About Recovery Dharma

Recovery Dharma is a peer-led community unified by our trust in the potential of each of us to recover and find freedom from the suffering of addiction. We believe that recovery means empowerment, and we support each other as partners walking the path of recovery together.

Our program uses the Buddhist practices of meditation, self-inquiry, wisdom, compassion, and community as tools for recovery and healing. We believe that recovery is about finding our own inner wisdom and our own path.

Recovery Dharma welcomes anyone who is looking to heal from addiction and addictive behavior, whether it’s caused by substance use or process addictions like codependency, gambling, eating disorders, relationships, technology, or any obsessive or habitual pattern that creates suffering. We’ve found that this Buddhist-inspired path can lead to liberation from the suffering of addiction, and we support you in finding your own path to recovery.

The Practice

Renunciation: We understand addiction to describe the overwhelming craving and compulsive use of substances or behaviors in order to escape present-time reality, either by clinging to pleasure or running from pain. We commit to the intention of abstinence from alcohol and other addictive substances. For those of us recovering from process addictions, particularly those for which complete abstinence is not possible, we also identify and commit to wise boundaries around our harmful behaviors, preferably with the help of a mentor or therapeutic professional.

Meditation: We commit to the intention of developing a daily meditation practice. We use meditation as a tool to investigate our actions, intentions, and reactivity. Meditation is a personal practice, and we commit to finding a balanced effort toward this and other healthy practices that are appropriate to our own journey on the path.

Meetings: We attend recovery meetings whenever possible, in person and/or online. Some may wish to be part of other recovery fellowships and Buddhist communities. In early recovery, it is recommended to attend a recovery meeting as often as possible. For many that may mean every day. We also commit to becoming an active part of the community, offering our own experiences and service wherever possible.

The Path: We commit to deepening our understanding of the Four Noble Truths and to practicing the Eightfold Path in our daily lives.

Inquiry and Investigation: We explore the Four Noble Truths as they relate to our addictive behavior through writing and sharing in-depth, detailed Inquiries. These can be worked with the guidance of a mentor, in partnership with a trusted friend, or with a group. As we complete our written Inquiries, we undertake to hold ourselves accountable and take direct responsibility for our actions, which includes making amends for the harm we have caused in our past.

Sangha, Wise Friends, Mentors: We cultivate relationships within a recovery community, to both support our own recovery and support the recovery of others. After we have completed significant work on our Inquiries, established a meditation practice, and achieved renunciation from our addictive behaviors, we can then become mentors to help others on their path to liberation from addiction. Anyone with any period of time of renunciation and practice can be of service to others in their sangha. When mentors are not available, a group of wise friends can act as partners in self-inquiry and support each other’s practice.

Growth: We continue our study of these Buddhist practices through reading, listening to dharma talks, visiting and becoming members of recovery and spiritual sanghas, and attending meditation or dharma retreats when we believe these practices will contribute to our understanding and wisdom. We undertake a lifelong journey of growth and awakening.

Wise Friends/Mentors

Sometimes, those who have decided to commit to this program of recovery want more support on the path. This is where the idea of a “wise friend” or “mentor” comes in.

The Buddha talked about four kinds of friends: the helpful friend, the kind of friend who sticks with you through good times and bad, the compassionate friend, and the mentor. A wise friend supports us through example, kindness, and compassion. It can be anyone in the sangha who we trust to act as a guide, a supporter, a partner, or just a fellow traveler on the path. This relationship may take many forms, but it is one built on honesty, compassion, healthy boundaries, and a shared intention to support one another’s recovery.

For some of us, especially newcomers, it’s helpful to work with a mentor: a wise friend who’s been following the program for a while who gives support, is there to reach out to when times get rough, and can help hold us accountable. It’s not a formal position: nobody is “certified” or “authorized” to be a mentor. They are just members of the community freely sharing their journey through the Four Truths and Eightfold Path. Everybody decides for themselves if they want to collaborate with someone else on their path, understanding that they must ultimately do the work of recovery themselves. Clear communication about expectations – from both people – is important. There are no strict rules, but if you are asked to help someone else in this way, it’s a good idea to have someone who’s done it before to support you. It’s also strongly encouraged that you commit to the Five Precepts, at least as far as the supportive relationship is concerned.

If you need help, know that you’re a part of the broader community of wise friends: the sangha of people using Buddhism for recovery.

One place to find a mentor is the Recovery Dharma Support and Connection Facebook page.

Recovery Dharma Inquiries

Inquiry questions are a method of self-inquiry. Based on Buddhism's Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, the questions on the inquiry below encourage us to consider ways in which our own cravings and aversions have caused us to create suffering in our own lives and the lives of others.

Inquiries are often best completed in dialogue with a wise friend or mentor. One place to find a mentor is the Recovery Dharma Support and Connection Facebook page.

Opening the Inquiry page below will lead to a non-editable copy of a Google Sheet document, which you can then downloaded into Numbers or Excel for your use.

Recovery Dharma Inquiries Excel.xlsx

Recovery Dharma Global

Much more information, resources, and meeting links can be found here.

Helpful Links

The Buddhist perspective is that our present mental, moral, intellectual, and emotional circumstances are the direct result of our actions and habits, both past and present. How we choose to respond when confronted with pain or discomfort will change our ability to skillfully deal with suffering when it arises.

Recovery Dharma