TORONTO – Is Rob Ford really in rehab?
That seems to be on everyone’s mind as the Toronto mayor is reportedly continuing to work, giving interviews to newspapers and making calls to constituents.
After news broke earlier this week that the mayor voluntarily turned back from the U.S., where he was heading to seek treatment, rumours began circulating on social media that he was staying at the Homewood in Guelph, Ont.
The Homewood is described on its website as “Canada’s unsurpassed medical leader in addiction and mental health treatment, providing highly specialized psychiatric and addiction services to all Canadians.”
READ MORE: Rob Ford calls rehab ‘amazing’
The Homewood would be a good fit for Ford as it knows how to handle high profile clients. Elvis and Michael Jackson allegedly spent time at the facility, and since it’s located close to two international airports – Toronto and Waterloo – it’s a popular destination amongst celebrities looking to stay out of the spotlight as they get help.
Some people say Ford is back in Toronto.
Cayla Clarkson Tweeted Tuesday she saw the mayor at a Tim Hortons in the Junction.
Rob ford is at the Tim Hortons by clendenan I'm dying—
cayla (@caylaclarkson) May 06, 2014
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Clarkson told Global News “I saw him walk in. He was wearing a suit and a tie, but then when he came out, he was wearing a grey sweatshirt and grey sweatpants.”
Doug Ford claims it was him that Clarkson saw and not Rob.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Doug insisted his brother was in rehab and “nowhere close to the GTA.”
Doug also said his brother has private time at the facility where he can make calls.
“Rehab is amazing. It reminds me of football camp,” the mayor was quoted as saying by the Toronto Sun on Wednesday.
No matter where Ford is, addiction experts say he could be seriously compromising his chances of recovery and stress that engaging in work of any kind would be a distraction that runs counter to the process of rehabilitation.
“Work is a non-starter,” Dr. Raju Hajela, a family physician who specializes in addiction, told The Canadian Press.
“He needs a minimum of three months off work. That would be the usual occupational health recommendation.”
Dennis Long, co-founder and executive director of Breakaway Addictions treatment services in Toronto, agreed it’s unlikely that Ford would be allowed to make job-related calls.
“In most cases, people in that kind of treatment are discouraged quite strongly from contacting friends and family, at least in the first couple of weeks of treatment,” he said. “So calling constituents would not be on.”
Long said he believes Ford, who has admitted to alcohol abuse and smoking crack cocaine, would be involved in a “fairly intensive level of treatment,” with his days packed full of meetings, group and individual counselling sessions, and other activities aimed at improving overall health.
“The idea is they want people to be focused on the treatment they’re getting and they don’t want them distracted by the outside work, and particularly by people who they may have used (addictive substances) with.”
Long finds Ford’s attitude towards rehab a little disingenuous.
“It might be like football camp in the sense that you’ve got fairly rigorous activities, but they’re quite different in that the rigorous activity he’s being asked to do is to take a look at himself and try to figure out how to change his life, which I don’t think they do in football camp,” he said somewhat wryly.
Ford – who has repeatedly said he plans to run for re-election in the fall – told the Toronto Sun his rehab mates include two doctors, a “captain of industry” and a professional athlete.
Long said if the mayor is being allowed to make job-related calls – or is not, but is making them “sub rosa” – it also could compromise others’ attempts to stick to the program and get clean.
“The whole point of being in treatment is that you and all the other folks there are equals in that you’re in treatment, and whatever you did and whatever kind of status you had outside of the program is immaterial.
“You’re all there to work on the same stuff.”
-With files from The Canadian Press
© Shaw Media, 2014