What is Refuge Recovery?

 In Addiction Resources, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, Life in Recovery, Resources for Loved Ones

Refuge Recovery – An Alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous?

Recovering from alcohol, drugs and substance abuse means finding a support group that works for you. A residential drug rehab or an outpatient rehabilitation program is often part of the solution. Many people also seek community-based support groups to attend during and after their time in rehab. These groups are helpful because they offer enduring tools and solutions, e.g. community encouragement from others battling alcohol and drug addiction, that can last once the individual has successfully transitioned out of rehab.

12-step recovery networks like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are perhaps the most popular of such groups, but they are no longer the only available options. 12-step alternatives that provide non-theistic approaches to overcoming alcoholism and addiction are growing in relevance and popularity. One alternative is Refuge Recovery, a non-profit program of support grounded in Buddhist principles.

Refuge Recovery believes that all people have can free themselves from addiction and the suffering it causes. Members of a Refuge Recovery group adhere to Buddhist principles, ideas and teaching, believing that the buddha’s way of living relieves all types of suffering, including suffering that leads to or is caused by alcoholism and drug addiction.

Buddhist Principles Can Relieve Suffering

The guiding principles behind Refuge Recovery are based on the proven and well-studied idea that human suffering leads to addiction as a way to cope with otherwise unbearable stress. All elements of Refuge Recovery meetings, including readings, practicing mindfulness, and meditation, are included in order to help the individual develop wellness, healthier thinking, and ways of coping with stress that are not self-destructive.

The format for Refuge Recovery meetings is more or less consistent across groups. You can expect for meeting organizers and volunteers to read explanatory content before leading the group in 20-minute meditation. Then a speaker will likely share about his or her experience overcoming alcoholism or drug addiction in Refuge Recovery, followed by group sharing for the remainder of the meeting.

What If I’m Not Buddhist?

While Refuge Recovery is based on Buddhist teachings, it is non-theistic, making it an attractive option for people in recovery seeking 12-step alternatives. People from all backgrounds are welcome in Refuge Recovery meetings, and a pre-existing familiarity with Buddhism or Buddhist principles is not required. At a Refuge Recovery meeting, members will be introduced to group literature that explains Buddhist tenants like The Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, and how to practice mindfulness and meditation.

If you believe you may have a problem with alcohol or drug addiction and are interested in attending Refuge Recovery, find a meeting online today.

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