What is Refuge Recovery?

We are a peer-led movement using buddhist-inspired practices and principles, combined with successful recovery community structures, to overcome addiction. We offer recovery from all forms of addiction through participation in our Refuge Recovery program. The book, Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Inspired Path to Recovering from Addiction; is the foundation of our program and used by all Refuge Recovery groups.

Refuge Recovery members practice a daily recovery program that includes meditation and personal inventory, mentorship, retreat and service as integral components. Our program includes regular attendance at group meetings. The group atmosphere provides help from peers and offers an ongoing support network for all who wish to pursue and maintain an addiction free life. Refuge Recovery Meetings are available in over 500 locations worldwide.

What is a Refuge Recovery Meeting like?

Refuge Recovery groups practice meditation and mindfulness in every group meeting. The group offers a variety of meditations and practices. Refuge Recovery meetings use the following format:

  1. Secretary opens the meeting with an introduction.
  2. Volunteers read the preamble, an explanation of the program and the RR Guiding principles.
  3. 20-minute meditation led by group member.
  4. Chairperson reads from the book, Refuge Recovery or other RR literature.
  5. The chairperson chooses a topic and shares their experience.
  6. Group sharing, with each person offered 3-5 minutes to share something related to the topic, or their experience with Refuge Recovery.
  7. The Secretary offers a short reading and a reminder of the importance of anonymity.
  8. Volunteer reads dana statement.
  9. Secretary asks for RR community Announcements and a group dedication.
  10. Secretary closes the meeting.

Are there online Refuge Recovery meetings?

There are online Refuge Recovery meetings. Online meetings are offered for those who don’t have a local in-person meeting yet. Online RR meetings use the Zoom platform which supports both video and audio for all participants. Zoom also supports dialing in by telephone.

Online meetings are included on the refugerecovery.org website. Find “All Online Meetings ”in the Meetings menu on refugerecovery.org.

Does Refuge Recovery require complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol?

Refuge Recovery is an abstinence based program asking our members to practice abstinence from all recreational mind-altering substances in order to promote mindfulness. We suggest that our members renounce the substance or process addiction that is causing the most harm, then to begin looking at all the ways craving is causing suffering in their lives.

Does Refuge Recovery offer recovery from addictions other than drugs and alcohol?

We satisfy cravings in many ways. In Refuge Recovery groups, we offer recovery from all forms of addiction, including food, sex, technology, gambling, relationships, spending, codependency, and more. All are welcome to find recovery and a community in Refuge Recovery.

Do I have to be a “buddhist” to participate?

There is no requirement to call yourself a buddhist to benefit from the Refuge Recovery program. Our program uses non-religious early buddhist principles as the heart of our program. We believe early Buddhist principles are a practical and applicable humanist psychology that teaches us that we all have the power to relieve suffering through our own efforts.

Is Refuge Recovery a faith based program?

Refuge Recovery is not a faith-based or theistic program, and we welcome people of all faiths. Our program does not require belief in a God or higher power. We have found many of our members participate in Refuge Recovery seeking an alternative to 12-step recovery. We also have many members who practice 12-step or other recovery programs in addition to Refuge Recovery.

Can I start a Refuge Recovery meeting?

Yes, if you are practicing abstinence from all recreational mind altering substances and are willing to commit to the responsibilities of starting a local meeting.  Our website refugerecovery.org has a resources page to help volunteers start and run meetings, including  downloadable meeting formats, meditations and more.

What is Refuge Recovery World Services?

Refuge Recovery as a whole, consists of an individual program of recovery from addiction, Refuge Recovery meetings held by Refuge Recovery groups, and our Inter-Sangha, State and World committees that give democratic voice and structure to our recovery society. All groups are supported by a democratic service structure and a dedicated non-profit service organization, Refuge Recovery World Services.

RRWS is a non-profit organization that administers the refugerecovery.org website and Refuge Recovery intellectual property on behalf of our community, provides support to autonomous RR groups through the creation of a democratic service structure and by providing literature, online resources, and connection to our international community. In addition, RRWS provides Refuge Recovery retreats, led by qualified, trained teachers, and works with treatment centers to offer a Refuge Recovery treatment modality.