Denver AA Meetings

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous (hereafter referred to as AA) is a global, multiracial, apolitical, and non-professional program that exists to help persons struggling with alcoholism that wish to break free of the hold that alcohol has on their lives. AA is predicated on the concept of former alcoholics acting as mentors and support to persons currently caught up in the throes of alcohol addiction but wanting to dismantle its control. This peer-to-peer interaction and support is intrinsic to the process and has had substantial success in helping people throughout the world.

A Primer On 12-Step Programs

The concept of the 12-step program is critical to how AA works to transform the lives of persons struggling with alcohol addiction. Each step flows directly into the next, building upon the work of healing that happened prior. The 12-step program centered around acknowledging each addict’s inherent humanity, accountability, and the development of a sense of responsibility. Oftentimes, much of what drives addiction is trauma and an attempt by the user to escape feelings of hurt and shame. The program focuses on addressing these realities to begin the process of acceptance and healing. Below, we will look at some summaries of what the 12 steps involve:

A Primer On 12-Step Programs

Step 1: Honesty

This involves an admittance of one’s powerlessness to the addiction. This can be difficult; many persons struggling with addiction find it impossible to acknowledge that it is a problem and one that they aren’t strong enough on their own to overcome. Surrender to this fundamental truth; accepting the hold alcohol has over every aspect of their life is critical. This honesty with one’s self is critical.

Step 2: Hope

The following step centers around finding faith. Belief in a higher power is critical. This can look like different things to everyone, but the focus here is on the idea that even in suffering setbacks, the addict is capable of redemption by a force greater than themselves.

Step 3: Surrender

Up till now, the addict is focused on stripping themselves of ego and a sense of power. There is the cultivation of faith in a force greater than oneself. Step 3 is all about surrendering to that power and the notion of moving forward for that higher power and not the selfishness of addiction.

Step 4: Courage

This step involves the taking of a “fearless moral inventory.” This takes a great deal of bravery. This step focuses on acknowledging the things they carry guilt about. Being honest about these things, both with the higher power and themselves, can allow the process of living to truly begin anew.

Step 5: Integrity

While step 4 involves taking moral inventory and keeping it between the higher power and themself, step 5 expands on this with the addict sharing this moral inventory with someone else. The integrity involved in being able to live honestly with these parts of their past that breed guilt and shame is a critical aspect of strengthening one’s character against addiction.

Step 6: Willingness

At this step, the addict has to be ready to be absolved of the sins and move past them. This means they must be prepared to be released from the guilt and shame by the higher power.

Step 7: Humility

By step 6, the addict will have gone through many stages of acknowledgment of the addiction and their actions. They are ready to be released from the guilt and shame. Step 7 involves humbling oneself enough to earnestly ask that the higher power grant absolution from the sins of the past. Humility is an essential characteristic for the addict to cultivate because it allows the conscious realization that they are individually a tiny part of the bigger picture.

Step 8: Love

In step 8, the addict makes a comprehensive list of all those they have wronged and starts working towards being ready and willing to make amends. The principle of love that is carefully cultivated through each step of the process must not just be extended to oneself but also to those close to them.

Step 9: Responsibility

By step 9, much work has been done to reach a point of forgiveness of self for the past. Step 9 is about taking immediate steps towards making amends and taking responsibility for the hurt they have caused to other people. The principle cultivated here is simple: Honesty, accountability, and making amends are vital qualities to remain close to those who hurt.

Step 10: Discipline

In step 10, the quality developed is a habit of ongoing personal accountability. The moral inventory crafted back in step 4 is a habit that must be ongoing. Being disciplined enough to account for one’s actions and admit wrongdoing or hurtful choices immediately takes cultivated discipline.

Step 11: Awareness

In this step, the addict must work to move forward without losing awareness or the relationship with the higher power. Via prayer, meditation, or any number of methods of communing, the understanding and cultivation of the ongoing relationship is key to sobriety.

Step 12: Service

The final step. Having gone through a spiritual awakening and process of healing over the past 11 steps, this step focuses on the idea of “paying it forward.” The awareness of how they have been helped and living to help others, the kindness and compassion required, once cultivated, work to keep the now-former addict lives with a sense of purpose, awareness, and humanity that continues to aid in their sobriety.

