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Lions Roar : January 2017
“I was like Woody Allen,” Korda says. “I was this neurotic guy from the Lower East Side, and I was with these guys from Los Angeles drag racing through the night.” TYSON ANNICHARICO has been in and out of recovery for the past fifteen years. “Everybody that goes to AA has their com- plaints about it—AA is this, AA is that. Well,” he says, “Noah actually did something about it.” What he did was come up with an alternative to the twelve steps—a Buddhist-based path to healing addiction that he calls Refuge Recovery and lays out in his book by the same name. But Levine won’t take the credit. As he sees it, it was the Buddha who designed Refuge Recovery. He just labeled it addiction treatment. Levine is well aware there are groups integrating Buddhism into twelve-step work. But, he asserts, “The twelve steps them- selves are never Buddhist based—they’re always Christian. So people take that Judeo-Christian theistic philosophy and inte- grate Buddhist teachings into it. This works for a lot of people, and it’s beautiful on some level. But for me, I don’t need to translate Christianity through a Buddhist lens. Buddhism itself is totally applicable to recovery work.” At the core of Refuge Recovery are the four noble truths. “The first truth of Refuge Recovery is the truth of suffering— the suffering of addiction, as well as all of the other suffering in life,” says Levine. “The second truth is that all suffering has the same roots of craving, but for the addict there are often some other factors that have made the normal human craving more extreme. “The third truth is that recovery—awakening—is possible. And the fourth truth is the eightfold path of how we are going to treat our addiction.” In classic Buddhism, the eightfold path is a set of instructions for ending suffering and achieving enlightenment: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. These steps, however, are not linear. They are all intimately connected to each other, and the path unfolds differently for different people. “Refuge Recovery is classic Buddhism,” says Levine. “It’s not linear. Although mindfulness is the seventh factor, mindfulness becomes the foundation for the rest of the path. Right: Levine with clinical staff of Refuge Recovery Centers. In the U.S., there are on average 120 overdose deaths per day. Levine believes the tools of Refuge Recovery can save lives. PHOTOBYSARITZ.ROGERSPHOTOBYSARITZ.ROGERS Noah Levine (center) at a Refuge Recovery Centers open house. Refuge Recovery Centers is a unique addiction treatment program that combines Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice with psychotherapy modules. LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2017 42