Like her husband, Betty was a Republican, but often championed causes that the White House discouraged. She was passionate about women's rights, and was vocal about issues such as abortion, drugs and sex. Despite pressure to stay quiet about controversial issues, Betty continued to advocate her positions.
"Here they are, she's thrown into something and she simply rises to the occasion," Dr. Robin says. "She doesn't lose her own authenticity…what she believed in. It could have, some say, cost her husband's reelection, and she did it anyway."
"I imagine that she did it because there is something about who she is that required that she live more in the truth than in lies; that she had some sense of bravery and courage that I feel we could all use a dose of," Dr. Robin says.
In 1978, Betty's family staged an intervention and urged her to check into a rehabilitation center for treatment of her addiction to alcohol and prescription medication. Following her recovery, Betty went on to found the Betty Ford Center to help others struggling with addiction.
"The message of Mrs. Betty Ford is this," Dr. Robin says. "Show up as a grown up. Do the work that is in front of you to heal whatever aches you, whatever the pains of the past are, and then seize the moment of today and live your best life."