Former first lady Betty Ford has died at age 93. I wanted to honor her here, because her honesty and bravery about her own battles with substance abuse went far in smashing the stigma attached to addiction.
ABC News said it best in its obituary:
She lived in the White House in an era during which she was expected to simply serve tea and host luncheons but instead, she fought for women’s rights and spoke openly about her battle with breast cancer.
She was best known for her willingness to go public about her dependency on prescription medication and alcohol — and her determination to help others with the same problem.
There’s still a lot of work to be done. Stigmas still surround mental illness and there’s still much people don’t understand about addictive behavior.
But thanks to Betty, we are in a much better place.