Betty Ford is Being Honored Today-Pioneer for Addiction & Breast Cancer Advocate

Betty Ford, former First Lady of the United St...

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Betty Ford passed away last week at the age of 93, the wife of former president Gerald Ford.  Many people will remember that she spoke out about Breast Cancer and was one of the first advocates for funding for this disease.  She also brought “Happy Hour” out of the living rooms of America into the limelight of addiction.

Yes Betty Ford spoke out about how “Happy Hour” used to start at 5 and continue until 9 p.m. and the children didn’t always have dinner.  She didn’t realize that “Happy Hour” was affecting her family until they did an intervention and she sought treatment.

Betty Ford set up the Betty Ford Center on the campus of Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California for people who needed help.  It had a an air of celebrity about it, but it worked.  It worked because Betty made sure the staff knew that everyone had to get back to life and have chores while they were in treatment.  Yes, the patients had to clean toilets and make beds and have kitchen duty, because that is what real people did at home.

My life and Betty’s crossed when my ex spouse went into the Betty Ford Center for treatment and I entered the family program so I would learn what had drawn me into a co-dependent alcoholic relationship.  After a week-long stay of the family program, I separated from my spouse and enrolled in a year-long program of after-care for families.  I also started working for the ad agency for the Eisenhower Medical Center.  After a year of after-care, I did not recreate the alcoholic in my relationships again.

We did programs for the Betty Ford Center from time to time and I would see Betty and she autographed her book for me.  She was very gracious and warm.

I attended a few of the reunions that the Center had for families and those who had attended the programs there.  Yes there were celebrities there, and no I will not show any names. Confidentiality is to be maintained always, and I chose to reveal that I was in the family program, but I can not reveal anyone else.

Her passing is the lose to the mental health field of addiction and the advocacy for breast cancer survivors.  I will miss her strength and her warm caring for everyone.