For a long time, women in Oregon who were both pregnant and fighting addiction were caught in a Catch-22. Addiction providers didn’t want to work with pregnant women because of potential complications. And maternity care providers didn’t want to work with women suffering from addiction because of lack of understanding and expertise in that area.
The Alano Club is open 365 days a year with the mission of providing a welcoming, compassionate and accessible recovery support environment for individuals and families recovering from substance use and mental health disorders. “Recovery your way is the guiding ethos at Alano,” says Brent Canode, Alano’s executive director. Brent has served as executive director of the Alano Club of Portland for the past decade, growing the organization into the largest non-clinical recovery center in the United States. The Club utilizes the latest evidence-based programming under their Recovery Toolkit Series (RTS) brand, which spans everything from Certified Recovery Mentors, yoga and meditation classes, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction & Relapse Prevention training, to health and wellness seminars, exercise-based recovery groups, advocacy projects and large-scale social events.They recently opened up The Recovery Gym, a stand-alone center that combines recovery support with CrossFit, strength and endurance training.
One of Alano’s key resources is the Recovery Toolkit Series (RTS). The RTS offers alternative recovery support and includes non-clinical, community oriented seminars, classes, and workshops covering topics such as brain chemistry, addiction, relationships, recovery advocacy, and relapse prevention. The program is led by professionals in the community and allows those struggling with a substance use disorder to determine their own pathway. “The Recovery Toolkit Series fills a significant void in the continuum of recovery support services currently available in the United States. For the majority of people in addiction recovery who don’t align themselves with the 12-Step model, finding affordable, community-based supports can be next to impossible,” says Brent.
Brent has been Alano’s executive director since 2006. He describes himself as “first and foremost, a person in recovery” and understands the unique resources that those in recovery need. With a history in legislative politics and public policy, Brent has brought the Alano Club to the advocacy forefront. Two years ago they created a statewide advocacy network called Oregon Recovers and moved key bills in the Oregon Legislature. And they recently launched The Recovery Gym, the first CrossFit oriented gym exclusively for people in recovery. Alano was also the Fiscal Sponsor (Brent was a Co-Founder) of Harmony Academy, Oregon’s first recovery high school that opened this year. Alano has also expunged over 550 low-level felony drug convictions as a result of their Oregon Recovery Expungement Clinic which they launched in 2019.
With so many visitors each year, it’s not hard to discover the Alano’s impact. One long-term Alano member says “I was beyond down-and-out when I stumbled — literally — through the Club’s doors. Life at home for me was hell almost from the word go. The Club was really the first healthy home and family I ever knew. It’s where I truly “grew up” and learned how to live a healthy life free from alcohol and drugs. No matter what happens today, I know that with the Club and the people I’ve met there by my side I can weather whatever comes my way in recovery!” These are sentiments shared by thousands more in the Portland area.
The Alano Club of Portland was a featured award winner in the 2019 Innovation Now project of the Addiction Policy Forum.