Message from the Recovery Dharma transition team

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.
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 669 900 6833 US (California)
Meeting ID: 772 208 428
Find your local number:

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


Special Bulletin Regarding Organizational Changes

Special Bulletin: Dissolution of Refuge Recovery Nonprofit

Attention: Portland and surrounding area meetings


This past Saturday, July 6, the Refuge Recovery Board of Directors posted a joint statement with Noah Levine (link available here), the legal owner of the Refuge Recovery name and book, announcing the dissolution of the existing Refuge Recovery non-profit. To paraphrase the statement, “Noah’s team is creating a new non-profit, Refuge Recovery World Services, and the Board will foster a new non-profit called Recovery Dharma Collective.” We encourage you to read the statement in its entirety. The effective date of this dissolution is August 1, 2019.

Since September, 2018 the Board has been publicly publishing bulletins addressing their ongoing efforts “to clearly delineate the separation between the non-profit organization that serves the Refuge Recovery community and Noah’s for-profit businesses.” This work was complicated by allegations against Noah of sexual assault, for which an internal investigation “concluded it was likely that Noah had violated the ethical code for Buddhist teachers against causing harm with sexual conduct”.

In January, 2019 the Board announced that it had filed a lawsuit against Noah for such things as breach of fiduciary duty and various trademark matters (suit available here). Noah, in turn, filed suit against the board for trademark infringement. The legal struggles carried on for a few months, then in May, 2019 the Board announced that it had voted to remove Noah from the Board of Directors, and that new literature was being field tested in advance of being made available at Refcon, which takes place next week, 7/12 - 7/14.

This dissolution of the Board, and the announcement regarding the creation of Refuge Recovery World Services (RRWS) and the Recovery Dharma Collective (RDC), are part of a settlement of all these matters (settlement agreement available here).

The Recovery Dharma Collective has indeed created a new book, which is still in draft form and not published. A community review draft of that book, titled “Dharma of Recovery”, is available as an electronic .pdf file which is included with this email. The book is also posted on Portland’s website and Facebook pages.

Many groups around the country are choosing to align themselves either with Noah’s RRWS program, or with the new Recovery Dharma Collective. Portland area meetings will need to discuss with their groups how they want to proceed. Many individual members of the current Intersangha, including several of the elected officers, intend to join the RDC and continue practicing peer-led recovery. 

Several people from Portland will be attending Refcon next week, at which events and discussions are likely to be noteworthy. In order to share the experience of Refcon with the PDX sangha, there will be a post-Refcon debrief and social held on Sunday, 7/21, 3-6pm. Most people who attended Refcon will be at the social to share their experiences and give everyone a chance to talk and feel and think about how to move forward and how best to continue to support our community and practice our recovery. We encourage all to attend.

Next Steps

  1. Please take time to discuss these matters with your sangha. We recommend taking time at the end of your meetings to read this announcement in its entirety.

    1. Email any questions to

    2. The Refuge Recovery PDX Facebook page is available as a venue for discussion

    3. A Slack workspace is also available for discussion for those who do not use Facebook (join the Slack workspace here).

  2. Download and read the book “Dharma of Recovery” and make the link available to your group.

  3. Attend the Post-Refcon Debrief and Social on Sunday, 7/21, 3-6pm. Bring a snack or drink if you can, and chat with the people who attended Refcon about the conference, any news, and events in the larger community

  4. Come to the Urgent Intersangha meeting on Saturday 8/3 11am - 2pm ready to discuss the path or paths your group is choosing to take. More next steps can be determined by the PDX sangha at that time.

  5. Remain mindful of our collective goal of recovery. Be available to and connect with your sanghas, speaking and acting with wisdom and compassion.

Sunday 7/21, 3-6 p.m.

Post-Refcon Debrief and Social

Bring a snack or drink, if you’re able

3505 NE 28th Ave, Portland, 97212

Saturday, 8/3 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Urgent Intersangha Meeting

Location to be announced

Art + Recovery - Pink Cloud Project @ Taborspace on Wednesday Nights!!

A member of RR PDX, Keely, has started an art + recovery event taking place on Wednesdays at Taborspace. This is the perfect way to spend a Wednesday night with other folks in recovery and in place of an RR meeting, since we don’t have but one happening on this night of the week! Please click the link below for the meeting specifics on the group’s MeetUp page!

Everyone has an inner child within them who wants to play, express, splatter, and gunk up the glue stick. Let this be the place where your creative inhibitions run free and you can meet other like minded friends on their recovery journey through the therapeutic process of art making.

We will primarily focus on art journaling because I truly believe it is a powerful tool to anyone, but especially to those adjusting to sobriety and reclaiming a new life in recovery.

Art journals are your own private, portable companion. Join us as we explore and expand on our understanding of the uses and benefits of art journaling. A main theme and prompt will carry us through our art making as we create independently. Throughout history people have talked in circles while using their hands, let us bring forth this tradition while opening our hearts and minds. I think of this as a fun recovery meeting for your inner child!

Makers, artists, gardeners, chefs, mothers, and anyone who has ever caressed a colored pencil with a twinkle in your eye or danced a paintbrush across the paper as you lifted into a daydream - this group is for you!

RefCon 5 in Chicago! July 12-14, 2019


Buddha, Dharma and a whole lot of Sangha will be happening in July at the Refuge Recovery Fifth Annual Conference in CHICAGO! We’ll be meditating, workshopping, hanging with the sangha and doing some RR business. Can’t wait to see you there!


July 12-14, 2019


July 12th registration starts at 4 PM and the program goes from 7 PM on Friday July 12th to 1 PM on Sunday, July 14th.


University of Illinois – Chicago
750 S. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60607


On May 16th, 2019 the registration fee goes up to the standard $125.

RR Hiking Club Coming Soon!

Exciting news! A member from the Portland Sangha is creating the Refuge Recovery Hiking Club and our first hike will be this April. There will be hikes every month - for now its looking like the 2nd Saturday of every month for longer hikes. There is possibility of also having shorter weekday hikes on Tuesday or Thursday.

To stay up to date, please make sure you are signed up for the newsletter! (scroll down to the bottom of this page) Info about the first scheduled hike will be coming soon.

There will also be a Hiking Committee forming made from a few representatives from different meeting groups to keep meetings in the loop, plan hikes and stay organize locations/carpooling details. If you are interested in joining this committee please email:

Hope you’re as excited as we are!!

Hiking Club coming soon.jpg