Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds /Milk Tea Alliance

Refuge Recovery and Noah Levine

[Editor: The following is the most current information that I have been able to glean from the ‘net on the current status of Noah Levine’s relationship to Refuge Recovery. This is a fast-moving situation so check back for updates over the next few days.]

The following statement is from Jean Tuller, Exec. Director of Refuge Recovery, copied from their Facebook page, which was posted on 8/25/2018 at 8:38 PM (yesterday):

Hi Sangha- questions are coming in as to what’s happening with Refuge Recovery given the announcement today regarding Noah Levine and Against the Stream. Our non-profit exists to support local Refuge Recovery meetings around the world and we have 600 of them today. Noah has been on voluntary leave of absence from the non-profit Board for several months while this matter has been pending. Christopher Kavanaugh, in his capacity as interim Chair of the Refuge Board, is convening the Board quickly to prepare and distribute a response. Our non-profit and our global sangha are strong and resilient. With great compassion for all, we’re continuing forward. As Executive Director of the non-profit, I have recused myself from Board deliberations and am focusing my energy on supporting sangha during this tough time. The Regional Representatives will be meeting tomorrow morning and we’ll be having the discussion of how best to provide support. I see through the dialogue on this and other Facebook posts that our sangha is connecting and walking through this together. Let’s keep at that. We are more than one person, folks. We always have been, we always will be. May all beings be at ease- Jean Tuller


—This is the next earlier post on Refuge Recovery Facebook page, dated August 9, 2018, also from Jean Tuller:

Hi folks- We have cut the address cord from ATS and the Refuge Treatment Center finally! Many thanks for the extraordinary patience exhibited by folks at both organizations. I’ve no doubt mail for us will still be going to ATS and the Treatment Centers for a bit but we’ll get there, hopefully soon. So for all of you who send donations to Refuge, please note the following new addresses. Our San Jose address is a virtual office, they just forward the mail to the mailing address in Portland. You can send your donations directly to us in Portland. And yes, choosing San Jose as our business address was a direct nod to all of you San Jose Sharks fans out there!

Our new business address is:
Refuge Recovery
c/o Park Avenue at Downtown San Jose
177 Park Avenue
Suite 200
San Jose, CA 95113

Our new mailing address is:
Refuge Recovery
2000 NE 42nd St.
PMB # 204
Portland OR 97213-1305

Thanks everyone!


—And this is an earlier post at Refuge Recovery Facebook page, from Jean Tuller, dated July 24, 2018:

Hi Sangha- I hope you are finding joy and beauty wherever you are today. Some of you may have seen that Noah Levine is offering Refuge Recovery retreats and teacher training. This is a new enterprise that Noah and the folks at Rebel Saints Meditation Society in Seattle have started. To avoid any unnecessary confusion, I want to make it clear that their organization is not affiliated with Refuge Recovery, the non-profit organization. This is not a comment on Noah’s new venture, simply the refection that our non-profit is peer-led and not affiliated with any retreats or teacher training programs. We encourage local sanghas to host dharma events to deepen recovery and practice. In accordance with our Guiding Principles, how a sangha chooses to do that is a local decision. May all beings be at ease. Jean Tuller

[Editor: Comments on this post note that the above-mentioned retreat is called a ‘Refuge Recovery Retreat’ and that this Retreat series is a new venture by Noah Levine, but is not part of the Refuge Recovery non-profit organization. This is obviously a confusing situation and commentators suggested that Noah needs to call it something else.]
[Editor: So the current status on the relationship of Noah Levine and Refuge Recovery seems to be that Noah Levine is on a leave of absence from the Board of Directors of RR. He is running something called ‘Refuge Recovery Retreats’ but they are not part of ‘Refuge Recovery’ the peer-led treatment program. Furthermore, Refuge Recovery as an organization has cut ties (at least institutionally) from Against the Stream, which at this point is a defunct organization and is closing its doors on September 30, 2018. See post below: ATS Closing Email.]

5 comments on “Refuge Recovery and Noah Levine

  1. Gashter Travis

    FYI – the Refuge Recovery treatment center closed its doors last week (first week in November 2018). Two of the three
    organizations once associated with Mr. Levine are now defunct due, at least in part, to the allegations made against Mr. Levine. The third entity is the non-profit recovery program. That part of Refuge Recovery has created some distance between itself and Mr. Levine (due, at least in part, to actions taken voluntarily by Mr. Levine), and is still alive and well with over 600 meetings a day occurring at some place on this planet. This is not a wonderful time for the recovery program, but the groups scattered throughout the world are autonomous, and many have no real ties to Mr. Levine at all. Essentially the recovery program called Refuge Recovery involves the application of the Buddhist principles of meditation, mindfulness and ethical living to addressing addiction and other compulsive behaviors. The concept is neither original nor that complex, though its treatment is not something we know a lot about in the current day and age. Mostly addiction results from conditioning, though there are most certainly biological precursors that make one person more predisposed to another to actually have addiction problems. One learns from an early age to avoid, and eventually to use a substance to avoid. Some people don’t use substances – they use things, or behaviors. The goal is the same – to distract – to keep one from feeling what feel like overwhelming One becomes obsessed with re-creating that mind-state. It works for a while. Then it switches on you. What you once did to get to what you considered a better place now becomes a nightmare. Your solution has become your problem. Untreated addiction typically results in emotional problems, depression or anxiety, marital issues, employment issues, social isolation and, in some cases, suicide.

    • Shaun Bartone

      Confirmed: Refuge Recovery Treatment Centers, the for-profit treatment center founded and owned (in part) by Noah Levine, was shut down last week. This was announced on Refuge Recovery Treatment Centers’ own Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/refugerecoverycenters/posts/

      “With a heavy heart we are announcing the closure of Refuge Recovery Treatment Centers. We have a deep appreciation for the 562 people we have helped, and those who continue to participate in Refuge Recovery meetings. We will continue to serve the community with regular meetings and meditations at 2516 Lincoln Blvd – Schedule Below”

      This was the last big corporate venture started and managed by Noah Levine. Most of his retreats have been cancelled, as he himself announced in one of his recent videos. Karma’s a bitch.

  2. jerclarke

    Wow! Thanks Gasher Travis and Shaun for that update! I didn’t know the treatment centers had closed. While it may be sad that there is no RR-style professional rehab available, this is definitely good news for the peer-led non-profit RR groups!

    Hopefully this means Noah will be willing to let go of the naming rights!

    • Shaun Bartone

      The same closing message was also posted on RRTC’s Twitter account. I certainly hope Noah gives up the name ‘Refuge Recovery’, but I suspect what he’s aiming for is a licensing deal, where RR.org has to pay him so much per year (or per usage) for the right to use the name. It could get very expensive. Noah claims he has no income at this point, so I’m sure he’s trying to make every dollar he can from what he has left, which are the copyright and trademarks of RR.

    • Gashter Travis

      Agreed 100%. Our sangha in Raleigh, NC has been through quite an upheaval about this issue. We’ve resolved it now, but it was rough for a bit. We are pretty big – 9 meetings a week, a few hundred members total, maybe more.

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This entry was posted on 2018/08/26 by .


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