July 22, 2012
Case Study of Betty Ford
Substances, such as alcohol, are used for a variety of different reasons. Alcohol is often used as a way to celebrate a special occasion. It can also be used to help an individual “take the edge off” when he or she is feeling overwhelmed. Many individuals use alcohol when gathered with others in a social setting, while others may drink alcohol when spending time alone. The use of alcohol can become a problem when the individual begins to face challenges in his or her daily life. Some of these challenges can include increasing problems with emotional or physical health, the ability to maintain a steady job, and a steady withdrawal from family and friends. Sometimes, an individual may become completely dependent on alcohol in order to feel as if he or she is functioning properly. An individual who has built up a tolerance to alcohol will need to not only drink every day, but will also need to drink in increasingly larger amounts in order to feel good. One of the most notable and famous cases of substance abuse and alcoholism is that of Betty Ford. Betty Ford was the wife of President Gerald R. Ford and was considered as one of the most influential First Ladies in American History. Some of Betty Ford’s greatest accomplishments included her advocacies in breast cancer awareness as well as women’s rights (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). Although Betty Ford was well known and admired for these accomplishments, she became an even greater influence in our modern history when she was able to admit to and overcome her lifelong struggles with alcohol and prescription medications. Betty Ford
Betty Ford grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan as the youngest of three children and the only daughter to father, William Bloomer, and mother, Hortense Neahr (The National First Ladies’ Library, 2012). Although Betty’s experiences growing up were both positive and pleasant, her mother was a perfectionist who had exceptionally high expectations for her children, and her father was a traveling salesman who very rarely spent time at home. When Betty was 16 years of age her father passed away. Because her father rarely spent time at home, it wasn’t until after his passing that she discovered that he was an alcoholic. Betty also discovered that her older brother Robert was also an alcoholic.
Betty’s first taste of alcohol was in her youth when her mother would add bourbon to a cup of hot tea as a means to reduce the effects of an illness (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). As a young adult, Betty enjoyed socializing with friends at night clubs where she was not only able to dance but to indulge in a few drinks. Her experiences at the night clubs made her realize how much she loved to dance and it lead her to pursue her ultimate dream of dancing. She followed her dream to study dance to a school in New York, however she did not have the success that she was hoping to find. The feeling of disappointment and failure led Betty to increase the amount of alcohol that she was consuming, and eventually led her to go back home to her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Betty married twice in her lifetime. Her first marriage ended after five years when it was discovered that socializing at night clubs was destroying their marriage. After her first divorce, she met and married Gerald (Jerry) Ford, who was an active, powerful, and dominating force in the political arena. During their marriage, Betty and Jerry also raised four children with whom the couple had a very loving relationship with. Although the marriage between the two was also strong and loving, Jerry continued to put his political career ahead of everything, including his own family, which often made Betty feel lonely and isolated. After Jerry was elected as President, Betty began to feel a sense of renewed hope. She had the ability to become involved in several different causes which made her feel happy and...