As a worldwide community of recovering individuals and Refuge Recovery groups we are called upon to meet in-person, and regularly, and therefore we feel the need as the RR service board and RR world service office to offer some help, some guidance and some encouragement for this unprecedented medical situation.
We believe that addressing our Refuge Recovery groups and members concerns over Covid 19 will allow us to respond skillfully and in ways that will keep our focus on bringing the RR practice and the RR sangha to as many people as possible while maintaining a high level of  group unity.
Providing guidance on health issues is outside the scope of the Refuge Recovery World Services Office. We do advise following your local city, county and state/province guidelines regarding small meetings and gatherings. RR Meeting leaders please check these guidelines frequently.
We honor each RR group’s responsibility to discuss and determine by a vote what is best for their meeting. Please remember voting in group business meetings is a necessary step before changing meeting practices. Electronic mail and text voting is recommended to speed the democratic decision making process.
Some RR groups already have changed social practices at their meetings. Please follow local guidelines from official city, state, county authorities. Some meeting changes have included: avoiding shaking hands and handholding; making sure surfaces in meetings are sanitary and observing social distancing. Please use group voting to change meeting social practices.
Regardless of group decisions, each individual is responsible for their own health decisions. If you are experiencing cold/flu symptoms, please stay home from in-person meetings and attend an online meeting.
Refuge Recovery is being called upon as a sangha to offer a place of refuge in the midst of fears and uncertainty. Those individuals and families suffering from addiction need our meetings to happen whenever and wherever possible.
In service of this effort, Refuge Recovery online meetings are greatly expanding. Our website refugerecovery.org is the home for online Refuge Recovery meetings. Simply use the “All Online meetings” menu to find a link to a meeting.
RR meetings whose meeting places are closed temporarily are invited to immediately start open online versions of their meetings on the RR website. Meetings have already started online scheduling at their regular times on refugerecovery.org.
Sign up with refugerecoveryworldservices@refugerecovery.org to lead your meeting at its regular time on the Refuge Recovery website.
If you are a member with some experience in RR, please sign up to lead an open online RR meeting. We need your help in our effort to begin offering online meetings 24 hours a day over the next month. We believe this will be of great benefit to our program as a whole. Your service and a commitment to run a meeting at the same time, once a week for six weeks, will allow us to offer online meetings in every time zone in the world. To lead an online meeting contact refugerecoveryworldservices@refugerecovery.org.
If your RR group has been contacted by your meeting facility stating that they are closing for meetings, please email RR World Services so we can continually update website listings. Also let us know if you have found a temporary location to meet so we can add that info to meeting listings as well.
We appreciate all those who do the hard work of showing up and leading meetings, offering mentorship and providing leadership to newer members.
We will be here with frequent updates regarding Refuge Recovery.
Please contact us with questions and suggestions.
Rachael Savage
Russ Smith
Joseph Souhrada
Noah Levine
Refuge Recovery World Services Board of Directors

Refuge Recovery Founder Noah Levine Donates Refuge Recovery Book, Name and Logo to Non-Profit Refuge Recovery World Services…

The new RR Board is pleased to announce the transfer of ownership of the book, Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path To Recovering From Addiction, from author and copyright holder Noah Levine to the non-profit organization, Refuge Recovery World Services. In addition, ownership of the name Refuge Recovery and the three jewels RR logo have also been transferred to the non-profit organization.

This week’s transfer fulfills the longstanding intention of the Refuge Recovery author and founder, stated since 2014, to, over time, give control of all RR intellectual property over to a trusted non-profit service board committed to developing the democratic voice of the Refuge Recovery groups, consistent with the Refuge Recovery program established ten years ago. This transfer of ownership of the book and other intellectual property to RRWS is a victory for the entire RR community, going beyond the asset-sharing agreement sought by the former RR board and marking the beginning of a powerful new phase in the development of the revitalized Refuge Recovery non-profit organization and program.

The Refuge Recovery World Services Board of Directors was formed in August of 2019.  Our Board brings a diversity of experience, skills and perspectives which mirror the diversity of our global sangha. The Board is entrusted with managing the legal and fiscal health of the Refuge Recovery non-profit organization, supporting the development of a comprehensive network of Refuge Recovery groups, offering training and education for our sangha members as well as the general public, and doing fundraising to support collaborative projects.

