Betty Ford, the former First Lady of the United States died Friday at the age of 93. Dr. William Van Ornum gives this succinct summary of her life in a tribute on the website of the American Mental Health Foundation (AMHF):
Mrs. Ford was born in Chicago, grew up in modest circumstances, became a dancer, and married Mr. Ford shortly after he returned from the Navy in World War II. She thought she was signing up for a life with a mid-western lawyer; instead he chose politics and she was thrust into the role of a political wife, all the while raising 4 children and trying to keep her own interests as well.
Political life became difficult for her and she felt an emptiness inside from which she sought solace in alcohol and prescription pills. She was open about her addiction at a time when others weren’t. This courageous outlook gave others the encouragement either to seek help themselves or to be open about it with their families and communities.
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