Mayor Rob Ford says he was regularly using illegal substances and “couldn’t function day-to-day” before checking himself into a rehabilitation facility to get help.

Ford made the comment to CP24 in a one-on-one interview at city hall Wednesday afternoon.

The interview marked the first time Ford has answered direct questions about his substance abuse on live television since completing a 60-day treatment program at GreeneStone rehabilitation facility and returning to city hall earlier this week.

“I was ruining my health, I was ruining my family and my job as mayor and couldn’t function day-to-day,” Ford said of his struggles with substance abuse. “Your family, your profession and your well-being. After those three things go…enough is enough.”

Ford announced his leave of absence on April 30 after the Globe and Mail published a photo that appeared to show him smoking crack cocaine.

The photo, which the Globe said was recent, was published several months after Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor” and vowed to turn his life around.

On Wednesday, Ford told CP24 he is not a drug addict but often used illicit substances when under the influence.

“When you are an alcoholic you can become any sort of substance abuse addict. You can be using cocaine, everything goes,” he said. “I wish someone would have explained this to me many, many years ago.”

When asked what type of drugs he has used, Ford said he has probably used every “drug you can think of,” though when asked if he had ever tried heroin he said no.

Ford also added that his struggles with substance abuse predate his time as mayor.

“This disease is something that I was born with and I am going to die with it,” he said. “I am not cured after 60 days. It’s an ongoing journey.”

Alcohol at city hall

Previously released court documents have suggested that former staff members suspected Ford was drinking and using drugs at city hall.

Asked about the allegations on Wednesday, Ford said he has been under the influence of alcohol at work, though he denied using drugs while on the job.

As for his associations with various members of the criminal element, including a man charged with extortion for his alleged attempts to recover a video of him smoking crack, Ford said his disease left him unable to realize what he was doing.

The mayor said he is no longer associating himself with persons who have a questionable past.

“When you have a disease like I do you do things, you say things and you are blind to the people that surround you,” he said.

Ford refused to speak further about the criminal probe against him and said he would not change his mind about his decision not to speak with police regarding Project Brazen 2, referring all questions to his lawyer.

Remaining mayor

Many substance abuse experts have questioned whether Ford should return to the campaign given his struggles, but Ford told CP24 that his job as mayor will help him with his efforts to stay sober; not hinder them.

“I love my job and keeping busy is the best thing for me,” he said.

Ford, however, refused to answer whether he would resign should he fall of the wagon again.

“I am going to reiterate what I just said. I know I didn’t drink yesterday and I know I haven’t drank today,” he said. “I’m going to take things a day at a time.”

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