Co-Dependents Anonymous

Co-Dependents Anonymous

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Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) is a twelve-step program for people who share a common desire to develop functional and healthy relationships.[1][2] CoDA was founded in 1986 in Phoenix, Arizona. CoDA is active in more than 40 countries, with approximately 1200 groups active in the United States.[citation needed]

Codependence is described as a disease that originates in dysfunctional families where children learn to overcompensate for their parent's disorders and develop an excessive sensitivity to other's needs. The term "dysfunctional family" originally referred only to families with patterns of interaction associated with alcoholism. However, it is now recognized as a disease occurring in family systems based on "denial" or "shame-based rules." This includes a wide-spectrum of pathological emotional interactions in families, but there is always an avoidance of confrontation and inability to resolve conflict. This is sometimes described in terms like "enmeshment" or "blurred ego boundaries." Adult children of dysfunctional families suffer from a sense of confusion and deprivation that has continued into their adult life — a feeling of "not knowing what normal is" — and has become an anguished desire to recover something that was emotionally missing in their upbringing. Co-Dependents Anonymous was formed to help individuals who grew up in dysfunctional families and not just those involving alcoholism or substance abuse.[3]

Codependence can be defined as a "process addiction" — an addiction to certain mood-altering behaviors, other such examples being: eating disorders, gambling, sexual activity, overwork, and shopping. Process addiction can be seen as a unifying principle, providing those in CoDA with a language to describe their disease.[1] There is evidence that similar addictive processes can cause a variety of addictive behaviors, and codependence has been suggested as an underlying disease pervasive in all forms of addiction.[4]

CoDA created a 38-item Likert-type instrument ("checklist") allowing one to evaluate how codependent they are. The possible score range from 38 to 190, with higher scores representing greater codependence.[5] The results of this assessment have been found to be strongly related to those of the Spann-Fisher Codependency scale and other such tests to measure codependence.[6]

CoDA has one main book approved to be used as standard literature in the organization, titled Co-Dependents Anonymous.[7] In addition, there are two more CoDA-endorsed books including a workbook and a book of daily meditations. More books are forthcoming.


See Also



  1. ^ a b Rice, John Steadman (1996). A Disease of One's Own: Psychotherapy, Addiction, and the Emergence of Co-Dependency. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0765804549. OCLC 33009336. 
  2. ^ Co-Dependents Anonymous (2007-08-08). "The Preamble of Co-Dependents Anonymous" (PDF). Retrieved on 2007-10-27.
  3. ^ Haaken, Janice (1993). "From Al-Anon to ACOA: Codependence and the Reconstruction of Caregiving". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 18: 321-345. ISSN 0097-9740. 
  4. ^ Loughead, Teri A. (October 1991). "Addictions as a process: Commonalties or codependence". Contemporary Family Therapy 13 (5). doi:10.1007/BF00890498. ISSN 0892-2764. 
  5. ^ Charles L. Whitfield (September 1991). Co-dependence: Healing the human condition. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications, Inc. ISBN 155874150X. OCLC 23180004. 
  6. ^ Lindley, Natasha R.; Giordano, Peter J.; Hammer, Elliott D. (1999). "Codependency: Predictors and psychometric issues". Journal of Clinical Psychology 55 (1): 59-64. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4679(199901)55:1%3C59::AID-JCLP5%3E3.0.CO;2-M. PMID 10100831. 
  7. ^ Co-Dependents Anonymous (1995). Co-Dependents Anonymous, 1st edition, Phoenix, Arizona: Co-Dependents Anonymous. ISBN 0964710501. OCLC 34202694.

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