Former first lady Betty Ford says the six years...

GROSSE POINTE FARMS, Mich. -- Former first lady Betty Ford says the six years since she began her recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse have been the best of her life.

Mrs. Ford, who travels across the country to speak about substance abuse, said Thursday her family conspired to get her into a treatment center after discovering her problem.


'They schooled themselves at an intervention center on how to break down any defenses I might have before they confronted me,' she told 2,000 people attending the first part of a six-part program on adult problems with alcholism and drug dependancy.

'Then they came and said, 'Mom, we don't want you to be sick. We want you to be the way you were.' There was no recrimination. Only love.

'It worked. We did it together. My family went into treatment as well, something that was important for them to understand my problem.'

Mrs. Ford and former President Gerald Ford have three sons and a daughter.

'I didn't realize I had a problem even after they intervened and told me about it,' she said. 'It wasn't until I was in treatment and my phsycian documented it on a blackboard.

'He wrote the number of pills I had been taking over a 24-hour period and the effects of alcohol on those pills and the multiplier reaction in my body.'

Mrs. Ford said the last six years since her treatment at a California clinic 'have been the best years in my life from the standpoint of feeling healthier and feeling more comfortable with myself.'

She said she gives part of her speaking fees to the Betty Ford Center at Rancho Mirage, Calif., a hospital for people with chemical dependency.

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