Rob Ford, the troubled Mayor of Toronto, has said he became his “own worst enemy” with alcohol and drug abuse as he returns to office after two months in rehab.
The controversial politician insisted he had turned over a new leaf and is moving forward in a speech on Monday at City Hall.
He said: “When I look back on some of the things I have said, some of the things I did under the influence, I'm ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated.
“I was wrong, and I have no one to blame but myself.”
The frank apology was a stark contrast to his initial denials when stories about a video showing him using crack cocaine emerged last year.
In pictures: Why you wish you were Canadian
In pictures: Why you wish you were Canadian
1/12 Niagara Falls
The world’s largest waterfall obviously straddles the US-Canadian border, but it is a truth universally accepted that the Canadian side gives you better views
They have moose. Even on their road signs
3/12 Canadian autumn
The amazing views aren’t just confined to the Falls. They’re everywhere - particularly with the spectacular displays of autumn colour
4/12 Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling. He’s the hottest thing in Hollywood and he’s a Canadian. Move there and, well, you never know…
5/12 Playful bears
The majestic beasts are one of Nature’s great survivors - and they love to join you on a run (for added motivation)
6/12 Pancake maple syrup
Just look at that. Maple syrup and pancakes is the Canadian breakfast made for kings. Now pass me the bacon
Where but Canada could law and order be enforced by men and women dressed in scarlet tunics, midnight blue breeches, oxblood riding boots, brown felt hats and brown gloves. On horses
8/12 Rob Ford
While we're stuck with Boris, Toronto has a colourful, crack-smoking mayor who has refused to resign, been to rehab and is out again and campaigning for another term in office
9/12 Northern lights
Normally to see the Northern Lights you have to troop off to some tiny remote country like Iceland with little else to offer (though Iceland is, actually, a wonderful country in its own right). Not so with Canada - where the display is a bit like an incredible added bonus
Canada has some of the finest skiing available in the whole of the Americas, and they are fantastic at winter sports. Don't have a skiing holiday next year, have a Canada holiday
11/12 Polar bears
Polar bears are extraordinary creatures generally out of reach for those who would love to see them in the wild. Not in Canada, though
12/12 Better cities
Canadian cities are brilliant, and as a whole perform superbly well on the authoritative Mercer Quality of Living Survey. Five Canadian cities make the top 30 cities in the world, including Toronto (pictured). Compare that to the UK's best offering London, in 39th place.
Ford did not admit to smoking crack until police announced they had recovered a video supporting the media reports in November 2013, when he said it happened in a “drunken stupor”.
Despite international criticism and ridicule, the Mayor ignored calls to step down and did not go into rehab until six months later.
He told reporters he had been “in denial” about having a problem with substance abuse.
“I had convinced myself that I did not have a problem,” he added.
“But it soon became obvious that my alcohol and drug use was having a serious impact on my family, 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.”
Speaking of his treatment at a rehabilitation centre called GreeneStone, in Ontario, he claimed the staff “saved his life”.
“They forced me to confront my personal demons,” he said, adding that he will need treatment for the “disease” of addiction for the rest of his life.
Ford offered an apology to the people of Toronto and “everyone who was hurt” by his words and actions.
“It was never my intention to embarrass the city or offend my fellow members of council,” he said. “I deeply regret some of the personal choices I have made.”
He apologised specifically to Karen Stintz, once an ally on the city council, for “hurtful and degrading remarks.”
Ford was recorded in a bar in April saying: “I’d like to f**king jam her but she don’t want it.”
Taking the unprecedented step of thanking the media for privacy, he claimed that society “realises that people make mistakes”.
The 45-year-old is seeking re-election in Toronto’s elections on 27 October, where dozens of opponents have registered to run against him.
Ford was elected as mayor in 2010 after spending a decade as a city councillor.Reuse content