Recovery from Addiction Through Meditation, with Buddhist Noah Levine

Today, we’re here to talk about a topic that’s very dear to me, and that is addiction. Our interviewee today, Noah Levine, has a really great addiction and recovery story. We had such an inspiring conversation with him, where he talked about his Buddhist and meditation approach to recovery. Noah has created an entire movement for addiction recovery that is not AA-based, called Refuge Recovery. He hosts programs, classes, retreats, and has several physical locations for his centers in the States. He also hosts his own podcast, Dharma Talks, and is the author of several great books on meditation, recovery, and Buddhism.

Transformation and recovery don’t happen in a vacuum — it takes a lot of work. Join Sophie and me as we talk about the realistic path to recovery, and to Noah’s interview, as we discuss his path to recovery, his beliefs and views on addiction, and the work he’s involved in now as a meditation teacher, author, and speaker.

Topics Discussed:

[:38] About our topic and guest today: addiction with Noah Levine.

[3:15] About my experience in AA.

[7:00] Why 90% of people who need help for addiction don’t get help.

[10:47] The characteristics often associated with addiction.

[12:07] Curbing these characteristics using meditation.

[13:54] Relationship tip of the week.

[19:08] Shout-outs for listener feedback!

[22:03] Introduction to Noah and how I came to know about him.

[24:37] About Noah’s post-addiction tattoos and the story behind his standing Buddha tattoo.

[28:15] What brought Noah to Buddhism and meditation.

[33:00] The nuances and complications of addiction; How Noah sees the meeting place between suffering and compulsive behavior or addiction.

[34:57] Where Noah sees the suffering getting worse in people with addiction.

[38:59] How healing is more important than the ‘why’ behind addiction.

[44:22] Noah’s business and becoming a meditation teacher that stemmed from his recovery.

[46:40] How Noah became a meditation teacher and the creation of his treatment centers and Buddhist recovery movement.

[50:30] The best piece of advice Noah’s ever received.

[55:15] Noah’s proudest moment.

[58:47] Difficult moments in Noah’s life.

[1:00:27] What kept Noah going when he was depressed and what helps keep him going presently.

[1:03:40] What are Noah’s self-care rituals and routine?

[1:05:57] What Noah’s meditation practice is like.

[1:08:47] What gets Noah IGNTD?


Relationship Tip of the Week

One (out of the four) biggest reasons that are associated with the vast majority of divorces, is contempt — where (at least) one partner feels like they’re better than the other and looks down upon them. One tip to avoid contempt is to actively build fondness and admiration for your partner. We can get so wrapped up in the things that we don’t like, so it’s important to build a practice of paying attention to the stuff you do like. One way to practice this is to write a love letter to your partner about the reasons why you love them and flesh out all of the reasons with examples. The more you write and focus on the positive, the more your brain builds these connections to pay more attention to the positives.


Where to Find Our Guest — Noah Levine

Websites:,, and

Social Links: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Books: Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction, Dharma Punx, Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries, and The Heart of the Revolution: The Buddha's Radical Teachings on Forgiveness, Compassion, and Kindness.


Mentioned in this Episode:

Adi Jaffe’s Talk in Ohio in March 

Adi Jaffe’s Talk in LA in April

Study associated with the ‘Relationship Tip of the Week’ Instagram

IGNTD Recovery (with the free web course)

Stephen Levine (Noah’s father)

Jack Kornfield

Buddhist Twelve Steps

UCLA Naomi Eisenberger

Dharma Punx, by Noah Levine
What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen, 

by Kate Fagan


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