Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who has publicly struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, has taken a leave of absence from his seat in the mayor's office in order to seek treatment for what he refers to as a problem with alcohol. The mayor, who will retain his position as he seeks treatment, issued a statement in which he explained that "It is not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in (his) life." The mayor went on to explain that "after taking some time to think about (his) own well-being, how to best serve the people of Toronto, and and what is in the best interests of (his) family, (he) has decided to take leave from campaigning and from his duties as Mayor and seek immediate help."
A History of Use and Abuse
This is not the first time Ford has faced media attention after struggling with alcohol abuse and subsequent actions. The Mayor was taped smoking crack cocaine last year, an action which he blamed on the use of alcohol and for which he did not seek treatment. In the aftermath of this incident, many members of the Toronto local government advocated for Ford to step down. At the time, Ford denied having a problem with drugs or alcohol and did not seek treatment or take any time away from the mayor's office.
Alcohol Use and Questionable Actions
Ford's admission that he does in fact struggle with alcohol use comes on the heels of another incidence wherein he was photographed with a pipe allegedly intended to be used to smoke crack cocaine. The video, which was taken by an individual who self-identifies as a drug dealer, was taken in the basement of a family member of Ford's. Recently, the mayor was also recorded at an Etobicoke bar, where, while presumably under the influence of alcohol, he made a number of incendiary remarks about an opponent and his wife.
It is not uncommon for a person who is addicted to alcohol to make choices or to behave in a way that they would not otherwise behave while under the influence of alcohol. One of the major effects of alcohol is that it inhibits a user's decision making abilities. It can also cause extreme mood swings or emotional shifts. Many individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse report frequently feeling out of control or behaving in ways that hurt or anger those around them.
Toronto Government Officials Call For Ford to Step Down
As Ford checks into treatment, he finds himself once again mired in calls for his resignation. Many mayoral candidates have openly expressed disapproval of Ford's actions and have expressed the strong opinion that he is not currently in a position to serve as Mayor of Toronto. When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they often perform poorly at work or find themselves unable to hold a job at all. For many addicts, the point in their career during which they are no longer able to work or perform other activities necessary for a stable and healthy life, is considered their "rock bottom."
The Silver Lining of Rock Bottom
Though rock bottom represents the point in an addict's life at which they are no longer in control of their lives, it may have an important place in recovery. Once an addict has reached rock bottom, they may finally be ready to accept the help they need to get clean and sober and able to permanently abstain from the use of drugs and alcohol. It may well be that Ford will finally get the support he needs.