Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA)
A Twelve Step self-help program for Co-Dependents

Click on a Step below to see the readings and exercises for that Step.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

Step 8

Step 9

Step 10

Step 11

Step 12

CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA) in New York City

This web site has been provided by NYC CoDA Intergroup

Working the 12 Steps of CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA)

© 2005 NYC CoDA Intergroup. All rights reserved.

The CoDA 12 Steps and 12 Promises are © Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc.

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions have been reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt this material does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the content of this publication, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only – use of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after AA, but which address other problems, does not imply otherwise.

Step 1

Co-Dependents Anonymous Step 1:
“We admitted we were powerless over others – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Co-Dependents Anonymous Promise 1:
“I know a new sense of belonging. The feelings of emptiness and loneliness will disappear.”

Suggested Reading
CoDA Blue Book pp. 26-31; Newcomers may also want to read Chapters 1 & 2.
12 Step Handbook: Step 1 Chapter, pages 7-9.
“CoDA 12 Steps & 12 Traditions Workbook – Steps 1,2,3” : Step 1 is pages 10-11.


To work the 1st Step, it can be helpful to write. This allows you to get into the feelings and specifics and not just rush through the Step. A time limit can help keep the task manageable; it is a way to set a boundary and feel safe rather than overwhelmed. You may say to yourself, “I will write for 15 minutes tonight.” Set a timer and let yourself stop when it goes off. Consider “book-ending” with your exercises. Book-ending means telling someone, or your meeting, that you plan to do something, then telling them afterwards that you did it. It can help you show up for yourself.

1. Write freely on the 1st Step for a set period of time. What does the 1st Step mean to you? Don’t edit or over-analyze. Just write.

2. Review the questions in the CoDA Book (the thick blue book) on pages 28-29. Answer these questions in writing. Consider a time limit if that helps you.

3. As suggested on page 30 of the CoDA Book, list the losses you’ve experienced in your childhood and adult life. Just list them simply on the page. Then read them aloud, slowly to yourself. If you’d like, write about your feelings.

4. Review the questions in the Workbook (Steps 1,2,3), page 11. Answer any question that speaks to you.

5. Make a list of 10 people you’ve tried to control. Put a brief example or two next to each one. For example, “Joey – I try to make him dress better and read better books.”

6. Make a list of people who you let control you. Again, give an example or two next to each one. For example, “Bill – I go anywhere he wants to go and see movies he wants me to see even when I’m not interested in them.”

7. How is your life unmanageable?

8. Write the phrase, “I am powerless over others.” Read it aloud, slowly, ten times. How does that feel?

9. Using your list from #5 above, substitute people you’ve tried to control in the following sentence: “I am powerless over ______.” Write out each one. (“I am powerless over my mother. I am powerless over Joey….”) How do you feel? Angry? Sad? Something else?

10. List all the ways you try to control in your life.

11. Who do you want or “need” to “figure out”? Why? Will figuring someone out give you power? Will the power last? What is your experience?

12. Review the characteristics of codependence (CoDA book pages 4-6). Write out any pattern you feel applies to you. For example, write: “I have difficulty identifying feelings.” What do you feel as you write these statements?

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For more CoDA info, go to or call 646-289-9954

For more information on the program of CoDependents Anonymous, visit the CoDA World Fellowship web site at