Codependency groups are one of the best ways to overcome your codependent relational styles.
The support you find by being in relationship with other people who are trying to improve themselves give you a greater chance at being successful in your recovery.
What To Look For In A Group
Non-Judgmental—Being non-judgmental is what makes most codependency groups work. The unconditional acceptance is essential to overcoming codependency since the fear of being bad or wrong is so strong for most codependents.
Confidentiality—”What happens in group, stays in group.” Knowing that your story will not be spread without your permission makes it possible for you to start being honest with other people and letting them see the not-so-perfect sides of your life.
Support—As a codependent person, you’ve gotten use to doing life on your own. You hesitancy to ask for help has made getting better almost impossible. In a codependency group you’ll find a place to practice asking for help without feeling like a burden or an inconvenience.
Education—Learning about codependency is another essential element in good codependency groups. Helping you understand why you are the way you are and what can be done about it shows you that you aren’t broken beyond repair.
Connection—Since codependency is a dysfunctional relational style, learning how to relate and become connected to people getting healthy makes this one of the best parts of any codependency group. Being seen while offering yourself to others in a healthy way will show you what true friendship can be like.
Codependency Groups take a variety of forms.
12 Step Models
CoDA is the standard for 12 step codependency groups. They are a national organization with multiple meetings available in most major cities. Their website has tons of information and resources that will help you get plugged in.
Our favorite saying from CoDA is, “We have all learned how to SURVIVE life, but in CoDA we are learning to LIVE life.”
Faith Based Models
Celebrate Recovery is a Christian, faith-based recovery program that has multiple programs for multiple issues and addictions. Not all meeting at Celebrate Recovery have a codependency specific group, but the large group meetings can give you an excellent foundation that will help you start dealing with your codependent issues.
Some local churches and synagogues may have codependency specific groups, but you’ll have to do some digging and searching since many of these meetings are not publicly advertised.
Online Support Groups
More and more support groups are popping up on the Internet. Many of them deal with codependency and relational issues. You can find good information and conversations in these forums, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
First, the Internet is anonymous. You don’t actually know who you’re talking to and so we consider it unwise to offer any type of personal identifying information in these forums. Always always always be safe than sorry.
Second, codependency is by nature a relational dysfunction. You get better by being in relationship with real live human beings face-to-face. Seeing their body language and building relationships is essential to learning how to relate better. We believe it is unreasonable to try and connect with someone online who may be on a different continent where the chances of ever meeting are much less. (Yes. We know it can happen, but realistically, it’s not as probable)
Third, the Internet has a way of creating false intimacy. You think you know someone by the things they say, but relationships are much more complex than that. A face-to-face group is usually moderated by a trained person who can keep things at an appropriate level and maintain the emotional safety of the group members. Online forums have less moderation and can result in actually increasing your codependent behaviors instead of reducing them.
Whatever group type you decide to use, do your homework. It’s okay to try out several groups until you find the one that’s right for you. Be honest with yourself and be open to experiencing new and exciting experiences. Once you do, you’ll find out just how good life can be.