Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rob Ford needs to seek help himself

For those whose families have been touched by alcoholism, as mine has, the story in this morning’s Toronto Star “Rob Ford: ‘Intoxicated’Toronto mayor asked to leave military ball” will ring familiar.

Looking back at a long pattern of behavior it would seem obvious to all that Mayor Ford may have a problem. Obvious to everyone, that is, but Mayor Ford. Based on the article, it would certainly seem that it’s obvious to those close to him, who have been urging him to seek help. It’s also implied that some of those close to him that are speaking out, albeit anonymously, are doing so with the hope it will finally spur him into seeking help.

As anyone with any experience with this disease can tell you though, the realization and admission that you have a problem is something the person has to come to on their own. Until they’re ready to take that first step, there’s nothing you can do to spur them toward it. Realizing that is the first step toward maintaining your own sanity.

The only thing, and the best thing, that those around someone in this situation can do is to not be an enabler. Don’t make excuses for their behavior, don’t cover it up, don’t live in denial – it will only prolong their denial, and drag you into their illness as well, and the pain and damage it creates. And in the long run, you’re not doing them any favours.

Not that politics should enter into this, but I think most Torontonians would understand and respect a genuine  admission, and decision to seek help. And I know I would look dimly on those who would seek to profit politically from someone's addiction, particularly one that so many Canadians, and their loved ones, are suffering with.

I didn't vote for Rob Ford in the last election and if he runs again, I’ll vote for someone else. That’s solely based on his policy and decisions as mayor, with which I fundamentally disagree. But as someone who has seen first hand the damage that alcoholism does to families, I hope he admits that he has a problem, and that he seeks the help he needs. Both for himself, and for his family.

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