Refuge Recovery is a path to freedom from addiction inspired by Buddhist practices and beliefs. The process comes from Noah Levine, author and Buddhist practitioner who has written several other books about the subject. Practices learned in Refuge Recovery can provide a systematic approach for addiction treatment and a non-theistic approach to recovery that many find helpful. Refuge Recovery provides a systematic approach for addiction treatment and is composed of four central tenants, or Noble Truths, as well as an eightfold path to recovery. The four noble truths are as follows:
The process begins with acknowledging that addiction creates suffering. What begins is as an attempt to create happiness or escape from sadness that almost always ends in confusion and suffering. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, money, food, whatever… all leads downward because we are continually trying to address a sickness with the wrong medicine. Gradually, addiction results in becoming a numbed shell of a human being.
The third truth and the most important is that you are not lost. Recovery is always possible, no matter how deep in addiction you are. Addiction causes us to build walls between ourselves and the world, and to suppress our feelings. Once you accept that even some of those most affected by addiction have been able to recover successfully, you can take the first step towards healing yourself.
The second truth is that addiction is any form of a repetitive craving that you feel on an emotional and physical level. Suffering from constant craving is never having enough to feel satisfied. We human beings tend to gravitate toward whatever makes us happy quickest, and often this is temporary fixes such as food, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.… Anything that fills our longing. However, indulging in these addictions creates suffering.
The path to recovery is more than just available. The entire community of Refuge Recovery is dedicated to teaching abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and if it’s not for you, there are plenty of other treatment methods that have served people for many years.
Refuge Recovery is predicated on these four noble truths and necessitates that you practice daily meditation, introspection, and writing down your thoughts. Mindfulness plays an important role, and the daily practices you deploy are based around mindfulness of body/breath, mindfulness of feelings, mindfulness of mind states, and mindfulness of mind objects.
The Eightfold Path to Recovery is an abstinence-based philosophy and guide to having a life free from substance use. The Eightfold path must always be kept in mind throughout one’s life to be successful. The path is as follows:
Recovery begins by understanding that you need to renounce all substances and addictive behaviors because they are only distracting you from your own greater truth. Forgiveness, generosity, and service are a necessary part of recovery. It’s time to move from a state of reacting to developing an awareness of the ups and downs of life.
Recovery continues by building a lifestyle around clear, direct intentions and work that changes the relationship you have with negative thoughts and unwholesome tendencies and habits. Meet pain with compassion, and pleasure with gratitude.
The community is what allows you to practice wise and skillful communication to support yourself and others on the path to success. You can take refuge in the recovery program because all members are encouraged to reach out for and provide help. Members practice openness, honesty, and humility about the ups and downs of life.
Members of Refuge Recovery abstain from all substances and behaviors that could lead to suffering. They practice forgiveness toward all people who have harmed or been harmed through addiction. This is achieved through meditative training and making direct amends to those they have hurt. Action relieves the spirit and lightens the burdens of guilt and shame that surround addiction.
The next step in the path involves looking at your relationship with money. Members are encouraged to be supportive of others, being generous with time, energy, attention, and resources. They must also look at their own job or career to ensure that their source of income/livelihood is not harmful to others.
Members must make an effort to commit to daily meditation, yoga, exercises, wise actions, kindness, generosity, compassion, honesty, and appreciation. To develop these skills requires effort, time, and patience. Through the program, you’ll learn how to properly apply the right action or practice in any given situation or circumstance.
Formal mindfulness meditation helps practitioners develop wisdom and understanding. This helps recovering individuals see clearly and address the root causes and conditions that lead to addiction in the first place. Members of refuge recovery practice being present in all aspects of life. Eventually, members can be current at the moment as it unfolds in the present.
Members develop the ability to focus in on a single idea or object, training the mind to retain control of its impulses. The focus is on loving-kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. The key is gradually garnering a set of meditations that allow you to uncover concentration during times of temptation.