“My makeup wasn’t smeared, I wasn’t disheveled, I behaved politely,and I never finished off a bottle, so how could I be alcoholic?” ~Betty Ford
A woman that I admire passed away a few days ago. We heard the news on TV about the death of the amazing former First Lady, Betty Ford. She was recognized worldwide for her candor about her personal struggles with breast cancer, alcohol and addiction. Shortly after leaving the White House she admitted she was going into treatment for her addiction. The preconceived face of the female alcoholic changed that day, replaced by this beautiful, smart, energetic woman who famously behaved politely. She wasn’t a stumbling, rude, social misfit! It was a giant step for women struggling with alcoholism and addiction. Through her public admission, Mrs. Ford removed the social stigma of women’s addictions
She helped so many women by being open about her own battles. Mrs. Ford openly discussed her breast cancer and the required surgery with the press. She posed for photos shortly after her operation and was very candid about her mastectomy. This─ at a time when the word was barely whispered! A subject that had been taboo became news headlines and people were finally free to openly discuss their personal battles.
Mrs. Ford was a strong women’s advocate throughout her life. I loved reading an article about her recently that described her going to the Betty Ford clinic, walking into meetings and introducing herself: “Hi, I am Betty Ford; I am an alcoholic and an addict”. I can just imagine the reassurance that her presence gave the others in attendance.
Living life authentically, with grace and appreciation for what you have, is what Betty Ford showed us all how to do. Even when confronted with personal challenges, she openly shared her feelings of trepidation about them. I know that she has left an indelible mark in the recovery community and has advanced the treatment of addiction to where it is today. Thank you, Betty Ford.
If you’ve been moved by the life of Betty Ford or other inspirational women, famous or not, who have overcome addictions or other forms of abuse, please share your stories and reflections below! I look forward to reading them.
Mal Duane is a certified Personal Life Coach with more than 23 years in recovery from alcoholism, who has overcome devastating life challenges using the steps in the Alpha Chick Process. Her personal mission is to help women excel in all areas of their lives from business to personal relationships and attract that which they most desire, as she has, through a connection to the divine power within. Her book Alpha Chick, Five Steps for Moving from Pain to Power is coming in February 2012.
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