What are the Types Of AA Meetings In Denver?

Denver AA Meetings

There are multiple types of meetings associated with AA happening in Denver. The first significant way they can be broken down is into open or closed sessions. Open meetings generally are available to just about anyone, even persons not struggling with addiction. Closed meetings typically only allow former and currently struggling persons to attend. You can have “in-person” or virtual (online and telephone) meetings of these two general broad meeting types.

Four other meeting types generally occur within the AA organization. They are:

  • Discussion

These meetings typically feature some topic pre-selected for discussion. One member acts as the “chair” of sorts. These meetings can be open or closed and are a forum for exploration.

  • Speaker

These meetings typically feature a former addict sharing their experience. This would include what addiction was like for them, how and why they decided to get help, what that experience was like and what life looks like for them now.

  • Beginners

This type of meeting is usually chaired by a member who has been sober for some time and is designed to be a comfortable, receptive, and open environment for an addict new to the program and seeking support.

  • 12 steps/Traditional

As the Twelve Steps are a foundation for personal recovery in AA, many groups (and specific meeting types such as the ‘Big Book Study’ format in particular) often devote meetings each week to studying the Steps in rotation; some even discuss two or three steps at a time.

Finding Denver AA Meetings

AA is not a government-run or organized support group. As such, many micro-communities and groups exist to offer assistance to persons struggling with addiction to alcohol. Maybe you’re not struggling specifically with alcohol addiction and are looking for Narcotics Anonymous (NA hereafter) meetings.

No matter what it is explicitly that you’re looking for, the easiest way to uncover available options is still the internet. Some choice google searches are “NA in Denver and other 12-step offerings” and “Finding AA near me outside Denver in Colorado.” Two things are true; firstly, many people struggle and look for support. Secondly, there are a lot of meetings and groups happening. If you’re seeking help, you can find it.

What are Alternatives To AA In the Denver Area?

What are Alternatives To AA In the Denver Area

One of the most significant barriers to entry with AA seems to be the religious factor. The key to it is the belief in and relationship with a higher power. For many persons seeking support, that component can chafe and presents a very real barrier to them attending meetings and benefitting from the many advantages a supportive community offers.

To that end, several alternatives exist to the AA program for struggling persons seeking support:

  • SMART Recovery

The SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training hereafter) program utilizes cognitive-behavioral therapy to help patients address fundamental internal issues that have led to the addiction in the first place. As opposed to a 12 step program, this focuses on four core ideas:

  • Building and maintaining motivation
  • Coping with urges
  • Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Leading a balanced life


  • LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery is a reasonably new support system construct for persons struggling with substance abuse. Also, using cognitive-behavioral therapy, this approach focuses on accepting all, regardless of religious affiliation. Faith is NOT part of the central approach with the support system focused on “the three c’s” – sobriety, secularity, and self-help.

When An AA Meeting Isn’t Enough

It is essential to make sure and put AA into context. Understanding what it is, its function and purpose, and at which point in a person’s journey it can be helpful is critical to its success. AA is NOT a treatment plan for a person deep in the throes of addiction. It is a support group. It can help someone whose addiction has not profoundly taken root in every area of their life. It cannot act as a replacement for a targeted, professional, medically based treatment plan for getting someone through the initial stages of withdrawal and overcoming addiction.

Finding Top Alcohol Addiction Treatment In Colorado

Many fine facilities throughout Colorado offer full-service, comprehensive and compassionate treatment for those struggling to overcome alcohol addiction. Again, the internet is your friend for finding these resources. It can be helpful to look for reviews, and people’s actual experiences with the facilities, to help figure out which might be the best fit.

Find Lasting Recovery From Alcoholism at Pathfinder’s

At Pathfinder’s Recovery Center, we have over two decades of experience treating and rehabilitating persons struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Our expert medical team works with you to help you navigate the entire process of detoxing from alcohol through to healing from the psychological trauma that leads to AUD in the first place. A truly sober life is the ultimate goal for every client that comes to us for help, and our results speak for themselves. If you or someone you know is struggling with AUD, please know that there is hope. Contact us today for more information.