Our Stories are the Essence of Recovery Advocacy

This was originally published for Hazelden Betty Ford’s monthly Recovery Advocacy Update. If you’d like to receive our advocacy emails, subscribe today.

Michelle Pfeiffer portraying Betty Ford in the Showtime series “The First Lady”

By Jeremiah Gardner

Three-time Oscar-nominee Michelle Pfeiffer, who portrays Betty Ford in a new Showtime series, said this of Mrs. Ford: “She gave people permission to not only talk about (addiction), but then to seek help. She really saved millions of lives.”

Pfieffer shared that assessment with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie while making the media rounds promoting The First Lady, which delves into the lives and legacies of Betty Ford, Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Obama. While we were not involved in the making of the series (and understand it includes many fictionalized aspects), we have spent time this month celebrating our namesake, whose birthday (April 8) and sobriety anniversary (April 7) are annual cues to reflect on the impact of Mrs. Ford’s courage and candor and the tremendous power and importance of recovery advocacy today.

While each of us may not have the platform, like Mrs. Ford did, to singlehandedly impact millions, we do have the ability to impact millions TOGETHER. Each time we share about our experiences, we create awareness that makes it easier for others to talk about addiction, seek help and pursue recovery. At a time when many are hurting, we may even enrich understanding more broadly of what it means to be human and to overcome adversity.

Our stories are the essence of recovery advocacy, and by sharing them in our respective corners of the universe — in spaces available to us and created by us — and helping others share theirs, we continually change the world together, for the better.

So, as a simple but powerful call-to-action for ourselves and our readers, and in honor of Mrs. Ford’s legacy, we invite you to share your addiction and recovery experiences this weekend with at least one person who isn’t already aware of them.


Please also save the date of Saturday, May 7 for a special 2022 kickoff of Hazelden Betty Ford’s Recovery & Mental Health Awareness Hour. Held on select Saturdays since 1976, the “Awareness Hour” is the longest-running recovery speaker series in the nation. It was a favorite of Mrs. Ford’s and has been the venue for hundreds of recovery stories creating ripples of hope for generations.

At 9:30 a.m. Pacific time on May 7, for the first time, the Betty Ford Center and our friends at Eisenhower Medical Center will broadcast the Awareness Hour live from Rancho Mirage, California, so that you can participate online from anywhere in the world.

In this season’s inaugural event, entitled “Recovery: The Greatest Victory of All,” Hazelden Betty Ford’s William C. Moyers will interview Hockey Hall-of-Famer Grant Fuhr and three-time Olympic gold medalist Carrie Bates about the private struggles they experienced amid public athletic glory, and the comeback stories that their recoveries from addiction sparked.

Not only will it be a superb way to get a healthy, uplifting start to the weekend, but it’s a great invitation to share with others who may benefit from hearing stories of hope and recovery.

Recovery: The Greatest Victory of All

Grant Fuhr
A Canadian, Grant was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2003. He is best known for a decade of stellar play for the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s. In 2017, Grant was named one of the top 100 greatest NHL players in history. He set a number of firsts for Black hockey players in the NHL, including being the first to win the Stanley Cup and first inducted into the Hall of Fame. Grant established his own nonprofit foundation in 2019 and will host the second-annual Grant Fuhr Celebrity Golf Invitational on May 14, 2022, with all proceeds benefiting the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and its mission of hope, healing and love for people affected by addiction to alcohol, opioids and other drugs. Grant and his wife Lisa live in California’s Coachella Valley.

Carrie Bates
Carrie is a three-time Olympic gold-medalist swimmer who considers her recovery to be among her greatest achievements. Carrie is also an outreach manager for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, where she helps others initiate their journey of recovery. She also played a key role in Hazelden Betty Ford’s partnership with Sports Video Group, bringing a message of hope, healing and education to the large professional community that relies on video, audio and broadband technologies to produce and distribute sports content around the globe. Carrie now works directly with employers, patients and their families to help them navigate the process of finding the treatment and support they need to initiate and sustain recovery. Previously, she worked in sales and marketing at Nike, Inc. Carrie lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two daughters.

William C. Moyers
William is the vice president of public affairs and community relations for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which includes the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, CA. From “carrying the message” about addiction, treatment and recovery to working in public policy and philanthropy, William brings a wealth of professional expertise and an intimate personal understanding to communities across the nation. He has appeared on Larry King Live, Oprah, Good Morning America and National Public Radio. William is the author of several books including Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption, a New York Times best-selling memoir published in 2006 that is still in print. He is currently working on a follow-up memoir that is due out in 2023. He lives in St. Paul, MN, with his wife, Nell Hurley.

Jeremiah Gardner is director of communications and public affairs for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

Jeremiah Gardner



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Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

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As a force of healing & hope for those affected by addiction, we feature insights and views from leading voices on prevention, treatment & recovery.