What is Refuge Recovery? The Buddhist Approach to Treating Addiction

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While some may benefit from 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, these traditional programs stem from a focus on an external higher power. This can alienate some individuals who don’t connect through this form of spirituality. However, there are those who may benefit from Refuge Recovery, an alternate approach to recovery from addiction. If you’re wondering what is Refuge Recovery, you’re not the only one.

Refuge Recovery is a systematic program based on Buddhist principles, integrating scientific, non-theistic, and psychological insight. The program does not ask anyone to believe anything, but to only trust the process and do the work of recovery. Buddhist teacher and founder of Refuge Recovery, Noah Levine created an understanding that “all individuals have the power and potential to free themselves from the suffering that is caused by addiction.” The process can cultivate a path of awakening, and the path of recovering from addictions that created suffering in many lives.

The Spiritual Principles Of Refuge Recovery

The core inspiration and philosophical values from Refuge Recovery are driven by the teachings of Siddhartha (Sid) Gautama, a man living in India twenty-five hundred years ago. Sid was a radical psychologist as well as a spiritual revolutionary. Through his own efforts and practices, Sid understood why human beings experience and cause so much suffering. Sid referred to the root cause of suffering as an “uncontrollable thirst or repetitive craving.” This can be referred to as the same thirst of the alcoholic or the same craving as the addict.

In the Refuge Recovery program, addictions are viewed as cravings in the body and mind. While using meditation, it can create awareness to alleviate those cravings and ease an individual’s suffering. This can be done through the adaption of the 4 Noble Truths, which state:

  • Addiction creates suffering
  • The cause of addiction is repetitive craving
  • Recovery is possible
  • The path to recovery is available

Refuge Recovery additionally practices an eight-fold path to recovery. By using meditation, it allows an individual to look at the internal habits and thoughts of one’s own mind. Refuge is taken in the fact that nobody can recover for you, however, you have the power to do so yourself. The program believes that recovery begins when abstinence happens.

The Eight-Fold Path Is as Follows:

  1. Understanding: Recovery begins when abstinence happens. We acknowledge the reality of our situation and come to the understanding that one cannot recover alone.
  2. Intention: We begin to meet all pain with compassion and pleasure and begin to move towards a lifestyle rooted in non-harming.
  3. Communication: Refuge is taken in the community as a place to practice communication and support others.
  4. Action: Abstinence is taken from all substances and behaviors that can lead to suffering. Forgiveness and compassion are practiced.
  5. Livelihood: Looking at a relationship to money, we secure a source of livelihood that causes no harm and becomes of service to others when possible.
  6. Effort: We commit ourselves to the daily disciplined practices of meditation, yoga, exercise, wise actions, kindness, etc.
  7. Meditation: Wisdom and understanding are developed through formal mindfulness meditation.
  8. Concentration: The mind has become developed to focus it’s capacity on a single object, practicing compassion and forgiveness at times of temptation or craving.

At Restore Health and Wellness Center, we take all of our clients on weekly Refuge Recovery meetings as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Our mix of traditional and alternative methods of treatment ensures that each individual is given the best chance at succeeding in his/her personal recovery. Explore this Buddhist approach to addiction treatment as you heal your mind, body, and spirit during your stay in our luxurious facilities. Visit our addiction treatment center in Thousand Oaks at 6918 Owensmouth Ave Canoga Park, CA 91303. 24/7 Admissions (818) 722-9019. On-Site Contact (818) 806-3914.

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