In the welcome message at the beginning of every traditional Refuge Recovery meeting, we always say: “Our group recognizes and respects that there are multiple perspectives and multiple approaches to recovery…. We do not claim to be the only authority.”
At no time have these words been more important for our sangha.
The Buddha taught a path of awakening through wisdom and compassion. This path has been walked by many millions of people over the last 2,600 years. The Refuge Recovery movement and organization was born on that path.
As most are aware, the Board of Directors of Refuge Recovery and Noah have had differing views about the path forward. But neither claims to be the only authority on recovery from addiction.
The Refuge Recovery program and movement, as founded by Noah, are not ending. The existing Refuge Recovery non-profit will be dissolved.
Noah’s team is creating a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Refuge Recovery World Services, and will apply for 501(c)(3) non-profit status, to provide support services to all interested Refuge Recovery groups moving forward. Noah and others vow to adhere to the program as outlined in the book authored by Noah, “Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction,” that includes peer-led, democratically run, local recovery meetings, and that also includes associated teacher-led meditation retreats and professional treatment options.
The Board will foster a new grassroots movement by forming a non-profit organization called Recovery Dharma Collective to provide support to local recovery meetings based on Buddhist practices and principles. The Collective will be entirely peer-led and democratically run, will not be engaged in designating specific or approved teachers for retreats or study and will leave the provision of treatment options to others. The Board also has supported efforts for the community to create its own literature that may serve to augment or provide an alternative to that contained in the Refuge Recovery book.
Both the Refuge Board and Noah continue to believe that other aspects of the Refuge Recovery program outlined in the book, such as mentorship, inventories, guided meditations, reliance on the fundamentals of Buddhism, including the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, and a structured approach to meetings, should be maintained. Sanghas wishing to remain in Refuge Recovery will be supported by RRWS. Those wishing an alternative may choose to affiliate with RDC. Both organizations will support those wishing to pursue a recovery based on Buddhist principles and practices. All parties to the litigation are fully aware of the suffering that has resulted from this dispute, and that there is a great shared responsibility to help heal the divisions. In an effort to end the suffering that has resulted from this dispute, and to focus on providing support for those who wish to pursue a path to recovery using Buddhist practices and principles, all of the parties to the lawsuit have agreed to withdraw their legal claims and move forward.
The ideas and practices behind a Buddhist-based recovery program and movement are not ending. Everyone in our community is free to choose their own path. It is the hope of all parties that in ending this litigation, the community can continue to benefit from engaging in a practice based in understanding, compassion, metta, and equanimity.
The Board and Noah extend compassion and best wishes for both of the organizations and their adherents. To manifest this good will, there will be a transition period on the Refuge Recovery website and social media pages, where this joint statement will be published, and where everyone will be given access to choose their own path. Both Recovery Dharma Collective and Refuge Recovery World Services ask there be no further attacking of one another and stress the importance of wise speech.