At a press conference today, Rob Ford discussed addiction, shame, and stopping the gravy train.
Today, Mayor Rob Ford officially returned to work after his nearly two-month stint in rehab—and delivered a statement to the media before leaving without taking questions. Here is the full text of his remarks:
Good afternoon everyone,
I stand before you today having completed two months of intensive rehab therapy at GreeneStone Residential Addiction Facility. For a long, long time, I resisted the idea of getting help. Like a lot of people dealing with substance abuse, I was in complete denial. I had convinced myself that I did not have a problem. But it soon became obvious that my alcohol and drug use was having a serious, serious impact on my family, and on my health, and on my job as mayor.
After experiencing some of the darkest moments in my life, I decided that enough was enough. I had become my own worst enemy. I knew it was time to take action. It was time to get help—professional help. This is a decision that will change my life forever. At GreeneStone I worked with a professional team of dedicated doctors, nurses, counsellors and the best trainer anyone could ask for. I underwent hundreds of hours of intensive therapy.
I now know … I now know that the staff of GreeneStone changed my life. They forced me to confront my personal demons. I learned about 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’m not alone fighting this chronical [sic] 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 GreeneStone, I met others who like me, have struggled with the impacts of their abuse for years. Listening to their stories gave me the strength and helped me deal with my own mistakes.
Thanks to my treatment I can proudly saw today that I have begun the process of taking control of my life. But folks, this is a long, long road to recovery, and no matter what I do, no matter what I do, I will never be able to change the mistakes that I have made in the past.
When I look back on some of the things I have said, and some of the things I did when I was using, I am ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated. I was wrong and I have no one but no one to blame but myself. I want to sincerely, sincerely apologize, not just to the people of Toronto, but every single person who was hurt by my words and my actions. It was never, never my intention to embarrass the city, or offend my fellow members of council. I deeply, I deeply regret some of the personal choices I have made in the past.
I now realize that 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 want to offer a public apology. I used poor judgement, and I take full responsibility for my actions. At GreeneStone, I accepted that in my position, I am held to a higher standard.
To my family and to all those who stood by me during these extremely difficult times, I want to thank you for giving me another chance. To my fellow councillors, and especially to Karen Stintz: for my hurtful and degrading remarks, I offer a deep-felt apology for my behaviour. To the media, I want to thank you. I want to thank the media for giving me and the residents at GreeneStone the privacy we needed.
But I am not, I am not asking you for forgiveness. I accept full responsibility for what I have done. Thankfully, thankfully, we live in a civilized society, a society that realizes that people do make mistakes, and that some people need help, and those who seek that help can be given another chance. Substance abuse is a very, very difficult thing to overcome. But I will keep, 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, I am absolutely determined, to make myself the best person I can be for my family, for the people of Toronto. And with your support, I’m also resolved to continue to work harder than ever for the taxpayers of this great city.
While I know it’s just the beginning of my personal journey—and friends, it’s a long journey—my resolve as your mayor has not changed. We have accomplished a lot together. When I was first elected in 2010, I promised to stop the gravy train, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. We’ve moved away from the tax-and-spend ways of the past, and changed the culture at City Hall. We have reduced the size and cost of government and we have save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
We’ve made the TTC an essential service, and we have contracted out garbage, saving you $80 million while improving service delivery. I am keeping Toronto accountable to you, the hardworking everyday taxpayer. Many said I could not work with the unions. Well folks, I proved them wrong by achieving historic labour deals, deals that are fair to the taxpayer, and fair to our frontline workers. And most importantly, we brought all three levels of government together to build new subways for the fantastic people of Scarborough.
We have come a long way. We have come a long way despite my personal struggles, and I’m extremely proud of my public record. Toronto’s economy is booming. We are creating jobs and building our city. We have a beautiful, clean, safe city that is one of the greatest places in the world to live and do business. But there is still much, much more to accomplish.
I plan to continue fighting for the taxpayers of Toronto every single day. But over the coming months, friends, my top priority will be rebuilding trust with the public and my fellow members of council. Again, again I sincerely want to thank the amazing staff at GreeneStone for giving me the power to change my life. And I want to thank the people of Toronto for their understanding and continued support during this very, very difficult time. I look forward to serving you for many, many more years. Thank you very much.