Hello from Refuge Recovery World Services. We have an important update about our upcoming 6th Annual Refuge Recovery Conference, to be held at the Against the Stream Meditation Center in sunny Venice Beach, Los Angeles. Although we had been holding out hope that we could still meet in the first week of June, due to recent announcements extending Covid gathering restrictions in most states we have rescheduled our annual conference for February 26-28th, 2021. Our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause with your travel plans. Registration is open for the new February 2021 dates. If you are registered already and are able to attend in February, there is no need to do anything, we will keep you registered for the new dates. If you cannot make it, please let us know, so that we can issue a refund.

Otherwise, registration for our 6th Annual Conference is open. Be ready for a weekend of community, recovery and service. Come, make connections, and get inspired. Share your experience and practice. Hear speakers from the greater RR sangha. Participate in panel discussions and hear updates from the founder, your world service board members and your international RR sangha.

Registration is available here: Refuge-Recovery-Conference-Six-February-2021

The conference is also an opportunity to be involved in Refuge Recovery World Service. For the first time, elected representatives from RR State conventions will be voting on how to elect members to the first Refuge Recovery World Service Committee. One day of the conference will be devoted to the world service assembly. Be a part of this historic first for RR. The good news is, this unavoidable conference delay gives us more time to organize state level service conventions before February. Holding online state conventions will allow as many state and alternate state reps to be elected as possible. Send a representative and an alternate representative from your state and help create the democratic voice of the sangha.

Refuge Recovery World Services has begun to move scheduled in-person RR state service conventions online this week. All state conventions can be held online in the upcoming weeks and months while we are all still in the process of getting back to being able to gather in-person. Look for mail and phone contact from RRWS this month scheduling dates for your first state RR convention. We also need as much contact information as possible for all those doing service at the meeting and Inter-Sangha levels. Please send us your contact information and please include the RR meeting or Inter-Sangha you are a part of to:


Online meetings have been a place where we have been meeting and getting to know each other. Along with your regular weekly meetings we encourage everyone to attend meetings hosted by other groups and to get to know our greater Sangha around the world. We look forward to meeting you all in online meetings, online conventions and hopefully in the fall, in-person service conventions.

Please register for the conference as soon as you are able, in order to assist us with the planning of this event. Space at Against the Stream Meditation Center is limited, and 100 is our maximum. Our conference planning committee is available to answer questions at: refugerecoveryworldservices@refugerecovery.org

In Service,

Joseph Souhrada

Russ Smith

Rachael Savage

Noah Levine

Refuge Recovery World Services

Greetings to all Refuge Recovery sangha members worldwide,

Thank you all for your strong commitment to Refuge Recovery service since
stay at home orders began in March. This commitment can be seen in the creation and support of over 40 new online meetings. We are currently able to offer online meetings seven days a week and throughout each day. The need for our program during this time of isolation, and increased addiction is evident in the size and reach of the online meetings. Many are attending their first RR meeting online. This online environment has also given us new ways to present our program with online talks, workshops and retreats bringing our message to established members and newcomers from around the world.

In 2014, the book Refuge Recovery was published. Many felt that for the first time in history, a viable buddhist path to recovery was made available. Refuge Recovery’s author Noah Levine, a buddhist teacher and long time member of the twelve step community designed the meditations and practices specifically for people seeking recovery. Incorporated into the program described in the book were unifying twelve-step recovery group principles of consistent meetings and groups structured around a non-profit service board.

This unique combination of the wisdom found in our recovery-based buddhist practice and in the group unity practices found in twelve-step recovery group structures sets our program apart from both general buddhist practice and other buddhist recovery groups.

As a result of this unique and focused approach Refuge Recovery inspired many, and our community grew rapidly over the next 4 years to eventually exceed 700 meetings.

In 2018, some meetings, following guidance by former board members of Refuge Recovery, began to include literature, formats, meditations, practices and group business structures not consistent with Refuge Recovery’s original design and in our opinion, harmful to Refuge Recovery’s identity and reputation.

As a result, there has been some confusion about what makes a RR meeting and group. This is understandable. As the board of the Refuge Recovery World Services non-profit, we apologize for any lack of clarity about our program caused by the former boards actions and we ask that no ill-will be held towards any members who have followed the former boards guidance. Forgiveness, kindness, compassion and equanimity are our practice.

In August of 2019, a new board was formed. Sitting on the new board of Refuge Recovery World Services are Noah Levine, author and founder of RR, Russ Smith of the Asheville and Los Angeles sangha and a skilled trademark and copyright attorney, Rachael Savage of the RR Seattle Sangha, with decades of recovery meeting creation and service, and Joseph Souhrada, also of the RR Seattle Sangha and with over a decade of experience in recovery meeting creation and service.

This board’s intention is to unify all groups around a consistent and non-controversial program of Refuge Recovery. This consistency is fundamental to the existence and effectiveness of our program. To create a consistent network of meetings and a reliable program of recovery, our groups are, where necessary and as soon as possible, being returned to their original design.

Beginning in August, all newly created groups have been registering with RR World Services with the understanding that all RR groups use only the book, meditations, meeting format, and group structures described on our meeting and service resource pages and to agree to observe RR’s social media policy.

Effective today, and in order to be recognized as a Refuge Recovery group and registered on refugerecovery.org, all groups should return to using only the RR book, meeting format, meditations, and group structure and to agree to observe RR social media policy. Detailed information is available on the refugerecovery.org meeting and service resource pages. We are available to answer any questions and work with all groups to make all necessary changes.

Our program will grow and change, with literature development, meeting formats and new group structures created as needed and through an overall Refuge Recovery process. The first step towards growth is the creation of a democratic sangha voice. We believe that all RR meetings have a say in what any individual meeting is presenting as Refuge Recovery. To serve this end, our board is committed to creating a democratic service structure with RR group representation, structured in the same general way as the structure of Alcoholics Anonymous. That work has begun, with state conventions and the annual conference as the next steps in the process. We encourage all members to ask questions, make suggestions and get involved. This is your program.

Our goal is to assist in the growth and development of Refuge Recovery groups across the United States and around the world. Our hope is that all members of Refuge Recovery will recognize that there will always be a need for a World Services board to help meetings and members resolve conflicts in a manner that is protective of our programs integrity and reputation. Our board is also the group responsible for creating and maintaining unity among all the RR groups. We take these tasks seriously and we ask for your trust.

We appreciate all of the tireless effort and energy put into creating groups by so many Refuge Recovery members. We look forward to the day when attending Refuge Recovery meetings in every town and city becomes possible. We believe this return to our programs focused design is the best way to bring our program to every person seeking recovery.

We ask that all members look at the sacrifice of personal preferences as a form of generosity and as a positive step towards achieving the goal of unifying “…Refuge Recovery as a whole”.

Please contact us with any questions or requests for assistance. In service,

Joseph Souhrada
Russ Smith
Rachael Savage
Noah Levine
Refuge Recovery World Services



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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: