How is Buddhist Recovery Different?

What does Buddhist recovery look like?

Many of us have had friends, relatives or co-workers who have gone to “rehab.” Founded in 2014 we often get asked, but “what is Buddhist recovery?” Refuge Recovery Centers uses the philosophy of Buddhism as the core to understanding why people turn to drugs, alcohol and other addictive behaviors when faced with pain and suffering. The Buddhism teaches that the impermanence of all things leads to patterns of craving and clinging. Refuge Recovery Centers teaches our clients tools for overcoming addiction.

Refuge Recovery Centers is a boutique, specialized, addiction recovery facility focused on using the Eight Fold Path and Four Noble Truths to teach clients how to abstain from the use of intoxicants and other harmful behaviors.

Buddhist Philosophy is a Tool  

Many addicts use drugs and alcohol to become numb and avoid the trauma they have experienced. Refuge Recovery Centers does trauma-focused care that provides treatment for the underlying causes of addiction. Buddhism is a way of looking at the world and a set of tools – including mindfulness, meditation, and self-compassion that helps curb our cravings and reactiveness.

Refuge Recovery Centers is 12 Step Friendly

Many of the teachers, therapists, and clients at Refuge Recovery Centers began their sobriety 20+ years ago in Alcoholics Anonymous. We consider the program to be 12 Step friendly and think there are many useful principles that emerged from the program.

One treatment program is based in Buddhist philosophy, but we do not expect clients to be Buddhists or even having ever practiced meditation. Just as 12 Step programs utilize Christianity (but you do not need to be Christian), Refuge Recovery Centers utilizes Buddhism and the Eight Fold Path as the core of our program. We strive to support individual well-being and provide community (Sangha) and access to practice.

Why use EMDR in addition to Buddhist philosophy for overcoming trauma?

Refuge Recovery utilizes EMDR as a core offering for helping our clients. EMDR is an evidence-based psychotherapy designed for treating stress associated with traumatic memories. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) facilitates the adaptive encoding of traumatic memories. Without dealing with the underlying trauma, the level of success for drug treatment decreases. As Dr. Stephen Dansiger, our Clinical Director and one of the foremost authorities regarding EMDR therapy and sobriety in the United States reports, “EMDR provides a structure and a treatment for the underlying issues of the addict, while also addressing urges, triggers, and other difficulties.”

What if I am not a Buddhist or have never meditated?

Many of our clients have never meditated and have had very little exposure to Buddhist philosophy. The simplest way to understand our program is to think of Buddhist philosophy as extra tools for a client’s sobriety. Many other addiction recovery centers have begun to use meditation in their programs, but this modality originally comes from eastern spirituality that is thousands of years old.

In Refuge Recovery, our Co-Founder Noah Levine points out that, “Buddhism recognizes a nontheistic approach to spiritual practice. The Refuge Recovery program of recovery does not ask anyone to believe anything, only to trust the process and do the hard work of recovery.” We do not ask clients to believe in anything but their own capacity to heal themselves.

Contact Us

Refuge Recovery Centers is a mindfulness-based addiction treatment program that utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the cornerstone of our curriculum. Located in East Hollywood, California we provide detoxification, residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels of care as well as sober living. Our entire course of treatment has been designed to help engage the addicted person on multiple psychodynamic levels. For more information on our programs, call 323-207-0276.

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