On July 8th, Betty Ford died at the age of 93. Mrs. Ford will be remembered for her fearlessness in speaking her truth regardless of public opinion. She was a leader of the Women’s Movement and was unafraid to comment on any topic, regardless of its controversy.
After a Ford family intervention in 1978, Betty tackled her alcoholism and pill addiction and parlayed her own successful recovery into the creation of the Betty Ford Clinic, a leading center in the battle against alcoholism and other chemical dependencies.
Betty received a mastectomy in 1974 to battle her breast cancer, and her open discussion of the surgery and healing process shed light on a taboo issue and helped other women gain the courage to pursue treatment and was the catalyst for more medical research into the proper treatment of the disease.
Ford’s recovery from alcohol and pills took place at Long Beach Naval Hospital, and the experience was chronicled on her influential memoir, A Glad Awakening.
The Betty Ford Clinic has treated over 90,000 patients, but Ford’s contributions to the fight against alcoholism and addiction has led to many more success stories than only those of her particular business. Her personal recovery helped open a dialogue on these life threatening illnesses and has been paramount to the evolution of all aspects of drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
We at The Orchard can only hope to follow in her footsteps.