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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. The first CoDA meeting attended by 30 people was held October 22, 1986 in Phoenix, Arizona. Within four weeks there were 100 people and before the year was up there were 120 groups. CoDA held its first National Service Conference the next year with 29 representatives from seven states.  CoDA has stabilized at about a thousand meetings in the US, and with meetings active in 60 other countries and several online.

CoDA itself avoids rigidly defining codependence, and the understanding of codependence with CoDA continues to adapt over time. In 1991 Charles Whitfield published a 38-item Likert-type checklist based on the 1989 version of the CoDA pamphlet, “What is Co-Dependency?” known as the Co-Dependents Anonymous Checklist. Later research found scores from people completing the Co-Dependents Anonymous Checklist and the Spann-Fischer Codependency Scale were strongly correlated. The checklist cited by Whitfield has subsequently developed into The Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence. At the 2010 CoDA Service Conference (CSC), this list went from 22 items in four Patterns termed Denial, Low Self-Esteem, Compliance and Control, to 55 items divided into the same groups with the addition of Avoidance Patterns. Here are examples of each of the Patterns: . “I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling… I judge what I think, say or do harshly, as never good enough… I put aside my own interests in order to do what others want… I freely offer advice and direction to others without being asked… I use indirect or evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.”