If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Bear River Health (BRH), located in Northern Lower Michigan, is an essential service and thus, remains open to provide withdrawal management (detox treatment) and residential treatment programs. These treatment protocols are provided to the client for as long as necessary in order to learn skills for sustaining recovery. Amid COVID-19, precautionary measures have been taken to ensure a safe, effective, treatment environment.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is defined as a disease by most medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Similar to diabetes, cancer and heart disease, the cause of addiction is linked to a combination of behavioral, environmental and biological factors. These organizations define addiction as a disease due to the evidence of how the brain changes in response to situations involving rewards, stress, and self-control. These changes are long-term and can persist well after an individual has stopped using drugs or alcohol.


Many times, the recovery process begins with chemical withdrawal from one or more addictive substances, also known as detoxification. Going through withdrawal at home may seem like the easiest option, as it is where you are most comfortable. However, withdrawal does not come without consequences. There can be serious, life-threatening risks involved - especially on your own. Stopping a substance suddenly can cause the body to react in a series of symptoms. Sudden cessation can cause seizures, hallucinations, and even heart failure that may result in death. You never know how your body will react to detox until you are going through it. For some, the pain of withdrawal reaches a point where the individual resorts to using once again. Entering a treatment program gives access to medical treatment and assistance with any underlying co-occurring disorders. During a detox program, medical professionals are available to administer medications that can make withdrawal more gradual, easing symptoms.


One of the terms that is frequently used amid the pandemic is isolation. As a society, we are asked to isolate or quarantine ourselves to reduce risk of exposure or transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Isolation. A word that bears a great weight. As an old school reference, this word meant the complete separation from others as a person suffering from a contagious or infectious disease. At one time, the word brought about utter loneliness for the person afflicted with disease and near total disconnection from others, both body and spirit. Though still in use today, isolation no longer means we are devoid of connection. Today, even if one’s body needs to be isolated, their mind and spirit can connect with others using technology. This is especially important in the world of addiction and recovery.

Virtual Connection

BRH recognizes that the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the need for new platforms of connection, especially as it relates to the essential services that detoxification and residential programs provide. At this moment in a time of pandemic, when someone enters BRH’s recovery program, we now have the ability to test for COVID-19, however awaiting results clients are directed to a respiratory isolation room. This is a precautionary measure to keep staff and other clients safe. In earlier times, this step would have meant several days of self-discovery and review of materials on one’s own. Now through a platform of tablets and virtual meeting applications, these individuals interact with groups, engaging their minds and spirits. These are very important aspects of recovery. Once a person is cleared for integration into the general campus population, social distancing and increased hygiene protocols are strictly enforced. Virtual meetings are also revolutionizing the recovery community, allowing for more connection and support than ever. Previously, upon completion of treatment at Bear River Health, individuals would return home and visit when given the opportunity. Upon introducing clients to virtual meetings, individuals are reaching out through technology to remain connected to the support system they built while at Bear River Health. This found technology will continue to be used even as COVID-19 ceases. 

We Can Help

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Bear River Health is a premier center for drug and alcohol detoxification and addiction treatment services. Leading the change to help save people from a life of addiction, BRH embraced and brought forth innovative connection strategies to help those with addictive tendencies remain on the path to healthier life habits. With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, BRH’s capacity to continue offering a connection to ongoing treatment and recovery resources has been a lifeline for many in the journey to recovery.

Bear River Health has prioritized safety and remains committed to quality treatment, care, and aftercare services. When you are ready to find your pathway to recovery, BRH has services to assist you:

  • Withdrawal Management - you can rely on Bear River Health’s team of licensed professionals to provide a safe place to detoxify from substances

  • Residential - structured and intensive programs provided in a setting of 24/7 care and supervision; counseling, group and individual sessions help clients better understand the roots of their behavior and point them toward more productive and healthy paths to sustaining recovery

  • Transportation - for those admitted to our residential services, transportation to and from their current location to Boyne Falls can be arranged.

  • Transition or recovery home placement and facilitation - BRH works with providers of sober living homes in many areas and can help clients find a place to continue recovery through structured programs within sober living communities

  • Outpatient Services - Telehealth, Medically Assisted Treatment, and counseling can all be achieved through outpatient services. With offices in Gaylord, Boyne Falls and Harbor Springs, there are professional services available to help recovery efforts outside of residential services.

  • Alumni support - Bear River Health Foundation provides multiple pathway recovery meetings and connects recovery community resources to those in need. Currently, virtual meetings are available to provide continued support. For more information visit: myrecoverylife.org

The doors at Bear River Health are open, saving lives and fostering growth. Help is available, it’s ongoing and it works. For more information call
231-535-2822 or visit our website at www.bearriverhealth.com.