Refuge Recovery Centers is the premiere Buddhist informed addiction treatment center in the United States. Founded by Noah Levine, our treatment program utilizes a unique blend of Buddhist philosophy and evidence-based clinical approaches, including attachment theory and EMDR therapy. As clients move through our program they gain clarity and learn to take refuge in transformational practices, supportive community, and their own potential.
The treatment program at Refuge Recovery Centers provides a framework grounded in practical Buddhist ethics and established psychology that incorporates mind, body, spirituality, and family. By addressing the underlying causes around addiction, our therapists can better equip clients with the tools that empower them and promote long-term recovery.
We use the philosophy of the Buddhist path to help clients focus on their direct experience of the present moment, including the thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions and emotions that arise.
All of our therapists are trained EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) specialists and use a wide variety of evidence based treatment modalities to assist clients with the reprocessing of traumatic memories.
At Refuge Recovery Centers, we view addiction as an attachment disturbance. It is our understanding that all people need stable relationships with others to maintain balance and regulate emotions.
Get to know the people behind Refuge Recovery
- Noah is the founder of Refuge Recovery, an addiction recovery program based on the teachings of the Buddha. Refuge Recovery has hundreds of peer-led meetings worldwide and a treatment center in Los Angeles. He is also the founder of the “Against The Stream Buddhist Meditation Society” with centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco and over 20 affiliated groups in North America and Europe. He teaches meditation groups, gives workshops and leads retreats internationally. Noah is the author of “Dharma Punx”, “Against the Stream”, “Heart of the Revolution” and “Refuge Recovery”.
- Mellissa is an accomplished professional with extensive knowledge of and experience in the mental health industry. She draws from a rich background of specialized expertise in business management, business development, operations, logistics, risk management, professional standards, and quality of life. Mellissa holds a MSc in Psychology and is also certified in various practices of mediation, continuing processes and improvements, professional standards, and ethics.
- Stephen played CBGB and Max’s Kansas City in the late 70s; drank, played drums in a toy rock band and then got sober in the late 80s; became an international educator and rocker again in the 90s; and a sought after clinician, writer and meditation teacher in the 2000s. Dr. Steve has attempted to cure Marc Maron on WTF,, become a master EMDR therapist and provider of EMDR Basic Training and Advanced Topics Courses with the Institute for Creative Mindfulness, and with Noah Levine helped set up the premiere Buddhist addictions rehab center, Refuge Recovery Center. At the center he has developed and instituted the MET(T)A Method and Protocol, a design for addictions agency treatment using Buddhist Mindfulness and EMDR Therapy as the theoretical orientation and primary clinical practice. He is the author of Clinical Dharma: A Path for Healers and Helpers (2016). He travels nationally and internationally speaking and teaching on Buddhist mindfulness, EMDR therapy, the MET(T)A Method, trauma, the Refuge Recovery treatment model, and clinician self-care. At all other times he is wrangling and entertaining his 8 year old daughter.
Dr. Steve's second book (co-authored with Dr. Jamie Marich), EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma-Focused Care, is available now on Springer Publications.
- Joseph is a founding member of the Refuge Recovery community program and an Against the Stream meditation teacher trained under Noah Levine. Joseph received his MDiv. in Buddhist Chaplaincy from the University of the West, where he now teaches process methodology and completed his Clinical Pastoral Education at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. He worked as a professional health care chaplain for a Los Angeles area hospice prior to coming to work at Refuge Recovery Centers. Previously Joseph also worked for a decade with Visions Adolescent Treatment Center as the Director of Education and facilitated their weekly teen mindfulness meditation group. Joseph facilitates meditation and process groups for the Refuge Recovery Centers IOP, provides real-time counseling and patient advocacy for our transitional living residents, training for the Refuge Recovery Centers staff, community orientation to new clients, and provides a key communication link between the clinical and line staffs.
