WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014 – After two months in rehab, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (age 45) emerged today and held his first press conference. And it was part mea culpa and part political campaign re-launch.
If Washington’s Mayor Marion Barry is a gauge, Ford has a good chance of stepping back into Mayor’s office this fall.
For poll watchers, even though he has been out of the limelight, polls show Ford just slightly behind his challenger, even after his support plunged to a low 32 percent at the beginning of June.
Frontrunner Olivia Chow is leading Ford by just seven percentage points. It will be interesting to see if that changes following this latest press conference.
Ford’s comments are, in part, as follows (all attempts at accuracy have been made; redactions for length):
“Stating that a like a lot of people suffering from substance about I was in complete denial.
It soon became obvious that my alcohol and drug use was having a serious impact on my family, health and job as mayor.
After experiencing some of the darkest moments in my life, I decided enough is enough. I had become my own worst enemy. I knew it was time to take action, to get help, professional help.
This is a decision that will change my life forever.
At Greystone, I worked with a professional team of dedicated doctors, nurses, counselors, and the best trainer anyone could ask for. I underwent hundreds of hours of intensive therapy. I now know that the staff at Greystone saved my life. They forced me to confront my personal demons. I learned bout things like triggers and what happens when you have uncontrollable cravings
I learned that my addiction is really a disease, a chronic medical condition that will require treatment for the rest of my life. I also learned that I am not alone fighting this chronic medical condition.
I personally saw that this disease touches many lives. It affects people from all walks of life and we all know someone who has suffered from this terrible disease.
At Greystone I met others, I met others who like me have struggled with the impacts of their substance abuse for years. Listening to their stories gave me the strength to deal with my own mistakes.
Thanks to my treatment, I can proudly say today that I have begun the process of taking control of my life. But folks, this is a long, long road to recovery. No mater what I do, I will never be able to change the mistakes that I have made in the past.
When I look back at some of the things, I have said and some of the things that I did when I was using I am ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated. I was wrong, and I have no one to blame but myself.
I want to sincerely apologize not just to the people of Toronto, but every single person that was hurt by my words and by my actions. It was never my intention to embarrass the city or offend my fellow members of council. I deeply regret some of the personal choices I have made in the past
I know realize I was blind to the dangers of some of the company I kept and those associations have ended.
My commitment to living clean is now unwavering. To the people of this great city, I used poor judgment and take full responsibility for my actions
At Greystone I accepted that because of my position I am held to a higher position.
To my family and those that stood by me during these difficult times, I want to thank you for giving me another chance
To my fellow counselors, particularly Karen Stintz, I offer a deep felt apology for my behavior
To the media, I want to thank you for giving me and the residents of Greystone the privacy we needed. But I am not asking you for forgiveness.
I accept full responsibility for what I have done. Thankfully we live in a civilized society that realizes the people do make mistakes and that some people need help. And those that seek that help can be given another chance.
Substance abuse is a very, very difficult thing to overcome, but I will keep battling this disease for the rest of my life.
I will continue to receive ongoing professional treatment for my substance abuse problem. I am determined to make myself the best person I can be. For my family, for the people of Toronto, with your support I am also resolved to continue to work harder than ever for the taxpayers of this great city. While I know this is just the beginning of my personal journey, and friends it is a along journey, my resolve as your mayor has not changed.
We have accomplished a lot together.”