Chris Grosso – Ep. 30 – Noah Levine

Noah Levine

Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx, Against The Stream, The Heart of the Revolution and Refuge Recovery, is a Buddhist teacher, author and counselor. He has created a Buddhist approach to addiction recovery called Refuge Recovery, that includes peer lead meetings as well as a professional treatment center. He is also the founding teacher of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, with centers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Nashville and over 20 affiliated groups around North America. He teaches meditation classes, workshops and retreats internationally. Noah holds a Masters degree in counseling psychology and lives in Los Angeles.

Episode Outline:

• Dharma Punk – Noah talks about his experience with addiction and how it led him to the Buddhist Path.

• A Community Effort – Noah revisits the origins of Refuge Recovery and shares about all of the preparation that went into the endeavor.

• Refuge Recovery –In the Refuge Recovery book, Noah writes, “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.” Which we discuss.

• Addiction Creates Suffering – Noah and I explore The Four Truths of recovery, beginning with the First Truth, which is, addiction creates suffering. In Refuge Recovery, Noah writes, “This is not a philosophy. It is a practice; it demands action. We must understand, acknowledge, admit, and take this action by writing and sharing an in-depth and detailed inventory of the suffering we have experienced in association with our addictions.” Can you expand on that?

• The Cause of Addiction Is Repetitive Craving – The Second Truth of recovery is that the cause of addiction is repetitive craving. In Refuge Recovery Noah writes, “We have come to understand that all forms of addiction have their roots in the natural human tendency to crave for life to be more pleasurable and less painful than it actually is. The addict is not at fault for the root causes and conditions that lead to addiction, only for the habitual reactive patterns that perpetuate it.” Which again, we discuss.

• Recovery Is Possible – The Third Truth of recovery is that recovery is possible. In Refuge Recovery Noah writes write, “Freedom from the suffering caused by addiction is attainable, if we are ready and willing to take responsibility for our actions and to follow the Eightfold Path. As you enter this process and attend group meetings, you will connect with many others who have also suffered the consequences of addiction and are now recovering. Allow the group to inspire you and to show the possibilities of recovery, while also making room for the imperfections of some of the individuals within the group.”

• The Path To Recovery – So The Four Noble Truths sets out the way, the Eightfold Path, that leads to the end of suffering and is composed of eight factors, which Noah talks about.

• Buddhist Atheist – Noah and I discuss an interesting conversation we recently had about God in relation to recovery and relapse.

• Moving Forward – Noah talks about the current and future state of Refuge Recovery.


Refuge Recovery Website

Against The Stream Website

Noah’s Book: Refuge Recovery, Dharma Punx, Against The Stream, The Heart of the Revolution

Other Books: Indie Spiritualist by Chris Grosso (Foreword by Noah Levine), Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner