While a crisis is usually what leads someone to enter an addiction treatment center, the good stuff is on the other side. We took a behind-the-scenes tour of Bradford Health Services’ Warrior campus, treating adults age 19 and up, and what we found was a far cry from the stark, locked rooms we expected. Keep reading to find out what it was like and how Bradford supports program alumni on their lifelong recovery journey.
The journey to community starts on the lower campus
Built in the 1970s, the Warrior campus has the feel of a a well-maintained summer camp, or lodge, with gorgeous grounds and facilities, including a challenge course.
We learned that the lower campus Warrior Lodge building, located down a woodsy, winding road, is the first stop on the journey at Bradford’s Warrior Campus.
Jennifer Gibson, Alumni Coordinator and a Bradford graduate herself explained that this is where they help patients detox and become medically stable—then Bradford can provide them with the tools and resources they need for long-term recovery.
“We make sure that the detox process is safe and comfortable. We use medications that will keep you out of withdrawal. Then, it’s a taper process over a four-to-five-day period. Your first 24 hours are going to be in detox. Then, once you get the all clear to participate, you’ll immediately settle in the cottages and join in on the fellowship and community Bradford offers.”Jennifer Gibson, Alumni Coordinator, Bradford Health Services
Jennifer explained that the average stay on the lower campus is around three weeks.
The goal at Bradford’s Warrior campus is to get to the other side
Jennifer said that the challenge course is a lot of people’s favorite part of treatment. Alumni often come back for monthly reunions to have the chance to experience the fellowship and community that come from the experience.
“What surprised me about coming to Bradford is how incredibly vibrant and connected everything was. There’s a flavor for everybody. Addiction thrives in isolation, so the goal is to leave Bradford and find community.”Jennifer Gibson, Alumni Coordinator, Bradford Health Services
The upper campus at Bradford’s Warrior campus is for specialty programs + longer-term stays
Limestone Ridge at Bradford’s Warrior campus. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)
Jennifer explained that they treat a variety of people on the upper campus, Limestone Ridge, with a focus on healthcare professionals, business professionals, attorneys, first responders, active duty military, and veterans, who they try to program with peers. They also treat a number of people with chronic relapse.
A lot of the focus is on addressing grief and trauma as barriers to recovery, with support from healthcare professionals, including medical doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors to determine a treatment plan.
These Extended Care Programs generally last anywhere from six to 12 weeks and incorporate a spiritual component in a way that works for each individual participant.
Patients sleep, eat, and find entertainment in the residential halls, and are encouraged to grocery shop and cook for themselves.
“We try to give them the best sense of normalcy we can. We want them to be prepared to step right back into their real life when they leave here.”Jennifer Gibson, Alumni Coordinator, Bradford Health Services
Recovery is a lifelong process
The goal at Bradford is to “make sure we’re providing every person with every tool possible to be successful in recovery,” according to Gibson.
In reality, this takes two key forms:
- Support at Bradford
- Community support and outpatient programs
Bradford has several outpatient facilities across the Southeast as well as telehealth outpatient options.
For people in the Birmingham area, the goal is to complete treatment at a Bradford campus, then start outpatient therapy at their offices near the intersection of Highway 31 and I-65.
Jennifer stressed that recovery is not like surgery, where your journey ends after PT. They always recommend outpatient therapy, then community recovery groups to help with the ongoing recovery process.
- We also toured the Madison campus, which features mobility and veterans services: Debunking myths about this local addiction treatment center—all you need to know.
- And here’s another take on the Warrior campus tour: This unique addiction recovery campus in Warrior seamlessly blends with nature—take a tour
Jennifer explained that Birmingham’s recovery community is incredibly vibrant, with a flavor for everybody.
“If somebody calls for help, we’re going to take the call and make sure they get help, even if they do not end up in our program—we know it’s hard to make that call, and we want to make sure they get the support they need.”