Betty Ford Clinic

Healing and Hope by Betty Ford

Former First Lady Betty Ford suffered a dependency on alcohol and prescription pain killers connected to her tenure in the White House. This stemmed not only from the pressures of being scrutinized by the public eye, but also from the aftermath of her battle against breast cancer. Far from hushing it up, Mrs. Ford valiantly went public with her battle with addiction and entered treatment. Profoundly affected by her experiences, she went on to found a clinic specifically designed to address all aspects of recovery in a comprehensive manner. In 1982, the Betty Ford Center for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation opened its doors to the public in Rancho Mirage, California.

Often referred to simply as the Betty Ford Clinic, this center has helped thousands upon thousands of people in the battle to bounce back from addiction and reclaim their lives. The center has hosted celebrities and common folk alike, proving that no one is immune to the seduction of addiction.

The 90-Day Treatment Difference

In the past, a 30-day treatment program was the standard used at most substance abuse recovery centers. If this time period seemed a little short to detoxify and gain a strong foothold on behaviors that would help a patient avoid a relapse, that's because it was. Largely, the 30-day program was established because that's all most insurance companies were willing to pay for, so hospitals tried to pack in as much helpful therapy as possible before individuals went back to face the challenges of their daily lives outside of the facility.

Today at Betty Ford, The 90-day recovery program is the gold standard. It addresses issues such as the differing detoxification rates between a wide variety of substances, especially when more than one addiction is involved. A stay of 90 days truly offers clients a better chance to establish meaningful changes in their thinking and behaviors that will help them maintain their sobriety beyond the clinic walls.

Betty Ford Clinic Recovery Programs

The Betty Ford Center's licensed professionals offer a variety of 30 to 90-day treatment and recovery programs designed for clients age 18 years old and up.

Patient Programs

  • Inpatient treatment: This program is perhaps the best know, requiring client to live on campus in a structured and monitored environment. This is typically the first stage of recovery that covers detox and introduces the 12-step recovery program.
  • Residential treatment: Similar to the inpatient program, residential treatment allows clients to participate in treatment programs during the day while living in "sober houses" to help them begin establishing a support system in the community to help them remain sober in the long term. It is often pursued as a follow up program to inpatient treatment.
  • Clinical diagnostic evaluation: This program is designed to help professionals evaluate whether they meet the criteria for addiction and whether they need to enter a treatment programs.
  • Licensed professional: This program is often the next step after the clinical diagnostic evaluation, and it deals with the distinct recovery needs of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, etc., to help them maintain their license to practice. This includes monitoring for continued sobriety after completing treatment as outlined by each profession's governing body.
  • Outpatient: This program has two divisions:
    • An intensive outpatient program that allows clients to live at home and continue to work while in treatment.
    • An evening outpatient family program designed to support family members of the client.

Family Recovery Programs

Recognizing that addiction touches the lives of everyone who lives with an addict, the Betty Ford Center offers supportive recovery programs for the entire family.

For Children

The average duration of these programs is three to four days, and the primary goal is to interrupt the cycle of addiction that can inadvertently be passed from parent to child. Additional program goals cover helping relationships heal and heading off relapses. This program is designed for children age seven to twelve years, and no child will be turned away over an inability to cover the cost of treatment.

Thirteen and Up

The center runs an additional recovery program for family members aged thirteen and up. This program runs Monday through Friday with a fresh session beginning each week.

The Cost of Recovery

Although the Betty Ford Clinic accepts numerous insurance plans, they do not deal directly with any insurance company. Upon checkout, clients receive a courtesy copy of their bill, and they must submit it to their insurance provider themselves. This leaves the center free to focus on patient recovery. That said, the Betty Ford website does publish the basic cost of individual treatment plans, although these costs are subject to change.

Center Contacts

The Betty Ford Center Book of Answers


Main Campus:

The Betty Ford Center
39000 Bob Hope Dr.
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
Admissions Department: 1-800-434-7365

Texas Children's Program:

1320 Greenway Dr., Suite 105
Irving, TX 75038
Toll free line: 1-972-751-0363

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Betty Ford Clinic