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Betty Ford

Betty Ford was a woman who came to be admired and loved during and after the time her husband Gerald Ford served as the President of the United States. She found a way to overcome addiction to pills and alcohol, and aided in the founding of the Betty Ford Center, one of the most well-known American rehabilitation centers.


Betty Ford
 

Through all the years, her husband found strength in her, helping him to lead the country through some difficult days. She was admired for the courage she displayed in not only facing her struggles, but in sharing them with the people in the United States. She put a high-profile face to a problem that is too often dealt with by denial.

Betty Ford was a popular first lady and she was open in her speech about what she believed in. After her husband's term was over and then again after his death, she could usually be found at the clinic that bore her name.

Mrs. Ford also battled breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy, although this is not as often discussed as is her battle with addiction. She began to become dependent on medications in 1964. She was prescribed a medicine for pain related to a pinched nerve and neck injury. She also drank to excess, especially when her husband's political career caused him to be absent from the home a great deal.

Feeling Less Important ...

Betty Ford faced her loneliness and lack of self-esteem without a way to express the way she was feeling. She dealt with her self-imposed insecurities by resorting to alcohol and pills. She understood later in life that she was actually trying to wipe out not only physical pain, but emotional pain, as well. She loved being the wife of a political figure, but it made her feel less important.

The year after the Fords left the White House, her family, along with a few close friends, confronted Betty Ford about her abuse of pills and alcohol. She refused at that time to acknowledge that she even had a problem and was upset with her family for bringing the issue to light. Eventually she would decide to seek treatment for her addiction at California's Long Beach Naval Hospital.

Her eventual triumph over her addictions resulted in the dedication of the Betty Ford Center in 1982. It is located near Palm Springs, California. The venture was not for profit, and she headed the plans to build the center along with Leonard K. Firestone, who raised a large part of the monies needed.

The 12 Steps of Betty Ford ...

The Betty Ford Center adopted the philosophy of 12 steps from Alcoholics Anonymous. This philosophy is based on learning about the identification and expression of feelings, as well as on interaction with peers. The center would be home to various celebrities through the years, spending time there for their problems.

Mrs. Ford was always hesitant about taking credit for the work done at the center, even though it bore her name. She wanted the credit to go to the people who were actually overcoming their demons. She endeavored to make the center a place where everyone would feel that they were important, and that they had dignity.

 
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