Voices of Recovery

Meet Brent Canode

How old are you? Old enough to know better!

Where do you live? Portland, Oregon

Who are you, and what do you do? I am a person in long-term recovery who strives to create a more inclusive system of recovery support services. I am a father and Sherpa to one beautiful boy named Liam and a complete mountain fanatic who spends much of his free time snowboarding, climbing, split-boarding, backpacking and trail running on Mount Hood.

What is your relationship to addiction and recovery? Beautifully rich and complex! First and foremost, I am a person in long-term recovery for almost 15 years. It is everything to me and where it all starts. Since finding recovery, I’ve gone on to work in the field, too, after 10 years spent working in senior positions with nonprofits, public agencies and elected officials from city hall to the U.S. Senate. For the past decade, I’ve served as executive director of the Alano Club of Portland, growing the organization into the largest non-clinical recovery support center in the United States. Alano 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 and relapse prevention training to health and wellness seminars, exercise-based recovery groups, advocacy projects, and large-scale social events. I am also a founder and vice chair of the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative, a nonprofit organization opening Oregon’s first recovery high school — Harmony Academy — in August of 2019. Recently, I joined the Recovery Science Research Collaborative (RSRC), a think tank comprised of recovery researchers from academic institutions such as Kennesaw State University, Harvard University and University of the Sciences. In partnership with RSRC, I co-authored the first peer-reviewed manuscript on stigma, advocacy and recovery outcomes, published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. I also just accepted an invitation to become a recovery section editor for the Journal of Recovery Science, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal featuring original research on behavioral health recovery. And finally, I have been working for the past six months with a group of amazing students at Portland State University to launch the first CRP in the region. Keep your eyes peeled for Viking Recovery coming soon.

Where did you go to school, what did you study and when did you graduate? I went to the University of Oregon, where I studied public policy, public affairs and political science, eventually earning a master’s in public affairs from the Graduate School of Planning, Public Policy and Management. I also served as a graduate teaching fellow, teaching upper-division courses in policy theory.

What is on your bookshelf?  I am a total bibliophile. Recently, I’ve enjoyed Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, The Friend by Sigrid Nunez, and Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction by Travis Lupick.

What is a superpower you’d like to have? Most definitely alleviating societal suffering. A close second would be falling off mountains without suffering personal injury.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? I first went to university to study apparel design. I had fleeting dreams of designing haute couture until quickly in my first year I realized that translated into memorizing the properties of hundreds of textile swatches.

To learn more about Bret Canode, look for the full interview in the 2019 Back to School issue of Recovery Campus.

Voices of Recovery captures the trials, tribulations and, most importantly, the joys of being in recovery. If you or someone you know is interested in being featured, please email

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