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Addiction is a Disease: In Memoriam of Betty Ford

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“It is with great sadness that we inform you that our beloved mother Betty Ford has passed away at 93 years of age. She died peacefully today at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California.

Mother’s love, candor, devotion, and laughter enriched our lives and the lives of the millions she touched throughout this great nation. To be in her presence was to know the warmth of a truly great lady.

Mother’s passing leaves a deep void, but it also fills us with immeasurable appreciation for the life we and Dad shared with her.”

Susan Ford Bales
Steven Meigs Ford
John Gardner Ford
Michael Gerald Ford

Betty Ford Clinic

In 1956, Alcoholism was declared as an illness by the American Medical Association (AMA) but for many years people still viewed addiction as a choice and not a disease. In 1978, Betty Ford, former First Lady, would transform the idea of addiction and treatment by checking herself into rehab. She had gone public and admitted she had a problem with Drugs and Alcohol, making it socially acceptable to seek treatment. As a result of her honesty and perseverance she paved the way for many suffering addicts’ years to come to seek help for their own addiction.

In 1982, Betty Ford along with her dear friend, Ambassador Leonard Firestone, started The Betty Ford Center inCalifornia. Her dream was to emphasize the special needs for individuals in treatment.

“Most of the treatment at that time was hospital based,” Betty said. “Leonard Firestone and I realized we wanted a recovery hospital that would be less institutionalized and more of a relaxed setting in these mountains with their serenity and the beauty of them where people would be able to reach a spiritual feeling about their recovery.”

Betty Ford was actively involved in a 12 step program as well as herTreatmentCenter. She frequented the facility often sharing her experience, strength, & hope so that others could believe that they would recover too. She not only made it acceptable for women to admit they were alcoholics and addicts but she made it acceptable for anyone of any age, social standing, or culture to admit they had a problem with chemical dependence.

This past July 8th, Betty Ford died at 93 as a sober and clean woman. She helped create awareness forAmerica by lending her name, energy and experience as an individual in recovery.

She will continue to help those who suffer as the world has come to love and adore the strength, honesty, and leadership skills from the woman whose experiences and ideas have helped so many obtain the courage to seek recovery.

The Watershed is an accredited alcohol and drug treatment center staffed with highly trained addiction specialists who understand. If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse, please contact us on our 24 hour Helpline at 1-800-861-1768.

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