Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has had to suffer through his struggles with addiction while in the public eye. What originally caught media attention was a video released in May 2013 of the mayor smoking crack cocaine. As is so often the case with a humiliating outing of this nature, it took Ford a significant amount of time after the video was released to admit the true nature of the video. The video paired with his admission set off a firestorm of reports regarding illicit behavior from Ford, including public drunkenness, death threats, and unsavory remarks. Amid it all, he did not resign despite a strong public push to do so.
Now, a year after all of the public drama with Ford began, he is finally seeking addiction treatment. Ford recently announced that he is taking a leave of absence from his position as mayor and will be receiving help for substance abuse. His road to recovery and leave of absence seem to be associated with rumors that yet another video of him smoking crack cocaine has recently surfaced. Ford is now acknowledging that he has a problem, which is of course the first step in the right direction.
Substance abuse can deteriorate every aspect of an addict's life and a career is no exception. Ever since news first surfaced of Rob Ford's relationship with drugs and alcohol, the media and general public have been tailing Rob Ford for further evidence of his addiction or details about his private life. More stories of Ford's substance abuse came to surface over time and public opinion of Ford generally began to dwindle both at home in Canada and abroad. Public opinion in Toronto of Ford as a mayor midway through the last year's worth of scandal was hardly dented according to some public opinion polls, but his reputation is permanently tarnished.
Signs Of Abuse
Throughout the last year, Ford has displayed several classic signs of substance abuse.
- Chronic dishonesty. Ford lied about many of the allegations that came his way that later proved to be true.
- Oversensitivity/temper tantrums. Part of what made the news over the last year regarding Rob Ford was his short fuse.
- Poor judgment. Drinking and driving, just one of the dangerous incidents under Ford's belt, is demonstrative of the poor judgment that often accompanies alcohol use.
- Problems with relationships. Ford's drug use began to cause visible problems for his relationships with others, particularly colleagues.
- Neglecting responsibilities. Any time that Ford was abusing substances, he was neglecting his public and legal duty as mayor.
Ford will likely be seeking treatment for crack cocaine and alcohol abuse, perhaps alongside other substance abuse treatment. While dealing with these core issues, he will no doubt also be guided through learning how to better manage his anger and general reactions to life stresses, especially being in the public's eye. While talk show hosts and the media have readily laughed at Ford's antics and one-liners, we should remember that this is a real person struggling with real addictions. Hopefully, Ford will get the treatment he needs and emerge clean and renewed and triumphant.
Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.