Addiction Resources in Colorado
There are many options for recovery and addiction resources throughout Colorado, such as 12-step meetings and treatment centers for addicts and alcoholics. Meetings for family members and friends of addicts and alcoholics are also available through Al-Anon, Alateen, Adult Children of Alcoholics, and Nar-Anon. We compiled this extensive guide with the aim to give you some insight into the resources available for you if you or a loved one are trying to get sober or find support.
12-Step Programs for Addicts and Alcoholics in the Colorado Area
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Alcoholics Anonymous is the original 12-step program founded in 1935. The preamble of Alcoholics Anonymous states, "Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking."
The program of Alcoholics Anonymous is outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, referred to commonly as the "Big Book". The 12 steps of the program and the 12 traditions of the fellowship are explained thoroughly in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions.
You can find a PDF copy of the Big Book here.
You can find a PDF copy of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions here.
AA meetings are available around the world and, in many places, held multiple times per week. Some towns and larger cities even have daily meetings. The schedule of AA meetings in Colorado depends on your location. We've listed the meeting directory for each region.
AA Meetings in Colorado by Region
- Denver (303) 322-4440 (24 hours)
- Boulder (303) 447-8201 (24 hours)
- Northern Colorado/Ft. Collins Estes Park: (970) 586-2471 / Other Areas: (970) 224-3552
- Colorado Springs (719) 573-5020
- Southern Colorado/Pueblo (719) 546-1173
- Western Colorado/Grand Junction (970) 245-9649
- Spanish-Speaking Meetings (303) 433-2080
Many varieties of meetings are available and are denoted in the meeting directories. The two distinct types of AA meetings in Colorado (and anywhere else AA is located) are open and closed meetings.
- Open Meetings: Open to anyone who is interested in AA and its program of recovery. Non-alcoholics are able to attend and observe.
- Closed Meetings: Closed meetings are for AA members only, including those who have a "desire to stop drinking".
If you want to bring a friend or family member with you to an AA meeting, be sure to bring them to an open meeting.
Different types of both open and closed meetings are available, including:
- Women's meeting: Meetings open to women only.
- Men's meeting: Meetings open to men only.
- Gay meeting: Meetings to provide a safe place for members of the LGBTQ community.
- Discussion meeting: An open discussion where individuals share either openly or on a selected topic.
- Big Book Study: A portion of the Big Book is read and the discussion pertains to the section.
- Step Study: One of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous will be read and the discussion will be about the step that was read.
- Tradition Study: One of the 12 Traditions will be read and the discussion will revolve around the tradition that was read.
- Speaker meeting: A member of AA with some period of time sober will share their story, referred to as their "experience, strength, and hope".
- Beginner meeting: A meeting generally led by more experienced members where individuals new to the program ("newcomers") can learn the tools offered by AA.
- Childcare: A meeting where either children are allowed into the meeting or childcare is available to parents in order for them to attend uninterrupted.
The AA directories linked above will have information regarding which types of meetings are held in your area. You can also call the phone numbers listed to reach the Central Office of that region where a volunteer can provide further assistance.
All phone lines are available 24/7. If no one answers, leave a voicemail or call the number for a nearby region.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Narcotics Anonymous was founded in 1953 and modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. The White Booklet, a pamphlet introduction to Narcotics Anonymous, states, "NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only one requirement for membership, the desire to stop using."
NA operates out of the book Narcotics Anonymous, commonly referred to as the Basic Text, which is the cornerstone piece literature and outlines the program of Narcotics Anonymous. It Works: How & Why lays out the 12 steps and 12 traditions of NA, which are modeled after the 12 steps and 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. The third piece of essential literature is the White Booklet, containing the program essentials such as the Serenity Prayer and selections from the Basic Text and It Works: How & Why.
Almost 67,000 NA meetings are held weekly throughout 193 countries. There are meetings spread throughout Colorado in each of the state's major areas. Links to NA meetings in Colorado are listed below by region.
