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Buddhist Drug and Alcohol Rehabs

A Buddhist monk meditating in a temple asking for guidance

Published: January 17, 2024

People who adhere to and identify with the Buddhist path of faith have several Buddhist alcohol and drug treatment centers that they can choose from when treating a substance use disorder.

Siddhartha Gautama founded Buddhism over 2,500 years ago using meditation and renouncing worldly attachment as core principles. These principles, such as the four noble truths and the eightfold path, can be extremely useful when treating substance use disorders.

It can be very beneficial for people to believe in a higher power when they are going through alcohol and drug addiction treatment. Buddhist treatment centers offer a wide range of treatment programs using both faith and evidence-based treatments.

About Buddhist Rehab Centers

Buddhist rehab centers provide treatment for drug and alcohol addictions using Buddhism and Buddhist teachings to assist in addiction recovery.

The goal of Buddhist rehab centers is to help people reach sobriety, like all addiction treatment centers. However, Buddhist rehabs incorporate the Buddhist faith and teachings as a major component in the recovery journey.

Some of the teachings included in recovery are:

  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Peace of mind
  • Self-preservation

For instance, Buddhists believe that addiction is an intense form of attachment, and the teachings of Buddhism support mindful detachment.

Buddhist substance abuse recovery programs can be inpatient or outpatient and can include aftercare assistance, support groups, and various types of therapy and counseling.

Key Facts on Buddhist Rehab

  • Benefits: finding sobriety through more in-depth values and accountability, non-attachment beliefs help encourage peace of mind and self-preservation, and being surrounded by like-minded people can help encourage sobriety.
  • Percent of rehab centers that offer a spiritual component: Roughly 73%
  • Types of substance addiction treated: Alcohol addiction, prescription medication addiction, cocaine addiction, methamphetamine addiction, benzodiazepine addiction, opioid addiction, marijuana addiction, and heroin addiction
  • Treatments found in Buddhist recovery programs: Detoxification programs, therapy – both individual and group, peer support groups, aftercare and relapse prevention, and 12-step style recovery programs
  • How to pay for Buddhist rehab: state-funded or private insurance, scholarships, payment assistance programs such as paying on a sliding-fee basis, out-of-pocket payments, and cash
  • Percent of Americans who have religious faith or believe in a higher power: 95%

Who Can Benefit from Buddhist Rehab Programs?

Answer: The people who may benefit the most from Buddhist rehab programs are those who are already followers of the Buddhist faith and those who believe in a higher power.

For many people, dealing with a substance abuse problem or mental health issue can lead them to place their faith in a higher power.

Although Buddha is considered by some Buddhists to be a higher power, it is not a requirement in order to be able to receive the benefits of a faith-based treatment program.

It is also true that non-religious people can still find meaningful treatment and assistance from Buddhist treatment providers.

Buddhist Rehab vs. Non-Faith-Based Rehab

Overview: Even though Buddhist and non-faith-based rehab programs offer the same evidence-based treatments, there are important differences between the two types.

Faith-based treatment programs are designed and created for people who adhere to specific belief systems. These programs are for people who want their faith to play an important role in their recovery journey.

Non-faith-based treatment programs are designed and founded on scientific, evidence-based treatments and do not offer a spiritual component at all for people in their programs.

Another option for people seeking treatment for a substance use disorder is programs that incorporate both evidence-based and spiritual influences in a person’s treatment plan.

What Happens in a Buddhist Addiction Treatment Program

Answer: In a Buddhist addiction treatment program, you can expect to receive therapy, counseling, and treatment for substance abuse with Buddhist teachings and influences.

When you attend a Buddhist addiction treatment program, the day-to-day activities can vary greatly from rehab facility to rehab facility. The differences between inpatient and outpatient programs can be greater. However, there are general things that remain the same everywhere.

Services, treatments, and activities that you can expect in Buddhist rehab include:

  • Individual treatment plans designed specifically for each patient
  • Individual, group, family, and couples therapy
  • Eight-step programs, 12-step programs, and other Buddhist substance abuse support groups
  • Access to onsite spiritual counseling from mentors in the Buddhist faith
  • Access to meditation and prayer spaces around the clock
  • Dual diagnoses treatments to help treat co-occurring disorders
  • Friendship-and-community-building events to encourage participation and belonging
  • Evidence-based treatments such as dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing
  • Alternative holistic therapies, including art, music, and equine therapies

Treatment Services & Activities in Buddhist Rehab Programs

You will find that the addiction treatments and programs in a Buddhist treatment facility are very similar to those in non-faith-based treatment programs. However, Buddhist treatment centers may provide a few extra faith-based programs.


An important first step in any recovery program is to medically detox from any drugs and alcohol that may be in your system still. During this time, patients are medically supervised by health care providers, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.

Patients will have their vitals monitored the entire time, including their heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. Patients going through detox may be allowed to socialize with others going through this same process.

Inpatient or Residential Treatment

Inpatient programs are designed for people who need a higher level of intensity when it comes to their treatment. This includes very structured schedules with individual therapy, group therapy, and support groups.

Patients in residential treatment will have access to spiritual guidance and support, as well as relapse prevention and frequent monitoring by medical professionals.