- Kaitlin holds experience working for Canada’s national leader in substance abuse treatment (Edgewood Health Network) and 5 years of training from a leading health insurance broker in Canada (ASEQ) she brings with her a wealth of customer service experience and skills. Her background in case management and interventions allows her to connect to individuals who are struggling with substance abuse by using a 'family-centered' approach. Kaitlin is a natural leader with a passion for recovery and a desire to help others. She is extremely involved in the recovery community and has volunteered with various youth initiatives and chaired the Montreal Recovery Day non-profit committee. As a person in long-term recovery she understands the importance of continuous care, personal growth and development.
- Tom left a high profile career in Reality Television to dedicate his life to helping others. As a Certified Addiction Counselor, Tom seeks to utilize his creative talents and passion for the complexities of the human condition to guide clients toward effective, simple and lasting solutions to their substance abuse behavior. Deeply involved in the LGTBQI community, Tom was drawn to Refuge Recovery’s visionary, inclusive and self-empowering alternative to the traditional 12-step model. Tom works with Refuge clients developing treatment plans and acting as liaison with client, families, programs, and outside service providers.
- Monica is an energetic, creative, and well-rounded marketing executive. She received a Bachelors of Arts in Merchandise Marketing and Business Management from the Fashion Insitute of Design and Merchandising. With years of experience ranging from large corporations to boutique agencys, Monica has extensive knowledge in digital marketing, sales, merchandising, events, and public relations. She is passionate about creating positive change in the world and helping anyone she can.
- Tim is a CAADAC certified counselor who has had various roles over the last 6 years of working in addiction treatment. Tim has been with Refuge Recovery since its inception because of the blend of Buddhist practices and principles Refuge uses that have been so critical in Tim’s own life and recovery. Tim has completed facilitator training with Against The Stream and will continue to train with them in the future.
- Michael is a Master’s Degree Graduate from Antioch University’s Clinical Psychology Program, a trained EMDR Therapist, a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern and an empowered Buddhist meditation teacher. With over three decades of practice in contemplative studies, and fifteen years of experience as a meditation facilitator, Michael has comprehensive experience cultivating individualized strategies that efficiently address the mental, emotional and bodily held discontent we gather through life’s adverse experiences. In an accepting and supportive setting he provides a personalized approach to working through challenges, and reaching desired life goals. At Refuge Recovery Centers, Michael provides individual counseling, teaches meditation, and facilitates psychoeducation /skills building groups that focus on cultivating resources in early recovery. Michael treats trauma, depression, anxiety, grief, addiction and relationship problems. Much of his work is informed by trauma integration through EMDR therapy, Attachment theory, neurobiology, and Mindfulness/Buddhist psychology.
- Jess is a Therapist Trainee, supervised by Stephen Dansiger, MFC49256, and a Master’s Degree Candidate at Antioch University’s Clinical Psychology Program. Jess is a trained EMDR therapist and brings an emphasis in LGBTQ+ affirmative mental health services. In addition, Jess is passionate about mindfulness based practices and also working with clients struggling with addiction, trauma, eating disorders, depression and relationships. At Refuge Recovery Centers, Jess facilitates weekly inventory, book study and family groups in addition to providing LGBTQ+ affirmative individual, couples and family mental health services as well as case management services.
- Zack is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with years of experience working with substance abuse and trauma. Zack is deeply interested in the intersection of addiction, attachment theory, and meditation. He believes that meditation coupled with an awareness of attachment strategies and a template for healthy relationships can transform our experience of ourselves and the world we live in. He believes deeply that by addressing our own relational trauma and forming supportive relationships as adults that we can build sober, healthy, and meaningful lives.
- Jessica is a Therapist Trainee, supervised by Stephen Dansiger, MFC49256. She holds a Masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, and is currently pursuing a second graduate degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. Jessica is a trained EMDR therapist and has an emphasis on the intersection of spirituality, identity, and mental health. Her spiritual history includes 6 months living in a monastic setting, in addition to intensive practices in classical yoga, Advaita Vedanta, Zen and Theravada Buddhism, and secular mindfulness. At Refuge Recovery Centers, Jessica facilitates a weekly inventory study, emotional insight and resiliency workshops, case management services, as well as individual, couples, and family sessions. She uses an integrative approach with clients to develop insight into negative storylines and limiting beliefs that hold them back from tapping into their highest potential.
