. Because these words have been rattling around in my brain my whole life, it has been a real challenge to step forward into CoDA service.
When I began attending meetings, I heard over and over, the Steps, Traditions, Promises, and every week heard the part in Step 12 about carrying the message. I may have been quiet at the meetings, but I WAS listening and reading everything that was available. I was desperate for relief from my intense anxiety at the time and the CoDA program seemed to offer hope.
I was relieved when I read on page 89 of the Sunshine book, where it shows that LISTENING is a way to offer service. I knew I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone after the meeting, so I always left as soon that closing prayer was said. But then, I got a little braver and I added to my service, I helped put away chairs after the meeting. I could help with out talking to anyone. The group I attend also encouraged folks to lead a meeting after they had been attending regularly for six weeks, and after about two months, there was not an assigned leader, and I offered on the spur of the moment. I had noticed that the meeting was conducted following an extremely specific script and was very disciplined about the start and stop times. I felt I could read the pages in the guide and check the clock. I also asked a friendly “old timer” to sit next to me to help if I got stuck. I was petrified! But, I saw dignity and respect in those meetings and the idea of Crosstalk, which was so new to me, was so enlightening. I felt safe. I was also beginning to understand my codependency and read enough to know this was important in my recovery. I was desperate to begin that journey. I had already started!
The Promises are always my favorite part of the meeting, I cannot hear them enough. What a free, happy, and healthy life they offer. I also know they won’t come to me if I am sitting on the sidelines waiting. I need to get in there, share my struggles. I need to grow by reading, doing and practicing what I am learning.
In the Carrying the Message brochure on page 3, a question is posed.
“Am I avoiding service because I think I have to do it perfectly?"