Success Stories

Good news comes in all shapes and sizes!

Here are some of the highlights so far this year:

CODA programs served 3,305 people this year (an 11 percent increase over last year).

From January 2012 to June 2014, forty-two women and 80 children lived in our Stepping Stones supported housing.

Childcare, a critical support to the recovery process, is now available at the Portland, Tigard, Hillsboro and Gresham program sites.

CODA’s Gresham Recovery Center Men’s Residential program is currently being remodeled and expanded.

CODA’s nationally recognized research department participates in five federally and privately funded grants with findings that shape our evidence-based practices.


Forty-two babies were born to mothers receiving treatment at CODA!


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Stories told about recovery journeys are valuable to both the audience and the teller. 

At CODA we encourage clients to share their triumphs and setbacks, in counseling, in groups and with friends and family. Our patient surveys ask “What do you like best about CODA?” and “What can we do to improve our services?” The answers to the first question are gratifying, and the answers to the second question are typically measured and instructive. We take all the answers seriously and discuss survey results regularly throughout our agency. (Scroll down for some recent survey responses.)

We also have opportunities to hear from former clients about their CODA experiences, and how their lives are growing and changing now. We share some of these below, and in all cases the details and names are changed.

If you are a former CODA client and have a story to share, please email using the form at the bottom of this page and select “Helping CODA” for the subject line. You may also use snail-mail to: CODA Communications Manager, 1027 East Burnside St., Portland OR 97214.

Stepping Stones transitional housing

Artist Li Tie’s rendering of CODA’s Stepping Stones transitional housing.

Tina: Building a real family.

For Tina, 25, working toward recovery has been a road full of twists and turns. Abused by a step-parent for most of her childhood, she escaped her home as a teenager, relying on alcohol and the dubious protection of a series of violent partners in order to survive. Before her daughter’s second birthday, Tina’s use of alcohol, marijuana and benzodiazepines caused her to lose custody of her child, who was placed with a foster family. This loss pushed Tina to come to CODA where she received detoxification services at the Tigard Recovery Center, then went on to intensive outpatient care at Hillsboro Recovery Center.

For the first time, she was safe, healthy, sober and able to care for her child. Then she relapsed. But Tina now knew that she had a chance for a very different life. She went back to work on reaching recovery, spending nearly a year in Gresham Recovery Center’s residential program. She reunited with her daughter, receiving support in parenting and caring for a child with complex health problems. Tina will next transition to Stepping Stones, CODA’s housing for women with children in Aloha, and she has a long-range plan of completing intensive and regular outpatient treatment so that she can have a home of her own, and give her daughter the childhood she never had.

David: A new life

Drugs had not been a part of David’s family history, yet after an injury and surgery, he found himself misusing pain medications. In the fall of 1995, he found himself taking up to 60 pills a day. The fear of detox kept him hooked on medications. The thought of coming off drugs alone was absolutely terrifying.

One winter night in February of 1996, David carried his sick grandfather to bed. His grandfather looked him in the eye and told the younger man he knew he had stolen some of his medication. His grandfather made David promise that he would quit using drugs. Three days later, David’s grandfather passed away. Four days later, David’s second daughter was born, and three weeks later, David sought treatment at CODA. Since then, David has been clean.

After receiving treatment at CODA, David says, “I felt fine. I felt normal. I felt good. There wasn’t anything to keep me from getting better.” Within six months, David had a job. Within nine months, he was able to seek custody of his first daughter. In two years, David had both his daughters at home, and was employed by a major company, assigned to a multi-million dollar advertising campaign.

When David speaks in public, to doctors, business leaders and Legislators, his first-time listeners are often shocked to learn he is a recovering person taking methadone; he shatters stereotypes and misconceptions as he describes his struggle and the treatment, recovery and success he has achieved.

Kim: Back on track

Kim had her life together—a child, two jobs, a home. When her longtime partner began using heroin, Kim eventually did too. Things deteriorated fast: she lost everything, including her two-year-old, within a year. At 32, Kim began methadone treatment at Portland Recovery Center, then moved to the Gresham women’s residential program, where she was reunited with her child. Kim is in outpatient methadone treatment, lives in her own apartment and is supporting herself.

Jack: Safer, healthier and looking ahead

Jack, 25, was homeless and using heroin last year when he came to the Clackamas Recovery Center through the county’s Adult Drug Court. As he worked to repair his health, Jack needed a place to live where he could protect his recovery. With CODA’s help he moved into substance-free, Oxford-style housing. Instead of a life in prison or on the streets, Jack now has a part-time job and is paying rent, with access to the ongoing support as a CODA outpatient that he needs to maintain his recovery.

Michelle: “…something to fight for”

Michelle was in her 30s before she realized that her unpredictable bouts of anger punctuated by crippling fears about leaving her home could be treated. Her mental health problems came to light when her use of opioid painkillers after a car accident brought her to CODA for help. The medicine and counseling she received helped her take steps toward healthier relationships and away from the dysfunctional life she’d always lived. She is candid about the difficulties she faces: “I’m always going to fight this fight, “ she says. “And now I have something to fight for.”


Survey responses: What do you like best about CODA?


From residential and detoxification clients:

“It makes me feel safe.”

“It is obvious that the staff, including kitchen and maintenance, care about us, the clients.
No matter what their particular history with substance abuse or education…they all
want us to get help for our addiction.”

“It gives me structure and good food.”

“Three meals a day, a bed to rest in, a roof over our heads, growing with people around me…”

“The kindness.”

“I was treated with respect.”

From Outpatient participants:

“Honest encouragement, realistic goals and forward thinking.”

“Warm, respectful environment.”

“People know me.”

“Classes fly by.”

“Counselors always tell it like it is.”

“If I need to talk, someone is always there.”

“Helped me get good care without insurance or a job.”