CoDA: The Paradox Within World Service

From: "CoDA Announcements" <>
Subject: CoDA: The Paradox Within World Service
Date: November 5th 2018


CoDA as we know it could not last without CoDA World Service. It is World Service that maintains a worldwide meeting finder, develops and maintains CoDA literature, protects the CoDA name and materials from rogue use, organizes translations and assembles delegates from all over the US and world for the annual CoDA Service Conference.

So far, so good, only…...“CoDA, as such, ought never be organized,” we read in Tradition #9, “but may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.” From that second clause comes World Service. An early step was the Fellowship creating Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc., an Arizona corporation to provide the legal structure essential to doing business.

CoDA needs those business services, but also the many hundreds of hours World Service volunteers give freely to the Fellowship. There are many unclear boundaries between actions by and for the Corporation and those relating to the Fellowship. Corporations govern from the top down, under a legally mandated Board of Directors. Leaders of the CoDA Fellowship, in contrast, “do not govern” in the words of Tradition #2. The Fellowship is ruled by local meetings making their wishes known at the CoDA Service Conference.

We have never resolved that paradox so World Service volunteers have struggled with uncertainty and even conflict. To address this, the 2018 CoDA Service Conference approved a motion to convene an ad hoc committee to explore and examine basic organizational questions, possibly offering proposals to the 2019 Conference. This temporary committee is open to CoDA members with an interest in these issues, especially, but not exclusively, past or present World Service volunteers. If you have such an interest, let us know by writing to

CoDA Communications Committee

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