Prayer and Worship

Buddhist rehab programs are unique in that they offer spiritual resources alongside evidence-based treatment programs. Patients in a Buddhist rehab will have access to a spiritual advisor, time for meditation, as well as individual and group prayer, when available.

If you are a practicing Buddhist, you will have access to tools that will help your faith journey as well as your sobriety journey.

Gender-Based Care

As with most drug and alcohol rehab facilities, care and treatment are generally separate for men and women. This can assist in allowing people to feel safe when speaking and be more open when talking about their addiction or the road that led them to it.

Outpatient Treatment

The next step for people who have successfully completed an inpatient treatment program or a detoxification program is to join an outpatient treatment program. Outpatient programs are designed to work in a step-down format, where each successive level is less intensive.

The three most common forms of outpatient treatment are:

  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • General outpatient programs

Outpatient programs generally consist of peer support groups, for example, 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. In Buddhist rehab programs, the alternative to the 12-step method is the Eight Step Recovery program.

Counseling and Therapy

An important part of the recovery process is to take care of your mental and behavioral health. By taking care of your mental health problems, you can increase your chances of successfully maintaining your sobriety.

Counseling and therapy are important parts of any alcohol and drug rehab program. Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy are two of the most commonly used therapies in addiction treatment, as well as individual, family, group, and couples counseling.

Support Groups

It is important to surround yourself with people who understand your unique struggles, and support groups are a great place to socialize with others on their sobriety journey.

There are many Buddhist support groups available for those who identify with the Buddhist faith or believe in a higher power. Finding the right support group for you can take time, so make sure to be patient while you are looking and do not give up

Cost of Buddhist Rehab Centers

The cost of treatment at a Buddhist rehab center can vary depending on a number of factors, including whether the treatment center is a nonprofit or private facility.

If the rehab center is a private treatment facility, the chances are high that it will be more expensive. However, privately owned rehab centers often offer payment assistance programs and accept most major insurances.

There are some programs, such as Refuge Recovery and 12 Step and Buddhism, that are generally free to attend and are hosted in a local community center or space.

Many programs accept donations that help cover the cost of treatment for people who need help but cannot afford it.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of a Buddhist Rehab Program?

Answer: Insurance may or may not cover the cost of a Buddhist rehab program, depending on numerous factors.

For instance, your insurance company will need to know if this is a short-term or long-term recovery program. Cost is usually determined per day. The longer you need to be in a treatment program, the more it will cost your insurance provider.

Another determining factor is location, due to the fact that some insurance companies are not accepted out-of-state. If you choose to go to a rehab facility that is out-of-network, you risk having to pay out-of-pocket.

Your coverage is generally determined by your personal insurance policy. If you have questions about what your policy covers, you can reach out to one of our addiction treatment specialists today.

What Happens After You Finish Buddhist Rehab?

Answer: The road to recovery is an ongoing journey that never truly ends. Therefore, it is very important that after finishing a Buddhist rehab, people pursue their continuing care options.

Many people who complete an inpatient or outpatient treatment program still do not feel completely confident about their chances of remaining sober if they return to their old lives. For this reason, sober living houses and transitional houses were designed.

There are also many Buddhist support groups available to those who are looking for extra support and companionship. There are Recovery Dharma and sit-and-share peer-led groups, The Noble Steps, which incorporate Buddhist teachings into addiction recovery.

There is also usually the option to become a mentor to those who are beginning the same journey that you are currently on.

Where Can You Find Buddhist Rehab Centers Near You?

If you or a loved one have decided that a Buddhist rehab would be the best fit for your substance abuse treatment, you may be wondering where you can find one near you. Fortunately, there are resources available that can help you find one.

Resources for finding Buddhist rehab centers include:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has an anonymous and confidential drug and alcohol addiction treatment locator tool for people seeking help with a substance abuse disorder.
  • Buddhist Recovery Network has a support meeting locator specifically for Buddhist recovery meetings. This locator has options for international and nationwide meetings.
  • Recovery Dharma also has a handy tool to locate Recovery Dharma meetings, both online and in-person.
  • Refuge Recovery has a list of in-person and online Refuge Recovery meetings and the option to start your own online meeting.
  • Your insurance member page, after you have logged in, will have a search tool for finding healthcare providers, substance abuse treatment, mental health care, and more. You can also call the helpline number on the back of your insurance card to speak with an insurance representative about finding a Buddhist addiction rehab program.

Another important tool you can use to find a Buddhist substance abuse program is our extensive network of accredited drug and alcohol treatment programs.

You can call our addiction treatment experts at any time with questions about finding a Buddhist treatment program near you.

Find Buddhist Drug and Alcohol Rehab Options

If you or a loved one are searching for treatment for a substance use disorder, you have many options to choose from. It is important for you to know that you are not alone on your journey to recovery and that help is ready and available around the clock.

Buddhist drug and alcohol rehab programs can be very beneficial for recovery, even for those who do not identify as religious. If you are interested in learning more about Buddhist rehab programs or want to find a rehab facility near you, call our helpline today to get started.

The belief in a high power can often be a strong tool on the road to overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction. If you believe a faith-based rehab program is right for you, call us today for more information.

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