Buddhist Approach to Recovery Offers 12-Step Alternative | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Buddhist Approach to Recovery Offers 12-Step Alternative

Author Noah Levine presents an alternative recovery method for the non-Christian set.



By Victoria Kim


| Share

Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-step program have assisted millions of people on the path to recovery, but an alternative approach is gaining popularity in communities across the U.S.

Buddhist writer, teacher, and author of Dharma Punx Noah Levine’s latest book, Refuge Recovery, addresses addiction treatment based on fundamental Buddhist practices including the Four Noble Truths.

“There is an educational component to it,” Levine said. “People want to know what Buddhism has to offer…this is a clear and detailed map out of addiction.”

Levine has said that as transcending suffering is the center of Buddhist philosophy, Buddhism is a natural way to address addiction treatment. His Buddhist approach, which developed from his own struggles with addiction, emphasizes self-honesty, abstinence, and community.

Despite presenting an alternative to the 12-step program, which is based on Christianity, Levine has “a lot of gratitude” for 12-step. “I have nothing bad to say about that approach,” he said. “But it is a theistic spiritual system that depends on an external higher power. Now, that resonates to the core of a lot of people. A God-based philosophy is particularly great for Christian-minded people. But what about the people who don’t believe in God?”

As the Buddhist approach to treating addiction is spreading from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Levine is a firm believer in the program remaining decentralized. “I have no intention to control this in any way,” he said. “It’s a peer-led process. People change the format to fit their own communities. People are taking ownership of it, and it’s led to quite a bit of excitement.”

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Normies React to the 12 Steps

"I think admitting to having a problem in general is the right first step, but to admit powerlessness is unhealthy. .. I think admitting powerlessness is more harmful because it doesn't help. Admitting that you want and need help is more useful after admittance."

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv