Black Bear Lodge Reviews, Cost, Complaints

Black Bear Lodge


Black Bear LodgeBlack Bear Lodge Review

Nestled in the scenic foothills of Yonah Mountain in the northeastern corner of Georgia, Black Bear Lodge offers recovery for those struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Dual diagnosis is Black Bear Lodge’s specialty, and treatment advisers argue that substances are not the problem, they are the solution insofar as they are used to treat an underlying problem such as mental illness or previous trauma. This approach is a breath of fresh air for those who have self-medicated with substances but long to find healthier coping mechanisms and treatment.

Accommodations and Food

Beyond its treatment protocol, perhaps the greatest advantage of choosing Black Bear Lodge for rehabilitation is its awe-inspiring location. Hills and canyons blanketed with evergreen and deciduous trees stretch for miles in all directions. In the fall, the leaves change to brilliant shades of yellow and orange. In the winter, snow covers the landscape, making the lodge feel more like a mountain retreat than a rehab facility.

Black Bear Lodge was originally designed as a wedding resort and all of the original furniture and artwork remain intact, making it a stunning space. The interior features lodge-style decor with rough-hewn wood furniture, massive rock fireplaces and comfortable leather furniture. Black Bear Lodge offers a total of 85 beds, and bedrooms have a warm, cozy atmosphere. Some of the cabins house as many as a dozen men or women, but in the larger housing facility, each room offers two double beds with quilts, a desk and rocking chair.

Food is served in a large cafeteria, with menus designed by the lodge’s executive chef, Jordan Emerson, though he splits his time working for La Paloma, another rehab facility operated by the lodge’s parent company, Foundations Recovery Network.

Treatment and Staff

Treatment at Black Bear Lodge addresses substance abuse along with co-occurring mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder as well as grief, loss and previous psychological trauma. Treatment lasts for 30 days, although the program is able to care for residents for 90 days if that is determined to be beneficial. Sub-acute detox is available on-site along with physician-directed medication management. The treatment protocol does not follow a 12-step approach, though it supports residents who choose to follow the 12 steps and provides on-site and off-site meetings. The lodge uses numerous modalities, including DBT, CBT and acceptance and commitment therapy.

A sample daily schedule at Black Bear Lodge begins at 6:30 am with wake-up followed by chores at 7 am, then goal setting and meditation before an 8 am breakfast. Morning meetings are followed by educational seminars and process groups. Lunch is at 12:15 pm, followed by group and individual therapy, exercise and personal time before a 5 pm dinner. Evenings involve book studies, additional personal time and daily inventory. Saturdays are far less structured but include an outside meeting in the morning with an outing in the afternoon and a movie in the evening. On Sundays, an in-house meeting occurs before lunch and, in the afternoon, families are encouraged to visit.


Black Bear Lodge offers an outdoor pool for use during the summer along with a ropes course and a well-equipped fitness center.

In Summary

The staff at Black Bear Lodge recognizes the interconnected nature of addiction and mental illness and is equipped to help residents make healthy steps toward recovery. Its tranquil location may provide the perfect escape to help people transition to a life of recovery.

Black Bear Lodge Location

310 Black Bear Ridge
Sautee, GA 30571

Black Bear Lodge Cost

$29,600 (30 days). Reach Black Bear Lodge by phone at (877) 646-0667. Find Black Bear Lodge on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest

Do you have a complaint or review of Black Bear Lodge to add? Use the comments area below to add your Black Bear Lodge review.



  1. Black bear is ok. If you behave well and ask politely for use of your cell phone for legitamite purposes you will have a supervised cell phone call. I was waiting for a job offer at the time and my therapist Nicole let me check my phone every few days. For a place that touts dual diagnoses, they aren’t. For twelve step recovery they are excellent. Med staff is fair. I did have a blast while I was there so that’s a positive. When it came time to leave (I wanted to get home a few days early) they were absolute pricks. Gave me a partial completion and threw me out without even giving me a ride to a rental car agency. The maintenance man had to give me a ride which tells you how supportive the real staff are. Understand that if you respond to treatment well while you are at most facilities you will be moved to a php and you will pay room and board out of pocket the last week or so, so don’t be surprised if the biz office calls you in on day 20 and asks you to pay more out of pocket. Trust me everything is negotiable though. Bottom line this place is pretty good for recovery but skywood treatment center was by far a better option. Sober now and loving it

  2. After reading these negative comments they all seem ridiculous. Complaining about food, not being able to do whatever you want, being humiliated, etc? For one thing, in life a person SHOULD earn privileges. The food being served at BBL should be the least of anyone’s concerns. Maybe the “humiliation” was the person being forced to face their own problems and repercussions head on. Also, it’s a rehab recovery center so of course a person isn’t allowed ANY thing with alcohol (yes an addict will drink mouthwash, inhale vapors, etc.). There are good and bad everywhere but the complaints here seem borderline petty and silly. And the woman complaining she wasn’t allowed to be with her husband. Do what? Lady it’s not a couples resort! And it’s not about YOU. In your comment you complained b/c he couldn’t have any dessert? Seriously? And how is a person humiliated by given a quarter at the zoo to feed the animals? The people don’t need $ there b/c BBL furnishes everything. And why you think they encourage tearing apart family’s is stupid. Maybe you’re afraid your spouse will get sober and realize he’s married to a moron?

  3. My husband was given the option of jail or rehab. Looking back on it now, I wish he had chosen jail. I was all for rehab and thought this will be great for him. Just as one of the others posted, if you are not a smoker, do not go here. Your loved ones can send you as many packs/cartons of cigarettes as you want, but you can’t give them a bag of hard candy or a bag of sunflower seeds. You get absolutely no sugar there, not that we need sugar, but seriously, how about a dessert once in awhile? But yet again, have all the cigarettes you want. And, one cup of coffee a day, but don’t put cream or sugar in it.

    My major concern is the fact that the counselors push that your addict needs to be alone to recover. They teach/preach/brainwash that your addict doesn’t need interference from family members. They almost basically tell you to leave your spouse and your family to heal yourself. I don’t know about everyone else, but my marriage vows said for better for worse and in sickness and in health. Last I checked, addiction was a sickness. We have been married 32 years and the counselors (who are all single/divorced by the way) are basically brainwashing him to believe that he would be better off without me. Just give up on 32 years of marriage. Shouldn’t they be teaching you to work your problems out together? And, by the way, I do not drink so I’m not a “bad influence” on his sobriety. Also, the so-called “family week” is a joke. I was not able to attend, thankfully, because of work commitments. What I did hear is that the majority of the spouses who came to support their loved ones during family week left angry and ready to end the relationship/marriage.

    They also tell you that you get to go fishing and zip lining all the time to get you to go to that rehab facility. You get to do those things, but only if you “earn” the right. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with that. However, my husband will have been there 27 of the 30 days before he gets to go fishing, and as far as I know, has been a model “prisoner”…. I mean patient. They also took a group to the zoo. That’s great, but then they humiliate them by handing them each a quarter to buy food to feed the animals. They aren’t even allowed to have money to buy a water or a soda while there. My husband said that some of the ladies pooled their quarters together and bought a soda to share.

    They also promote that the patients leave to live in a sober living house across the country and away from their families. Just seems crazy to me that they put so much emphasis on breaking apart the family.

    Maybe I’m the crazy one.

  4. If you don’t smoke don’t go here. They tout 5 star however it can’t be further from the truth. Coffee is limited because of its addictive nature however smoking is nearly encouraged. You are treated as an inmate and don’t have a voice. The inappropriate behavior from other women is disregarded which creates discord from other women who are there to heal. The required meetings which are co Ed allow for disrepectful talk and down grading of women. The counselors either have poor training or lack of authority to deal with these issues. BBL caters to low class yet charges high class prices. $30,000 if you don’t have insurance and upwards of $50,000 if you do. They kick some people out when their insurance doesn’t pay yet make deals with others behind closed doors asking them to keep the deal private. The day is so scheduled out you don’t have time to process during sessions. Quiet and recreational time to rest is minimal. Meal times are a free for all where men and staff are served first to where there is little food left. When you are paying upwards of $40,000 and staff are being well fed before residents is poor practice. Medical treatment is hard to come by. Several residents including myself developed pneumonia and were not given proper care. The after care that is supposed to be included was non existent. I came home to fend for myself. When they claimed to secure counseling I met with someone who had no idea I was there for substance abuse. Yet another reason to go elsewhere is the fact that when I checked in all of my jewelry went missing for a week and when I pushed for its whereabouts it suddenly appeared with no explanation. When I was allowed outside contact I had someone looking over my shoulder critiquing the emails I sent to my daughter. I was stolen from and bullied and wish I had bailed with my friend who had enough sense to check out and go to another more reputable facility in California. I do NOT recommend Black Bear in any circumstance.

  5. Just recently discharged from black bear as of Labor Day 2016. Black bear is an amazing place for dual recovery. You own your recovery. Yes, they may take all your things that you loved so much… Cell phone, makeup, perfume, explicite clothing, etc. and make you earn the right to take a dip in the pool or watch a movie. Recovery and sobriety isn’t just given to you. It is earned. They want you to be cut from all distraction to focus on your self and what you went to the facility for. And for the professionals that need to do work, it is possible just need to be polite and honest with your therapist and they will help you with anything. Black bear gave me a second chance at life and better out look. I finally got to see what I am as a person sober. 134 days sober and I owe that to the staff. All of them, everyone has a connection to recovery of some-sort. House keeping, therapist, Ra, the doctors, everyone is amazing. Like I said they allow you to make your Own recovery. You just have to be ready and commit.

  6. This place saved my daughter’s life. We had tried other rehabs before but she always relapsed as soon as she got out of treatment and was placed in a “sober living house”. My daughter absolutely loved the place after she had detoxed. I was concerned about all of the negative reviews but decided to give it a shot anyway because my insurance would cover the treatment and the place looked beautiful (and it is). That was the best decision I have ever made. My daughter is a totally different person now. She is in California now in the second stage of her treatment, a 90 day supervised sober living home. There she is provided with supervision, rides to the doctor, the gym, meetings and help with anything else she needs. We just have to pay copays and her food. She is becoming a spiritual and well balanced human being and I am breathing easier than I have in 4 years.

    • Zoe Biller on

      Just in response to some of the rules and regulations they have, most addicts need this structure and discipline and of course they will resent it at first. But my daughter was completely out of control, had given up on a normal life and was going to be dead in a month. She had already overdosed 4 times that I know of. She was not capable of making good decisions, so yes, they needed to be made for her and then she needed to be taught how to live in an organized society with rules. I am sure alot of addicts resent this loss of freedom but it is the way rehab has to work.
      If addicts could make good choices, then they wouldn’t be addicts and they wouldn’t need rehab. My daughter said that the rules were not any stricter than any other rehab she had been to. The difference was the staff that really cared about her, the serene and isolated atmosphere and the excellent follow up.

    • Renee shazle on

      Could you tell me what insurance company you have looking to get the best coverage I can I currently only have a home want pay for anything. Thank you Ian looking in to black bear for my son.

  7. annouymous on

    I felt I was in the movie ‘One flew over the Cookoo’s nest” while I was there. I thought the staff was all smiles but really wolves in sheep’s clothing. They treated me horrible by patronizing me, taking my belongings away, and pushing me around. I felt like I was in jail in “kidddie camp,” Their staff is mostly 20 year old trying to prove their own ego. I was traumatized and almost died there. They finally rushed me off to ER and sent me all the bills. Melissa lied to me about “your insurance will pay for everything.” When I got home I found they processed “out of Network doctors. Now In owe a fortune. BEWARE!! These people are scary.

    • I am an addict in recovery , as well as an employee of BBL. From my own experience, when I decided to change my life I was a 35 year old 13 year old. I NEEDED someone to treat me like the child I was acting like. I had to learn to grow up again and that included structure and rules. I know that BBL is very much a treatment facility that adheres to that policy.
      As for the staff at BBL. Most of them are in recovery and doing their jobs. For the most part, people who work at BBL put their heart and souls into their jobs. We get satisfaction seeing an addict come in broken and leave 30 days later a different person.
      Like any place, not everyone is happy with their results. But, as a whole BBL has a high success rate, much higher than most places,
      As for the facility, it is more like a country club than a rehab. WOW! A chef, a pool, a gym, cabins, HUGE staff, etc. I could go on about the facility and I am sorry you were traumatized. I hope you have found a place to help you get clean and find a new way to live.

  8. Mr Barnaby on

    This place is a complete joke . . . they tout themselves as a dual diagnosis, co occurring and mental health treatment center and they dole out psych meds and lay some heavy psych diagnosis on many patients without even having a psychiatrist on staff at all! They have a couple of old, tired and worn out – has been doctors blindly giving patients any medication they deem fit. The therapists are jokes themselves with one quitting because all of his patients wanted a new therapist, not wanting to deal with his inability to engage. I mean after all, you spell it “the.rapist”.
    the food is outright disgusting. they serve dry chicken on a daily basis. now of course you don’t go to rehab for the food, but again, they claim online to have had a “5 star” chef and you have to see what is served.
    the RA’s (Resident Assistants) are complete morons and need a refresher course in hospitality as they mostly have no emotions and see their jobs to “police” patients instead of assist in their treatment.
    the most consistent thing here is the inconsistency . . and the lack of communication amongst staff is amazing. their left hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. they are total incompetents and the medical staff is borderline malpractice
    i regret ever going to this god forsaken place . . .

  9. Tanya scarlett on

    Beware of the call center and the promises they make they will tell you whatever you want to hear to get you in the door especially regarding airfare.
    They really need to have security for people that act up so much drama in the women’s community staff are not allowed to restrain patients which makes it dangerous for other patients to be there. There’s no doubt that the staff there are committed and caring people but my experience was less than favorable due to the drama and being misled by the call center.

