Noah Levine has been using Buddhist practices to recover from addiction since 1998. He is the founding teacher of Against the Stream Meditation Society. Visit the author online at www.refugerecovery.org and www.againstthestream.org.
"Refuge Recovery is a practice, a process, a set of tools, a treatment, and a path to healing addiction and the suffering caused by addiction," Levine writes in the introduction. Because Buddhism offers a nontheistic approach to problems, there is no pressure put on addicts to believe anything, only to trust the process and do the hard work of recovery.
According to Levine, addiction creates suffering in the addict and those who are close to him/her. Although the cause is repetitive craving, there is a path to recovery through the Fourth Noble Truth and the Eightfold Path. The intention to renounce greed, hatred, and delusion is an intention that can animate addicts to "practice honesty, humility and live with integrity."
A central aspect of Refuge Recovery is being involved in a community and that is why Levine hands the second half of this paperback over to members of this organization, including a number of people who have successfully recovered using Buddhist practices such as meditation, loving-kindness, compassion, appreciation, and equanimity. The spiritual practice of forgiveness is directed to all those the addict has harmed through his/her words and actions. Those who commit themselves to never walking down the streets of intoxication and indulgence anymore are firmly on the road to recovery.