Rachael Savage-Seattle Washington Sangha

Russ Smith- Los Angeles California Sangha

Joseph Souhrada- Seattle Washington Sangha

Noah Levine-Los Angeles California Sangha

Much gratitude and appreciation to our Board for this generous act of service.

Want to get more involved in Refuge Recovery? Have questions? Do you have experience to share? Come to a Refuge Recovery workshop! The subject of the first workshop is: What is Refuge Recovery? These workshops are based in the practice and experience of the Refuge Recovery program. These workshops are led by members of Refuge Recovery that have been trained and authorized by RRWS. The first three West Coast Workshops to be led by Rachael Savage from Refuge Recovery Seattle. RR Workshops have been created to answer many of the questions that new and experienced sangha members alike may have about the Refuge Recovery program and to support your recovery practice.

The first three workshops are happening: In Seattle at Rebel Saints Meditation Society, February 29th 10am-1pm, In Eugene Oregon at the Buddha Eye Temple, Saturday March 7th, from noon-3pm, and in Portland Oregon at the Taborspace, Saturday March 28th, from 1-4pm.

Suggested donation is 20$. Dana collected is divided equally and used to support the local meeting or inter-sangha sponsoring the workshop and your RR World Services non-profit. Workshop leaders may receive a small amount of dana to cover per diem travel and meal expenses. These are the first of many workshops to come offering topics such as Inventory, How to start and grow a RR meeting, A How to for Mentors/Mentees and more as needed.

For questions, suggestions and workshop requests for your area please contact:

refugerecoveryworldservices@refugerecovery.org

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Refuge Recovery Omaha
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Jeff, Refuge Recovery Lincoln

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Josh, Refuge Recovery Omaha

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Josh, Refuge Recovery Lincoln

We started Nebraska Refuge Recovery in Lincoln in March 2018 and the Omaha meeting in July 2018 and currently have 2 meetings per week, Monday and Wednesday.

Fellowship is fostered outside of the meetings by being in constant communication with one another. We regularly attend social events such as concerts and movies together, we eat together and have game nights, too. When it comes to mentorship, encouraging each person in our sangha to mentor each other comes with the understanding that

in recovery helping one another is priority. We are always learning and we are all walking each other home.

The Lincoln meeting takes place in a privately owned home that caters to recovery, spiritualism, yoga, and massage and our Omaha meeting takes place at Omaha Power Yoga. This has been beneficial to cultivate a healthy base to hopefully add more meetings in Omaha and enlarge the intersangha. We have also teamed up with Illuminating Hearts and Liz Carey, MS EdS to add some helpful tools to our recovery toolkit. Illuminating Hearts is a group providing gong meditations and sound therapy. Liz has worked with us teaching Energy Field Tapping (EFT) to help relieve symptoms of craving, ptsd, anxiety and depression. Both of these experiences are offered after meetings for those who may be interested.
It’s amazing, amazing stuff.

Our sangha is new, growing fast, and extremely excited to have RR in our lives and to share it with others. Come check us out!

From the Executive Director

Hi Sangha- this month we’re exploring the Precepts and what it looks like to take them to the streets. We are not monastics so understanding and living the Precepts as householders in recovery can be (at least for me and maybe for you) an ongoing process of discovery and returning again and again to the practice. Just like Tyler, I have “started and fucked up a thousand times.”  We are an abstinence-based program; what does that mean to each of us? How do you establish your bottom lines?  We’re also looking at recovery and yoga; many thanks to Sarit, one of the founders of Refuge Recovery, for sharing some of her story and insights with us.

Dan is continuing to take our website to the next level, organizing resources and enhancing our guided meditation offerings.  We get about a thousand downloads a day (wow!) and it’s exciting to have new voices coming forward to lead meditations. Many thanks to the folks who are sending us their meditations for posting and please keep ‘em coming.

We have 597 meetings today and our non-profit organization continues to be focused on being of service to sangha. Our infrastructure of regional and inter-sangha groups continues to form. We have now had two regional conferences- Southeast and, just a few weeks ago, New England- both were inspiring and demonstrated how connectivity builds and deepens recovery. Got a suggestion? Please feel free to send any and all ideas to refuge recovery. Much appreciation to all of you.