  10. Tanya scarlett on

    Beware of the call cente and the promises they make they will tell you whatever you want to hear to get you in the door especially regarding airfare.
    They really need to have security for people that act up so much drama in the women’s community staff are not allowed to restrain patients which makes it dangerous for other patients to be there. There’s no doubt that the staff there are committed and caring people but my experience was less than favorable due to the drama and being misled by the call center.

    • Can you elaborate on the call center and airfare ? I’m considering this for my 25 year old son. Needs to have a dual care, mental health and addiction issues.
      Many thanks.

  11. Shelly Tomlinson on

    I entered Black Bear Lodge voluntarily because our insurance would cover some of the payment. The dual diagnoses aspect is oversold. After 10 days of being humiliated, lied to, and stripped of my human rights, I was able to transfer to The Center – A Place of Hope, in Edmonds, Washington. I still have nightmares about my experience at Black Bear.

  12. The primary therapist was horrible and antagonistic. She made my sty there miserable and I woke up nervous about having to deal with her. It was not therapeutic. I was not allowed to make phone calls to my legal representation or work as other posters have mentioned. I was not allowed to use the computer to take care of finances while I was there for a month. If you are a professional with responsibilities I highly suggest going somewhere else.
    Also, the grounds are very nice but you can’t really experience them as you are really confined to the small area. The staff other than the therapist was very nice and tried to be as helpful as possible.

  13. Black Bear literally saved my life. I went in a broken drug fueled soul and came out in a whole new state of awareness. The staff is exceptional, the food outstanding and the beautiful surroundings living in nature and hiking the trails, brought me peace and serenity to heal again. I would totally recommend this place, the best treatment facility I’ve ever been to. I am healthy and sober and happy for the first time in a long time!

  14. Just like high school I agree. I felt sorry for the staff. Daily searches and having watch you piss in a cup even though you walked in voluntarily. I chose to go and soon realized I wasted thirty grand cash. I think I need therapy for that. Peace

  15. Good food, nice staff but no need to stay for more than a week to detox. Everything after that is just repetition every 3 days they tell you the same thing over and over so you might as well just go to AA or NA and save your f****** money good luck.

  16. Worst experience ever! We worked so hard to get my friend to go and to get medical clearance, and breathed a sigh of relief when he agreed to go to black bear. We were desperate to get him in treatment. It was literally a life or death situation. Well one week into his stay, he was receiving messages from work that he was going to be terminated due to his failure to respond to them. He went to his counselor at black bear and was denied the “privilege” of using his phone, even though the counselor was aware of the situation. When my friend became angry, (and who wouldn’t?) black bear told him he needed to leave. He had an hour to go back to his lodge, pack, and be on his way. No time to plan the next step, no transportation back home (he lives 10 hours away). Seriously, what treatment facility just throws someone out on the streets with nothing and no one? I am furious, and don’t know what will happen now. Don’t send loved ones to this horrible, uncaring prison.

  17. Shannon Wallace on

    Worst treatment center ever! ! The cabins are flooded with poisonous black scorpions, fruit flies and bed bugs. The set up is compared to those like a prison. You have to earn privileges such as using the pool or gym or even watching a movie during your one hour free time. None of the cabins even have a phone for emergencies, such as for purposes of dialing 911. The women there act ridiculous, almost comparable to high school, nothing but drama. It is NOT coed either, if you are caught speaking with any of the guys you are immediately reprimanded. Any products containing alcohol such as hair conditioner, makeup remover, etc, you have to ask to use each time. Even cotton swabs! If you take any prescriptions of your own, even motrin, non narcotics as well as over the counter meds you can buy at rite aid, they will NOT return to you, they discard EVERYTHING. when i was discharged they didn’t even give me my prescribed anti depressants that i was on prior and during my stay. You can only make ONE ten minute phone call ONCE a week NO EXCEPTIONS. they do not allow you to use your cellphone or the computer. They even confiscate inappropriate clothing. They do not allow any caffeine products, soda, tea or even coffee!!! This place didn’t benefit me whatsoever. I encourage anyone to look elsewhere!!!

  18. McKenzie,
    Can you give me some specifics of what you liked about Black Bear Lodge and if you or a loved one has had any other rehab experiences good or bad and where? We are looking for a place for our son and are considering Black Bear. It’s so difficult to choose a place without hearing how it’s worked out for others.

  19. This place is so blessed. These people are gifted to the world of addiction and mental disease by God (whatever your understanding of God is.) Saying I recommend this place is such an understatement. Words can even describe my gratitude towards Black Bear Lodge


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