NA Meetings in Colorado by Region
- Boulder (303) 412-2884
- Central Mountains (800) 912-4597 or (970) 306-6535
- Colorado Springs (719) 637-1580
- Denver (303) 832-3784
- Northeast Colorado (970) 458-5081
- Northern Front Range (970) 282-8079
- Southern Front Range to Eastern Border (719) 569-5955
- Utes Pass Area (no phone number listed)
- Western Slope (970) 201-1133
NA meetings in Colorado are offered in both open and closed formats.
- Open Meetings: Open to anyone with an interest in the program of Narcotics Anonymous.
- Closed Meetings: Closed meetings are offered only to members of Narcotics Anonymous or those with a desire to stop using.
If you plan to bring a friend or a family member with you, check the meeting directory to ensure you attend an open meeting.
NA meetings in Colorado are available in several different formats, denoted next to the meeting's name in the directory. Some of the meeting types are:
- Women's meeting: A meeting open only to women.
- Men's meeting: A meeting open only to men.
- Basic Text Study: A portion of the Basic Text is read and then discussed.
- It Works: How & Why Study: A section of It Works: How & Why is read and then the discussion pertains to the section.
- Speaker meeting: A member of NA with some amount of time shares their story of how they came to get clean through the program.
- Gay meeting: A meeting for members of the LGBTQ community.
Other 12-Step Programs in Colorado
There are many other 12-step programs in Colorado, each based off of the 12 Steps of AA. Links to the meeting directories for each program are as follows. Meetings for each of these programs tend to be more sparse compared to the wide availability of AA and NA meetings.
If there are no meetings near you for the specific program you're looking for, there are many online meetings and forums available for support. Though not the same as face-to-face meetings, they provide a community of likeminded individuals aiming for the same sobriety as you are.
- Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
- Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)
- Heroin Anonymous (HA)
- Marijuana Anonymous (MA)
- Pills Anonymous (PA)
12-Step Programs for Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics
Not only are there programs like AA and NA for alcoholics and addicts, but programs exist to support their loved ones during the difficult times they live with when loving someone who is substance dependent. The loved ones of addicts and alcoholics have their own struggles that pile up after years of lies and broken promises that they must get through if they want to live a happy life. This is where programs such as Al-Anon and Alateen in Colorado prove to be beneficial.
Al-Anon Family Groups in Colorado & Alateen in Colorado
Al-Anon Family Groups is a program dedicated to assisting those who are affected by the behavior and actions of an alcoholic loved one, founded in 1951 by Anne B. and Lois W., wife of AA founder Bill W. Alateen is a subset of Al-Anon, geared specifically for the children of alcoholics. According to a 2006 survey of Alateen members, the average age of attendants is 14.
(If you're a teenager wondering if Alateen will be helpful for you, this survey may be of use.)
As stated in the Al-Anon preamble, "The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems … Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics." The program has its own set of the 12 Steps modeled after those practiced in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Al-Anon also has its own books which outline their program and provide meditations for daily living with either an active or a sober alcoholic: One Day at a Time in Al-Anon and Courage to Change. A more recently published book that is often share with newcomers to Al-Anon is How Al-Anon Works: For Families & Friends of Alcoholics. Additionally, Alateen: Hope for Children of Alcoholics is a book written specifically for the children of alcoholics. It explains alcoholism and the Al-Anon program in an adolescent-friendly manner.
Online PDF's of the book are difficult to locate but the literature is available in Al-Anon's online store as well as at face-to-face meetings.
Al-Anon Meetings in Colorado
There are over 300 weekly Al-Anon meetings in Colorado. They are not split up by location to easily reference them here, so it will be quicker for you to search for a meeting near your city in their online Al-Anon meetings in Colorado directory.
There are various types of Al-Anon meetings in Colorado available. Some of them are:
- Women's meeting: A meeting open to women only.
- Men's meeting: A meeting open to men only.
- Parents' meeting: A meeting for parents who live with an alcoholic child.
- Beginners' meeting: A meeting for those new to Al-Anon, usually led by experienced members of the program, meant to teach and encourage newcomers.
- Literature Study: A portion from one of the Al-Anon literature books is read and then there is a discussion about the section read.
- Step Study: One of the 12 Steps of Al-Anon is read and then a discussion regarding that step takes place for the remainder of the meeting.