Executive Director

Hi Sangha- hope this Newsletter finds all of you well and, for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoying the summer. I’m pleased to report that our annual conference, referred to as RefCon, went beautifully this year.

Major props to our Planning Committee, which was composed of Regional Representatives from around the US and Canada, and local arrangements, managed beautifully by the Los Angeles team. They all did an incredible job, both in the planning stages and supporting the conference participants throughout the weekend. RefCon4 was a celebration of sangha, with speakers who helped start Refuge Recovery all those years ago as well as folks who are newer to our community. A whole lot of spirited folks in one place lifting the building off the ground. This was our first year live-streaming and I want to acknowledge one of our crew in Canberra, Australia for suggesting we give it a try. We’re posting a link to each session on the Refuge Recovery website so you can check them out if you were unable to attend or catch the live streams.

Our first Annual Report was summarized at RefCon and that is now posted on the website as well as our 2017 tax return.  The Refuge Board of Directors is well aware that sorting through the various entities tagged as Refuge Recovery can be confusing. Just to be clear,

Thanks so much for everything you do to make our turbulent world a refuge. I look forward to seeing you soon on the Sangha World Tour; next stop is Dover, NH for the first-ever Region IX Conference!

Tyler Lewke

How long has Refuge Chicago been around?

After a couple of us attended numerous RR meetings in the early days in Santa Cruz and LA, we started our first group in the basement of the Blue Lotus Temple in Woodstock in 2013! 3 of us the first night! 20 the second night. 30 the third night!! 6 months later the Chicago Tribune did an article about recovery models in Chicagoland and they put a giant picture of us on the front page! We got flooded with calls from treatment programs and friends and things took off quickly!

How many meetings per week do you have, currently?

We have a meeting EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK! WOOT! And we now have a couple meetings a day on a few of those days!

What does mentorship look like in Chicago?

Sangha Spotlight: Refuge Recovery Chicago_mentorship

Mentorship is slow to come in a formal way. A few of us are mentoring, and a few have mentors outside the local area, but many of us actively engaged in noble friendship, which feels similar in how I see it working. We regularly fellowship together, lots of text / phone / in person support, book clubs, inventory work, etc etc.

How do you foster fellowship outside of the meeting?

We have fellowship at a local cafe after our Friday night meeting, we have temple activities at our Wednesday night Blue Lotus meeting and there we even formed a service committee to volunteer together in the community. We’ve brought a few teachers / monastics in to do workshops. We help each other move, find jobs, drink an enormous amount of coffee and lots of walks on the lake.

What’s special about Refuge Chicago?

Sangha Spotlight: Refuge Recovery Chicago_day retreatWe just did our first full day retreat that was AMAZING! Because of the temple we have access to some great dharma teachers who roll through town and we can grab them for ourselves here and there. We started a “therapists and helpers” meeting, providing a more confidential setting for those of us who work in the addictions field in some way and need the anonymity of a closed meeting where clients won’t be present. A second one is starting up this month! This has fostered lots of referrals to the other meetings as the health care professionals have direct experience and feel great referring their clients! We started a dharma book club this year, and are planning for a day retreat once a quarter! We recently started “the Chicago fund” where we can actively fundraise to help new meetings get started, send people to conference, help pay for rent at new meetings, etc etc. This allows for assistance that’s needed and gets ego out of the way by individuals being the donor… it’s all anonymous. Each group sends 10% of their collection to the Chicago fund and so we have this ability to make stuff happen.

Any big plans?

We are in the early stages of planning a Regional Retreat so we can get to know our entire region better! Also, we plan to have our first LGBT meeting starting up in the next couple months so we can provide refuge for those of us who want the safety of a closed environment! We’re eagerly working on how to get to the Chicago’s Southside—- it’s a economically depressed and very diverse part of Chicago that really struggles with addiction and needs Refuge. We’ve been hesitant to open more meetings until we get to the south side. In addition, we’re very focused on getting women in all our leadership positions and trying to be as conscious as we can about diversity, inclusion and equality.

What’s something Chicago sangha would like the rest of the RR community to know about their sangha?

We love you all and the entire RR community is saving lives every single day! What we know for sure: If you let dharma run the place, success will come.