Refuge Recovery is a community of people who are using the practices of mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness, and generosity to heal the pain and suffering that addiction has caused in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones. The path of practice that we follow is called the Four Truths of Refuge Recovery.

The Four Truths of Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist-oriented path to recovery from addictions. It has proven successful with addicts of all kinds who have committed to the Buddhist path of meditation, generosity, kindness, and renunciation.

This is an approach to recovery that understands that all beings have the power and potential to free themselves from suffering. We feel confident in the power of the Buddha’s teachings, if applied, to relieve suffering of all kinds, including the suffering of addiction.

The practices and principles of this program are outlined in the book Refuge Recovery.

Our primary purpose is to offer a Buddhist-inspired path to recovery from addiction of all kinds. Our group recognizes and respects that there are multiple perspectives and multiple approaches to recovery; we are gathered in the spirit of investigation of a Buddhist approach. We do not claim to be the only authority, but we know from direct experience that the path outlined in the Four Truths leads to the end of the suffering that addiction causes.

We invite you to investigate and practice these truths and to find out for yourself if they are valuable to your process of recovery.


Addiction is the repetitive process of habitually satisfying cravings to avoid, change, or control the seemingly unbearable conditions of the present moment. This process of craving and indulgence provides short-term relief but causes long-term harm. It is almost always a source of suffering for both the addict and those who care about the addict.

Recovery is a process of healing the underlying conditions that lead to addiction. It is establishing and maintaining the practice of abstaining from satisfying the cravings for the substances and behaviors that we have become addicted to. Recovery is also the ability to inhabit the conditions of the present reality, whether pleasant or unpleasant.

Renunciation is the practice of abstaining from harmful behaviors.

A refuge is a safe place, a place of protection—a place that we go to in times of need, a shelter. We are always taking refuge in something. Drugs, alcohol, food, sex, money, or relationships with people have been a refuge for many of us. Before addiction, such refuges provide temporary feelings of comfort and safety. But at some point we crossed the line into addiction. And the substances or behaviors that were once a refuge inevitably became a dark and lonely repetitive cycle of searching for comfort as we wandered through an empty life.

Active addiction is a kind of hell. It is like being a hungry ghost, wandering through life in constant craving and suffering. Refuge Recovery, the Buddhist-inspired approach to treating addiction, offers a plan to end the suffering of addiction.Traditionally, Buddhists commit to the path of awakening by taking refuge in three things:

  • awakening (Buddha),
  • truth (Dharma), and
  • community (Sangha).

If the teachings and practices offered here resonate with you as true and useful, we invite you to take refuge in this process of awakening, truth, and community. Practicing these principles and developing these skills will lead to a safe place, a true and reliable refuge, a place that is free from addiction, to a full recovery.