Montreal - Toronto's embattled Mayor Rob Ford came back to work on Monday after a seven-week stint in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, noticeably thinner and saying he had "begun the process of taking back control" of his life.
"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," Ford told a reporters Monday.
"I was wrong, and I have no one to blame but myself." The mayor of Canada's largest city was forced to seek treatment after admitting last year that he had used crack cocaine "in drunken stupor".
Ford, who is seeking re-election in October, praised the staff at the GreeneStone Residential Addiction Facility in Bala, Ontario, where he celebrated his 45th birthday.
"I worked with a professional team of dedicated doctors, nurses, counsellors and the best trainer anyone could ask for," Ford said.
"I underwent hundreds of hours of intensive therapy. I now know, I now know that the staff at GreeneStone saved my life." Speaking in a sombre and sometimes emotional tone, Ford apologised to Toronto residents and to his City Council colleagues.
"To the people of this great city, I want to offer a public apology," he said. "I used poor judgment, and I take full responsibility for my actions. At GreenStone I accepted that in my position, I am held to a higher standard."
Ford apologised to election challenger Karen Stintz for making lewd remarks about her in one of the drunken incidents that had become a hallmark of his tenure as mayor.
Ford said he was hoping for "a second chance", while expressing pride in his accomplishments in stopping "the gravy train" and saving taxpayers "millions of dollars".
"I plan to continue fighting for the taxpayers of Toronto. But over the coming months my top priority will be rebuilding trust with the public and my fellow members of council," Ford said.
Ford's rivals at city hall said they were back to business as usual. "I'm sorry that the circus is back in town, but that's just the way it is," Councilwoman Pam McConnell said.