Various programs, or formats, exist within the Buddhist Recovery community. These programs will inform the way Buddhist recovery meetings are facilitated, and will offer specific emphases.

True to its original mandate, the Buddhist Recovery Network (BRN) does not promote one program over an other. Instead the BRN aims to offer the recovering addict relevant information so they can make an informed choice.

Some program will appeal to some people, and not others. We encourage you to investigate what best suits your path of recovery.

Following is a list of the programs that the BRN are aware of. These are listed alphabetically. Should you know of another program, please see below how to contribute to this list.

Recovery Dharma

Recovery Dharma is a peer-led, grass-roots, democratically-structured organization. Our mission is to support individuals on their path of recovery from addiction using Buddhist practices and principles.
We believe that the traditional Buddhist teachings, often referred to as the Dharma, offer a powerful approach to healing from addiction and living a life of true freedom. Our program is based on the idea that every one of us is our own guide in recovery from addiction, with the help and understanding of our wise friends and sangha (community). We believe that’s what the Dharma teaches us…

Quoted from the Recovery Dharma  website.

Resources on Recovery Dharma:

Refuge Recovery

Refuge Recovery: Is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery community that practices and utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process. Drawing inspiration from the core teachings of the Four Noble Truths, emphasis is placed on both knowledge and empathy as a means for overcoming addiction and its causes. Those struggling with any form of addiction greatly benefit when they are able to understand the suffering that addiction has created while developing compassion for the pain they have experienced. We hope to serve you, and meet you on the path.

Quoted from the Refuge Recovery  website.

Resources on Refuge Recovery:

Eight Step Recovery

Eight Step Recovery is an alternative recovery program to the 12 step program of Alcoholic Anonymous. It uses the Buddhist Teachings to overcome addiction. This Eight Step program is a set of mindfulness teachings outlining a suggested course of action for recovery from addiction, stinking thinking, negative mental states, and compulsive and obsessive behaviours. This program was cofounded by Dr Valerie Mason-John M.A (hon.doc) and Dr Paramabandhu Groves Ph.D. in 2013.

Resources on Eight Step Recovery:

Heart of Recovery

The Heart of Recovery is a meditation and sharing support group for those affected by alcoholism or addiction. It is able to do this by bringing together the practice of meditation, the Shambhala and Buddhist teachings, and the Twelve Steps of Recovery with the goal of integrating the basic sanity of the Dharma, and the basic goodness of meditation, with a commitment to abstinence and recovery. The group welcomes everyone who can identify with these common interests.

Resources on Heart of Recovery:

The Noble Steps

The purpose of this group [Noble Steps] is to support those who want to integrate Buddhist teachings and practices into their recovery from any addiction.
We encourage the use of mindfulness and meditation and are grounded in Buddhist principles including the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, non-harming, compassion, and interdependence…

Quoted from the Noble Steps  website.

Resources on Noble Steps:

We do not have any resources specific to Noble Steps, though their website mentions the following book: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps Workbook.


‘Sit-and-Share’ peer led meetings are an opportunity for individuals to come together to practice and cultivate calmness of mind and body; and to develop and practice communication skills within a safe and supportive environment. Each ‘Sit-and-Share’ meeting is offered by a peer of the group. Ideally, each meeting is led by different peer of the group so that no one becomes ‘the expert’ or ‘the leader’.

Quoted from the Fifth Precept Sangha  website.

Resources on Sit-and-Share:

Note: this is by no means an exhaustive list, other programs/formats exist such as ‘Conscious Contact’, ‘One Breath at a Time’, etc.

Other resources on these programs/formats can also be found in the DownloadsLinks and Books and Media sections of this website.

ELSA Recovery

Recovery from addiction within a secular dharma framework

ELSA Recovery is a community in which Stephen Batchelor’s secular dharma teachings are blended with practical applications aimed at recovery from addiction.

This approach is based on Stephen Batchelor’s interpretation of the Four Noble Truths as four tasks, using the acronym ELSA:

  1. Embrace life
  2. Let reactivity be
  3. See reactivity stop
  4. Actualise a path

Sun Lotus Recovery Programme

A new program formed in 2021 based on writings fom Climbing The Mountain: The Complete Handbook of Buddhist Recovery by Harvey Webb.  For more information on this meeting format check out the BRN Podcast on Sun Lotus a New Recovery Programme

11th Step Buddhist Recovery

Generally these meetings will use the 11th Step of the traditional 12 Step AA program as the basis for the meetings. There doesn’t seem to be a set format that is followed by the facilitators of these meetings. Most meetings will contain meditation, reading and sharing.

Resources on 11th Step Buddhist Recovery:

We do not have any resources specific to 11th Step Buddhist Recovery.

12 Step and Buddhism

This format will tend to incorporate the AA 12 Step concepts with traditional Buddhist teachings. Again there doesn’t seem to be a set format that is followed by the facilitators of these meetings. Most meetings will contain meditation, reading and sharing.

Resources on 12 Step and Buddhism:

We do not have any resources specific to 12 Step and Buddhism, although there exists a comprehensive array of books and media on this topic.


The Programs/Formats listed in this page, and mentioned in this website are provided for information purpose only. The Buddhist Recovery Network make no claim to the suitability of any of these Programs/Formats. The mention of a Program/Format on this page, and this website, implies no official endorsement by the Buddhist Recovery Network.