Dear Sangha,

This program, like our recovery, is ours. And to shape it, we’ll need to use as much wisdom, caring, and effort as each of us brings to our own recovery. Recovery Dharma is based on the idea that every one of us is our own guide in recovery, with the help and understanding of our wise friends and sangha. We believe that’s what the Dharma teaches us. So it’s with joy that we extend an invitation to join together to develop our shared path, and to embrace the excitement of creating a truly grass-roots organization to support it.

As most of you may be aware, the Refuge Recovery Board of Directors and Noah Levine have agreed to settle the Board’s lawsuit and Noah’s counterclaims. There was no “victory;” we all just decided it was time to move forward and let each individual and each group decide for itself what direction to take. In the wake of the settlement agreement, a new non-profit has been founded to ensure continued support for our community. We have tentatively named this new movement Recovery Dharma.

We believe that the non-profit should focus on providing support to local sanghas who wish to use Buddhist practices and principles for recovery. We believe it should be a grass-roots organization, governed democratically. We believe that each of us must determine our path and practice for ourselves with the support of both local and global communities. There are many teachers in the Buddhist tradition, and many opportunities to learn. Recovery Dharma is based on the idea of choice: that groups and individuals within those groups should be encouraged to explore, to learn, and to understand, according to their own path and their own needs. We accept and honor the fact that there are multiple teachers and texts that can lead to the wise understanding and effort that are part of this practice. We are here to support that exploration, not to limit it.

The ideals, aims, and structure of this organization will be decided by the community itself. Even the name and the logo are intended as placeholders, to be confirmed or changed by the collective will of the membership. Although a transition team has been formed to allow us to incorporate and obtain nonprofit status, one of the first tasks of the new organization will be to elect a board of directors that represents the diversity and breadth of our membership. As a community, we must also define the scope and nature of the new organization’s mission.

We are working on a survey to be provided to the community in the coming days that will ensure a collective vision. Elections for board members will take place in the next few months. Once the new board is in place, they will work in tandem with the community to build the infrastructure necessary to support our growing membership.

To support a deeper exploration of how Buddhist practices can support our recovery, Recovery Dharma is making available a newly created book, developed by members of our community, that can be used to supplement or replace any that is currently used in your local meetings. This book provides a Buddhist lens on approaching recovery, including a practical roadmap with recommended tools and techniques to support people along the path of recovery. A draft version is currently available for download in PDF and ebook formats for the community to review. After the text is finalized, bound copies will be available by print-on-demand for purchase. All literature created through Recovery Dharma will be released under Creative Commons licenses and the PDF and ebook will always be available for free or by donation for anyone who needs it. All proceeds will go to the organization to support the communities we serve.

Community resources that were on the Refuge Recovery website will also be posted to the new website. We encourage individual Recovery Dharma sanghas to use whatever literature they decide will best aid them in understanding and practicing not only recovery, but also the Dharma.

This is a new journey for all of us, and one we begin with hope and compassion as well as excitement about the opportunity to form a truly grass-roots organization.

We each have a chance—and perhaps a responsibility—to examine our own practice and recovery to see what best supports those parts of our lives. We sincerely hope that Recovery Dharma will be a valuable resource for each of you on that path. We put our trust in the collective wisdom of our sanghas and the integrity of our shared practice.

What you can do now:

We will be holding informational calls, open to all those interested, in the coming week. Please feel free to join us on Tuesday, July 16 at 8pm Eastern Time or Thursday, July 18 at 7pm Pacific Time.

[Call info removed, thanks to everyone who joined us!]

We wish to communicate our profound caring and respect to everyone in the extended sangha of Buddhist recovery, regardless of whether they choose to affiliate with us or not. May all of us be well, may we all be at ease, and may each of us be supported on our path, no one left out.

— The Recovery Dharma transition team:

  • Paul Acciavatti
  • Madalyn Baker
  • Amy Reed
  • Jean Tuller
  • Don Westervelt