Cover image for Healing and hope : six women from the Betty Ford Center share their powerful journeys of addiction and recovery
Healing and hope : six women from the Betty Ford Center share their powerful journeys of addiction and recovery
Ford, Betty, 1918-2011.
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Publication Information:
New York : Putnam [2003]

Physical Description:
275 pages ; 24 cm
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RC564.74.C2 F67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
RC564.74.C2 F67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Laurette was only a high school freshman when she started drinking and doing drugs. Her father absent, her mother emotionally abusive, Laurette joined a gang for survival. By nineteen she was in jail. After being released, Laurette discovered she had a gift for cooking, and over the next decade worked her way up to become a renowned sous chef. But drugs and alcohol still controlled her, and slowly tore apart everything she had worked so hard for. On the verge of self-destruction, threatened with losing her career, Laurette entered the Betty Ford Center -- and for the first time, took control of her life. Laurette's story is remarkable, but she's not alone. She is one of six women in Healing and Hope who experienced the pain and devastation of addiction -- and managed to break free. Originally brought together by the Betty Ford Center's twentieth-anniversary reunion, these women share their poignant stories in this book. Their combined voices create a groundbreaking and ultimately triumphant memoir that lays bare the destructive power of addiction. These are regular women, not celebrities, and they cross a broad spectrum of race, age, and class. One is a nurse, another a housewife, another a schoolteacher. They were addicted to alcohol, prescription medications, illegal drugs, or a combination of the three. For some, treatment was successful the first time around, while for others the journey to recovery was much more arduous. Former First Lady Betty Ford weaves her own commentary around their narratives, giving insight into the women's lives -- what they went through at the Center and what happened afterward -- and shares stories about her own battle with alcohol and prescription drugs. Healing and Hope is an intimate, intensely moving look at the power of addiction and the difficult journey to sobriety. These stories are honest and open, at times funny, often heartbreaking, always compelling. Book jacket.

Author Notes

Betty Ford, 1918 - Elizabeth Anne Bloomer Ford was born on 1918 in Chicago, Illinois. She grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, here she graduated from high school. She studied Modern Dance at Bennington College in Vermont. She then went to New York and joined Martha Graham's concert group as well as working as a model for the John Roberts Powers firm.

Ford eventually went back to Grand Rapids and became a fashion coordinator in a department store. She also organized a dance group and taught dance to handicapped children. Her first marriage had ended after five years, but Betty married Gerald Ford in 1948, becoming an active supporter in his campaign. She did not plan on being the First Lady, it came as something of a surprise but she met the challenge head on, speaking out on controversial subjects such as the Equal Rights Amendment.

In 1974, Ford underwent surgery for breast cancer and spoke about her struggle with the disease, hoping that, as First Lady, she could make the world more aware of the plight of women. She also spoke of her own dependence on alcohol and drugs and helped establish the Betty Ford Center, a place for people to go who wanted to recover from drug and alcohol abuse.

She has written her own memoirs, "Betty: A Glad Awakening" as well as books on drug abuse and books about being a part of American History.

Betty Ford died July, 8, 2011.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

To take readers inside the famous addiction-recovery clinic that bears her name, Ford stitches together the stories of six who have been through its program and relevant recollections of her own struggle with alcoholism. She chooses six women to point up the peculiarities of women's addiction. Compared to male addicts, addicted women are more secretive, more easily inebriated, sustain liver damage sooner, present more complex psychological problems, and are more enabled by physicians and pharmacists. The overarching difference is that expectations of virtue are higher for women; consequently, they are more likely to see themselves as failures at love, motherhood, their professions--indeed, at living. Their addictions are attempts to medicate their perceived failures. It is remarkable, though Ford doesn't point it out, that one or both parents of five of the women were addicted and abusive, and the family of the sixth was emotionally repressed. Whatever leads a woman to addiction, she, not society, Ford says, must get herself out of it, although the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous regimen and the fellowship of other reforming addicts, which the Ford Center provides intensively, are crucial to making an addict realize personal responsibility for recovery. With its six powerful personal stories and Ford's warm, authoritative overview, this is a solid popular introduction to the experience of recovery from addiction. --Ray Olson Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Since 1982, the Betty Ford Clinic has treated more than 60,000 people, 50 percent of them women. Here, six pseudonymous female patients share their moving stories of despair and hope. Although from different backgrounds, all of them are who they are owing to profound addiction to drugs and alcohol. Their narratives are divided into three sections: "Inferno" (their early lives), "Purgatorio" (their years of addiction), and "Paradiso" (the success or failure of those who have embarked upon the journey of recovery). Readers come face to face with the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that these women suffered-and the years of addiction that resulted. They will also realize that addicts aren't always down-and-out types-most, in fact, are functioning members of society. What makes this book so remarkable is the commentary throughout by former First Lady Ford, who charts the progress of all six women, speaks broadly of the center's goals, and offers personal insight on addiction. Profound in its societal implications, the book is also a very good read. Highly recommended for all public libraries and academic women's studies collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/03.]-Melody Ballard, Washoe Cty. Lib. Syst., Reno, NV (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Nancy Waite-O'Brien, Ph.D.Betty FordBetty Ford
Introductionp. 1
Prologuep. 7
I Inferno: What It Was Like Before
1. Homecomingp. 15
2. Good Mommies, Bad Mommiesp. 34
3. Downhillp. 53
4. The Funeral Cortegep. 75
II Purgatorio: What Happened?
5. It's All About Secretsp. 103
6. Behavior Unbecoming a Ladyp. 127
7. Circles, Chants and Tibetan Chimesp. 152
8. Christmas Past, Christmas Presentp. 176
III Paradiso: What It's Like Now
9. "Cunning, Baffling and Powerful"p. 205
10. Completing the Healing Circlep. 232
11. Chanting Odes to Recoveryp. 251
Epiloguep. 271
Resourcesp. 273