As the former chairman of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, businessman Harry Henderson was acutely aware of the human and social consequences of addiction. Determined to take action against the problem, Henderson established in 1948 and incorporated in 1950 the Foundation that today is Ascension Brighton Center for Recovery. At the start Henderson had much help and encouragement from Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and from Marty Mann, the founder of the national Council on Alcoholism.
The Bloomfield Hills Sanatorium was founded in 1943, and it was here in 1950 that the Foundation first established beds dedicated to treating alcoholism. Acknowledging its success and recognizing the growth in demand for addiction treatment, the Foundation acquired the Glen Lore Manor, a women’s home established in the 1930s. The resources of the Sanatorium were relocated to the 92-acre site east of the city of Brighton. On October 1, 1953, Brighton Hospital opened its doors as the first addiction treatment center in Michigan.
At the time, Brighton Hospital had the support of trustees who were community leaders, lawyers, judges, and physicians with nearly a decade of experience with 12-Step abstinence programs. Brighton was a pioneer in North America in the treatment of addiction, preceding other rehabilitation centers by at least seven years. We were openly and actively treating soldiers returning home from World War II with serious drinking problems and suffering from post-traumatic stress.
In 2011, after a ten-year business partnership, Brighton Hospital joined St. John Providence and became part of Ascension Health, the largest faith-based healthcare organization in the country. The hospital changed its name to Ascension Brighton Center for Recovery, but its commitment to the continuing sobriety of alcoholics and the drug addicted remains as strong as ever.