OTTAWA: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford told a Canadian newspaper Wednesday that “rehab is amazing,” adding that it’s a lot like the football summer camp he attended as a child.
Ford, 44, took a leave of absence in the middle of his re-election campaign last week to enter rehab for drug and alcohol abuse after another video surfaced showing him allegedly smoking crack cocaine recently.
“I feel great,” he told the Toronto Sun. “Rehab is amazing. It reminds me of football camp. Kind of like the Washington Redskins camp I went to as a kid.”
The mayor described daily meetings with four to eight people, including “two doctors, a captain of industry and a professional athlete,” and “then there is a meal before we have some one-on-one sessions.”
“There are terrific people in my group. We are all supporting each other. We are connecting in a weird way,” he said, while refusing to say where he is receiving treatment after reportedly being turned away by U.S. customs agents in Chicago.
“I am working out every day and I am learning about myself, my past and things like that.”
He described learning to deal with the anger he has often directed at political opponents.
“It’s not an excuse to play the victim and it’s not an excuse to drink.”
Ford said he was also coming to terms with the fallout of his substance abuse.
Ford burst onto international headlines last year when an alleged drug dealer tried to sell a video of the mayor smoking crack to media outlets in Canada and the United States.
At first, Ford denied using crack cocaine but later acknowledged he had smoked the drug while in a “drunken stupor,” but insisted he was not an addict. Since then, Ford has been filmed numerous times behaving erratically in public.
Toronto City Council stripped the mayor of most of his powers in November over his misconduct.
The latest video was filmed less than two weeks ago, in the early hours of April 26.
“At first, I was mad. I was mad at myself and saying, ‘Why me?’” he told the Sun.
“But then I realized it could have been a whole lot worse,” adding that he could have ended up in jail or worse – dead.
“I do feel bad about what happened, but it might have been the best thing that happened because I am working on getting better,” he told the newspaper.
As for his political future, once he’s completed rehab, Ford said, “I am coming back and I am going to kick butt.”
Toronto residents will head to the polls in October.