Betty Ford Centre provides haven for the rich and famous

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 August, 2010, 12:00am

If Amina Mariam Bokhary does walk through the doors of Betty Ford Centre in Rancho Mirage, California, she will be following in the footsteps of many of the rich and famous who struggled to keep their demons at bay.

Under the terms of her probation order, Bokhary is to spend three months at the centre for alcohol rehabilitation. According to the centre's website, a 90-day stay will cost US$49,550.

On her return to Hong Kong, she must attend Alcoholics Anonymous and go back to court for a progress report in four months.

Whatever the end result, it is likely that she will do better than actor David Hasselhoff, who in 2002 left the centre's alcohol treatment programme after only one day, then got drunk at a nearby hotel and ended up unconscious in the emergency room of a hospital.

The Betty Ford Centre was co-founded by the wife of former US president Gerald Ford, Betty, who herself suffered from alcoholism.

At the non-profit hospital, about one third of patients choose the 90-day stay option. Many have had multiple prior attempts at treatment or recovery, or are chronic relapsers or patients who require prolonged help. It is not just celebrities who hit the skids. Many patients are doctors, dentists, lawyers, pilots, pharmacists or nurses.

'With their housemates, 90-day patients participate in daily treatment activities, working on issues that could well be relapse triggers. Evenings and weekends provide opportunities for patients to develop sober lifestyles by participating in healthy recovery activities, such as attending 12-step meetings. These activities can help build a foundation for life-long sobriety, ' the centre's website says.