Alateen Meetings in Colorado
There are fewer Alateen meetings in Colorado than Al-Anon meetings. You can find a list of Alateen meetings in Colorado here.
As of this writing, the only available segmented Alateen meeting in Colorado is a Beginner's meeting in Delta, aimed to help newcomers to Alateen learn about the program. Keep an eye on the online directory in case a new meeting with specifications for attendance is started.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Colorado
For some addicts and alcoholics, drug and alcohol treatment in Colorado is the best option. There are a few different types of offerings for drug and alcohol treatment in Colorado.
- Drug and Alcohol Detox: Often considered the "first step" of treatment, drug and alcohol detox in Colorado provides a medically supervised and usually medication-assisted way to separate from mind-altering substances. Lasting anywhere from 1 to 10 days, detox manages the withdrawal symptoms experienced when first getting sober. Withdrawals have the potential to be dangerous when handled alone. Detox is a safe and secure environment in which to manage them under medical supervision.
- Inpatient Rehabilitation: Inpatient rehabilitation usually follows drug and alcohol detox. Inpatient rehabilitation in Colorado is generally a month-long stay (detox included) in a recovery-intensive hospital environment. Addicts and alcoholics receive necessary medical care in addition to psychiatric evaluations and individual and group counseling sessions. Some programs are based on the 12-steps while others are strictly medically-based.
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): Partial hospitalization programs in Colorado provide inpatient care during the day, such as medical treatment, individual, and group therapy sessions. In the evenings, individuals in the program are taken back to a residential facility, usually a sober living. These programs are considered a combination of inpatient and outpatient treatment.
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Intensive outpatient programs are a great option for individuals unable to attend long-term, day-intensive treatment due to school or work. Intensive outpatient programs in Colorado offer sessions at different times which teach various methods to achieve sobriety such as coping skills and trigger avoidance and management.
- Drug and Alcohol Counseling: Drug and alcohol counseling in Colorado takes place mostly in one-on-one sessions with a certified drug and alcohol counselor or therapist. These professionals are trained to work with addicts and alcoholics in recovery and teach appropriate coping skills and behavioral patterns necessary to achieve long-term sobriety.
- Residential Treatment/Sober Living: Residential treatment, commonly referred to as sober living, is a long-term living environment for individuals working on their recovery. Sober living in Colorado offers a sober environment in which to stay away from substances while in your first year of sobriety. During your stay in sober living in Colorado, you'll learn to coexist in a house with other individuals while under 24-hour supervision. Usually, sober livings provide residents with transportation to local 12-step meetings.
Colorado University Resources
Some universities, such as University of Colorado Boulder, offer drug and alcohol resources and support for their students and the surrounding community. As the awareness surrounding the addiction epidemic increases, universities are responding accordingly by providing sober spaces for students to congregate.
The CU Collegiate Recovery Center is one such place where the sober community on campus can gather and support one another. CUCRC holds groups each week through the center as well as hosting community Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. They also offer the CU Sober Social Club, a student group which encourages sober socialization through Friday Social events and sober tailgate parties at school games.
Colorado's Community Resources
Colorado Department of Behavioral Health
The Colorado Department of Behavioral Health manages substance abuse and mental health cases throughout the state. Their website has a list of licensed treatment centers in Colorado who provide care on a sliding-scale basis, depending on the financial capabilities of the individual. Though the state does not have the financial ability to provide fully-funded, free treatment, the sliding-scale model enables addicts and alcoholics to receive the help they need.
Alcohol & Drug Emergency Commitment
The Colorado Department of Human Services enables the emergency commitment of a person who will be detained in a licensed drug and alcohol detoxification for up to five days. The Alcohol & Drug Emergency Commitment allows an adult over the age of 18 to submit an application to a licensed detoxification program requesting the emergency commitment of a person who is:
- Under the influence
- A danger to themselves
- A danger to others in need of a detoxification program.
If approved by the detoxification program, the individual under the influence can be held for up to 5 days. It is not considered an involuntary hold as the individual may be voluntarily transferred to another treatment center.