Rob Ford’s racism and rampant homophobia has naught to do with his alcoholism

The Ro-Fo and Do-Fo dog and pony show is managed, vitriolic and reprehensible


Hello, my name is Terry Gavan and I’m a recovered alcoholic.

Step nine. When Rob Ford completes that step and is off the booze train for two years?

Then I’ll believe that he has a snowball’s chance in Dubai of fulfilling or even considering another mandate in politics.

I recovered in 1998 and haven’t considered taking a drink since then. I didn’t do the pops and shots and tots and toots that the dually addicted Ro-Fo has copped to. I’m not an expert on the dos and don’ts of the dually addicted. I do know that if someone is an alcoholic and can indulge in controlled weed intake? I’m okay with that. I take anti-depressants and I’m sure if my doc said that a brownie a day would settle that rot-filled ruminating rattle in my head? I’d gladly forego the two pill a day drudge.

I do know a little about recovery. I used to involve myself in AA, and I still own the Big Book. But AA didn’t get me sober. I walked into the cookie factory on Portage Ave in Winnipeg and fell to the whim and vigour of two doctors, Messrs Corner and Duffy. I stayed 72 days in the cookie factory and spent another three months at Tamarac House in Winnipeg.

I went to a lot of meetings. I took a sponsor. I made amends. I went back to my family and I became humble. I am humble to this day. I still have an amend to make. Am I done? No. I have a physical affliction coupled with a mental dependency. Here’s what I know for a fact.

I was not cured by The Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (Cookie Factory); I was not cured by Dr Corner (AFM Resident) or Dr Duffy (MY Gastro Intestinal specialist); I was not even cured by my good friend John who slapped me senseless for years before finally giving me the number of Dr. Corner; AA did not step into my life and save me.


On March 20th 1998 I was sitting in Vimy Ridge Park across the street from the Cookie Factory with a bottle of vodka in my hand. And I recall clearly as I sit here today.

Words going through my head so audible that I repeated them aloud.

“What the fuck are you doing… you arsehole?”

That’s it. That’s all it took. I can tell you what Carl Jung would say about that. Carl Jung would describe that as a spiritual awakening. An aha moment where reality seeps into an otherwise unresponsive brain. The neurons and synapses suddenly snapped and formed a new pathway. Carl Jung is a lot smarter than I am. I just knew in that split second. That I was cured of the desire to drink alcohol. I put the cap on the bottle and dropped it into a trash cage. I left it on top of the pile. I was thinking about some of the old drunks who used to drink at Vimy Ridge. (Me! Hah!) And I left it half full. It’s the code of the wayfaring drunk. If you don’t need it… share it.

The rest was simple. Because I was relieved of the urge and encompassing desire to drink. And for that? I have absolutely no explanation. The founder of AA Bill Williams described a similar incident. Except his was accompanies by “a great wind that blew threw me.”

That would have been cool. At least it would have made a bit of sense. Mine was a simple realization that I did not have to drink. I had liver failure, yellow skin, advanced jaundice and was suffering from explosive nosebleeds. My eyes were yellow. I drank a twelve pack of extra strength 6.6% Western beer and a mickey of rye a day. Every day.

Then the day I was due to report to the Cookie Club?

I got a message. “What the fuck are you doing?”

Of course then I did the right things. I attended AA every day and twice on Sunday. I spent two weeks in intensive care at the Winnipeg General (not recommended) and another in recovery for pancreatic shutdown. I was put on a liver transplant list until 18 months down the road my liver began to recover. (A nice message to get)

So do I think Ro-Fo and Do-Fo are pursuing a suggested route for recovery.

All I can say is that it’s not one that my Irish counselor at the AFM would prescribe. I did not go back to writing and instead went to AT&T to do Internet Support. Then I went to the Rockies to pursue ski instruction and a job in the Canadian Ski Industry. But I only did that after a year plus five months in Winnipeg. I went to meetings, I took a sponsee, I talked at meetings and kept in touch with my sponsor. In Inveremere, BC I continued to go to meetings. Took another sponsor out there and he brought me through the amends portion of the program.

Step nine. It ain’t easy. It requires humility and a realization that there are no excuses for actions undertaken when you were drunk… or stoned for that matter.

Step nine stipulates that you take ownership of your actions.

Mayor Rob Ford had an opportunity to do just that during a press conference at City Hall in Toronto.

Instead he held a stump speech and refused to answer any questions about his prior actions.

Most telling was his copping of a plea concerning a drunk woman at the wheel of his Escalade during his stay at treatment.

He sited confidentiality.

And that’s just bullshit.

Good treatment centres stress honesty and forthrightness as two major bellwethers for taking control of your sobriety.

There are no rules about explaining about how a drunk woman came to be in control of your car.

Indeed. In his new life? If he has one?

An explanation is required. Honesty is required. Coming clean is required.

Instead he uses the coward’s bluff.

“I can’t discuss that.”


I can discuss that. I have some cred.

I see an inventory not taken.

And therefore?

I see trouble on the horizon.

Get gav @terrancegavan