- Naomi is a Social Work Intern, supervised by Stephen Dansiger, MFC49256. She is a native to Los Angeles and is a Master of Social Work Candidate at the University of Southern California in the Adult Mental Health and Wellness concentration, specializing in mental health and substance abuse. Naomi also holds a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. In her past life as an attorney, she worked in the fields of affordable housing, real estate, and banking. Feeling unfulfilled, she returned to school full time to study social work, where she has had the opportunity to work with individuals experiencing homelessness to navigate the fields of housing, physical and mental health, substance use, education, and employment. Through her professional and personal background, Naomi saw first-hand how addiction can impact all facets of life and relationships. These experiences fostered her interest in the intersection of mental health and addiction, as well as the impact of substance abuse on the friends and family of those struggling with addiction. She has also maintained her interest in social justice, policy, and advocacy, and is looking to enhance her understanding of trauma-informed care, resiliency, and recovery within that social justice framework. Naomi hopes that her experience and passion for learning will positively contribute to Refuge Recovery’s unique approach to recovery.
- Liquor, drugs, gangs and punk rock was a huge part of Darryl’s life growing up. He ultimately found himself in the vicious circle of incarceration, addiction, and hopelessness. He knew he had to turn his life around so he returned to recovery meetings and ran into Noah Levine. They became friends instantly and soon Noah was running meditation groups out of Darryl’s apartment in Silver Lake. Meditation became a key part of his recovery and he remains clean and sober to this day. Today Darryl has been clean and sober 16 years, holds a B.A. Degree in Social Sciences and is working in the field that saved his life.
- Angel has a background in band management and had been a CEO and entrepreneur from 2005 until 2015 when she had an epiphany that lead her to a new career in service work. When Angel entered sobriety in 2014, she found Refuge Recovery meetings through her fellows in 12 step. Refuge meetings and meditation assisted her while battling and overcoming breast cancer in 2015 & 2016. Through her own journey of self advocating, she has taken her healing to the next level and has dedicated the last year to becoming a certified Shamanic Practitioner and ordained minister. After 2 years of working as a technician in drug rehabilitation, Angel is now a lead technician and client advocate here at Refuge Recovery Treatment Centers. Angel strives to create a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for our clients. When Angel is not on the clock, you can find her touring in her metal band and being of service to her family of 7 rescue animals.
- California native chef and member of the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, Mau blends her experience as a designer, gardener, artist and her Buddhist practice to prepare nourishing and balanced comfort foods to the clients at Refuge Recovery Treatment Centers. Inspired by market produce, Mau creates seasonal dishes in the Refuge Kitchen that boost health and healing while placing emphasis on the human need to build community through the practice of sitting down to break bread together.
“Refuge Recovery shows me the path to the end of the suffering created by addiction and gives me the tools I need to navigate that path on a daily basis. The tools of the program and the teachings of the Buddha allow me to experience ordinary life in a relieving and refreshing way - a way which is totally different from any experience I've had in recovery, or in life, up to this point. In the Refuge program, ancient wisdom and modern knowledge reinforce one another and form techniques to build a solid foundation for living. If you have suffered as a sensitive human being in this world, as I have, then I believe you will find great relief in mindfulness, meditation, and the application of the teachings to your recovery and to your life.”DOM
“When I first started to drink and use drugs it made it easy to connect with other people. In the end of my addiction I was using drugs and alcohol to connect with myself and every else was gone. Meditation and the process of Refuge Recovery taught me how to reconnect with myself so I can connect with others.”SHAM
“My time at Refuge Recovery has been a life changing six months for me. The instructors and house staff have been caring and committed since the day I arrived. I'm confident that the meditation training and practices have provided me with life long tools for self efficacy. Overall, Refuge is a comprehensive recovery approach that has given me both education about my drug abuse, and more importantly, practical tools to deal with it.”TYSON A.