What Is Refuge Recovery? A Buddhist Approach To Addiction

What Is Refuge Recovery?…Buddhism & Addiction

Refuge Recovery, the Buddhist-inspired approach to treating addiction, offers a plan to end the suffering of addiction. Traditionally, Buddhists commit to the path of awakening by taking refuge in three things: awakening (Buddha), truth (Dharma), and community (Sangha)

Yellow and Red 72x36 Landscape Campaign Banners what is refuge recovery?

The Four Noble Truths

In my humble opinion, the center and circumference of a Buddhist worldview is the Four Noble Truths.

In order to truly and effectively work this program, these truth’s must be reflected upon, absorbed, and subsequently acted upon.

What are the Four Noble Truths?

What Is Refuge Recovery?

I know what you’re thinking, “why is every spiritual solution also a numerical one?”

You have the 12-Steps and Buddhism.

Twelve there, four here, maybe another eight there.

If you are of a more Mosaic persuasion then you can tack on a ten for grace and goodwill.

But do not fret my mathematically handicapped friends – we rarely go past 12!

And despite Buddhism moving methodically in multiples of fours, luckily for us all, the numbers are completely irrelevant; actually, they only compound the suffering 🙂

Refuge Recovery: Are You Still Suffering?

When most think of Buddhism they either picture a big-bellied Chinese man with a somewhat maniacal smile or they think of discipline, gongs, and perhaps Kung Fu.

Once more, these conceptions are irrelevant.

Other folks think of the 60’s, LSD, and long-haired hippies in the full lotus position; again, irrelevant. Oh, and yes, the monks! Definitely monks. Still, irrelevant.

It’s All Irrelevant!

So what, is everything irrelevant?

Everything but the inquiring consciousness, for it is one step closer to total awareness and one skip away from enlightenment.

Indeed, the mind that produces the question above is begging for answers.

Why the irrelevancy?

Why the chronic malcontent?

Why the suffering?

Refuge Recovery Is A Process of Removal

Oddly enough, the answer manifests as a non-answer, a removal of answers, as it were.

It’s as if the only relevant concept is the irrelevance.

The process of Refuge Recovery is a method of negation; that is, removing ALL the wrong answers.

It is spiritual growth through subtraction, unlearning the various learned modes of living that are cleaved to, craved for, and cause immense suffering.

In perhaps an oversimplification, let me illustrate.

  • Dishonesty
  • Impatience
  • Intolerance

Remove “dis, im, and in” and you arrive at virtue – now expand that to include every little nuance of character and life – this is the recovery process (of course the example has limitations but the sentiment is expressed adequately).

The Eightfold Path seeks to achieve this idea automatically, they are as follows:

  1. Right Understanding
  2. Right Intent
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration
What Is Refuge Recovery?

Undoubtedly, the “right” is arrived at by simple removal of the “wrong.”

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”


Uncover, Discover, And Discard…the eightfold path in action!

So, let the Buddha diagnosis you (first three noble truths), and write the prescription (the eightfold path i.e. the fourth noble truth or what I call “Michelangelo’s pick ax”).

What Is Refuge Recovery?

Undoubtedly, it’s not all just a methodology of removal they also place an extreme importance on fellowship.

Why The Name “Refuge”

The program adopted the moniker “refuge.”


Because they offer a light burden, a place of safety, a dojo of rest, and a temple of satisfaction.

In short, a home.

Or dare I say the removal of everything that is not home.

I recommend you purchase your Refuge Recovery book at a local meeting; however, for your convenience, you can purchase it by clicking this link. Also, you can click this link to see Refuge Recovery’s official site.