TORONTO - Mayor Rob Ford ended two months of self-imposed exile Monday when he returned to City Hall from a stint in rehab to resume what mayoral duties he still has, apologizing for his past offensive behaviour, pleading for a second chance, and promising an "unwavering" commitment to living clean.

In a nearly 20-minute statement, Ford spoke passionately of his addictions and his belated realization that they were destroying him.

"For a long, long time, I resisted the idea of getting help," Ford said. "I was in complete denial. I had become my own worst enemy."

Ford heaped praise on the rehabilitation facility he entered two months ago for saving his life and forcing him to "confront his personal demons."

He said he knows he will require treatment for the rest of his life but that getting help had changed him forever.

"I can proudly say I have begun the process of taking control of my life," Ford said.

Ford's role as mayor has been largely symbolic since November, when city council stripped him of most of his power following his admissions of alcohol abuse and drug use during "drunken stupors" that came after months of denials — along with offensive and profane comments he was recorded making.

The mayor apologized to those hurt by his words and actions, saying he regretted some of his past choices but said he blamed no one but himself for his misconduct.

Looking back, he said, "I'm ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated."

The mayor also made it clear he would stay on as mayor and fight for re-election in October.

"I want to thank the people of Toronto for their understanding and continued support during this very difficult time," Ford said. "I look forward to serving you for many, many more years."

With less than four months left in his term, Ford is expected to devote most of his time to his re-election bid.

One city councillor criticized the mayor for moving from a statement of apology into a re-election speech, complete with mentions of stopping the "gravy train" and other changes Ford considers his accomplishments.

"He should have just stopped with the heartfelt 'I'm sorry,'" Coun. John Filion said.

Ford, whose outrageous behaviour has earned him international notoriety, abruptly left for rehab May 1 after almost a year of insisting he didn't have a substance abuse problem and would not take time out for treatment.

Saying he was "blind to the dangers" of some of the company he kept — he has been photographed with known drug dealers — Ford said those associations were now emphatically over.

Even before his announcement Monday, the mayor was under fire for restricting media access to his announcement — ostensibly for space reasons — and letting it be known through his brother and campaign manager, Coun. Doug Ford, that he would be taking no questions.

His departure for rehab came just hours after the Globe and Mail said a drug dealer had shown two of its reporters a video of Ford allegedly smoking what was said to be crack cocaine. Around the same time, the Toronto Sun published audio of Ford at a bar making anti-gay remarks, using an ethnic slur, and saying he would like to "jam" a rival female mayoral candidate.

Ford had publicly sworn off alcohol late last year, but was forced to admit he had been drinking in a videotaped incident in January in which he used Jamaican swear words. At the time, he called the incident a "minor setback."

John Tory, one of Ford's rival candidates for mayor, was unimpressed with the mayor's speech Monday, saying Ford had "massively embarrassed" the city and should resign.

"His refusal to answer questions today is further indication that he doesn't get it as yet," Tory said.

"There are so many questions that are unanswered from the media, from the police and from the public and we need answers to those questions."

Apart from lingering questions about his substance abuse, Ford is under continuing police investigation after a guns and gangs probe allegedly captured conversations about a video that kicked off the controversy surrounding the mayor.

Ford's friend, Alesandro Lisi, has been charged with extortion related to attempts to retrieve the video — initially reported by the Toronto Star and U.S. website Gawker in May last year as appearing to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine. Lisi has been committed to trial next year.

Also, Democracy Watch has asked the city's integrity commissioner to investigate media reports that both Ford brothers allegedly lobbied on behalf of two companies with ties to their family's label business.

Ford's stint at rehab in Bracebridge, Ont., came after he apparently tried without success to enter the United States for treatment. Days later, he told the Toronto Sun that rehab was "amazing" and said he was making calls to constituents.

He was also photographed with members of the community during excursions into Bracebridge.

— With files from Will Campbell

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  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is greeted by a media throng as returns to his office at city hall in Toronto on Monday June 30, 2014, after his stay in a rehabilitation facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is greeted by a media throng as returns to his office at city hall in Toronto on Monday June 30, 2014, after his stay in a rehabilitation facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his office at city hall in Toronto on Monday June 30, 2014, after his first day back at work following his stay in a rehabilitation clinic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds back his emotions while speaking during an invite-only press conference at City Hall in Toronto on Monday, June 30, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds back his emotions while speaking during an invite-only press conference at City Hall in Toronto on Monday, June 30, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

  • A pro-Ford supporter stands next to Councillor John Fillion (right) as they listen to an audio feed of a news conference by Mayor Rob Ford on his return to city hall in Toronto on Monday June 30, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

  • UP NEXT: Best Rob Ford GIFs

  • 'Wrecking Ball' Ford

    Check out <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfXPPjCMLOI" target="_blank">the soundtrack</a>. <a href="http://imgur.com/pDO1anT" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>

  • Drinking And Driving

    We saw that, Rob. <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/let-wrecking-ball-show-you-the-true-beauty-of-rob-ford" target="_blank">From Buzzfeed</a>

  • Muuah!

    Ford blows us a kiss. <a href="http://twitchy.com/2013/11/08/the-gif-that-keeps-on-gifing-15-hilarious-must-see-rob-ford-moments/" target="_blank">From Twitchy</a>

  • Ford vs. Hulk Hogan

    We still can't believe he won, either. <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/let-wrecking-ball-show-you-the-true-beauty-of-rob-ford" target="_blank">From Buzzfeed</a>

  • Bongos

    <a href="http://o.canada.com/news/rob-ford-toronto-summer-of-ford/" target="_blank">Best summer ever</a>. <a href="http://i.imgur.com/AiflEHJ.gif" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>

  • Flashdance

    He's got the moves like Jagger.. He's got the moves like Jagger. <a href="http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Do/November-2012/In-tribute-of-GIF-being-the-word-of-the-year-heres-our-favourite-Toronto-GIFs/" target="_blank">From PostCity</a>

  • Self-Fumble

    Invisible defenders take down the mayor with an invisible tackle.

  • Foiled By The Jedi

    <a href="http://i.imgur.com/JrKal.gif" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>

  • Falling Off The Scale

    Did we mention this <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/12/rob-ford-ballet-nutcracker-toronto_n_1143708.html" target="_blank">man once performed in a ballet</a>? From <a href="http://robfordfalls.tumblr.com/">Rob Ford Falls Tumblr</a>

  • Running Man

    That's one way to deal with reporters. <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>

  • Maniacal Laugh

    Muhahahahaha <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>

  • Maniacal Laugh II

    Muhahahahahahahahahahaha <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>

  • Robbie Boo Boo

    <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/videos/clips---season-20/robbie-boo-boo.html" target="_blank">"22 Minutes" strikes again</a>. From <a href="http://thishourhas22minutes.tumblr.com/post/34114355293/22-minutes-discovers-mayor-rob-fords-new-honey">This Hour Has 22 Minutes</a>

  • Word Vomit

    Who needs words when you can just <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/02/rob-ford-vomit-noise-video_n_3001086.html" target="_blank">pretend to vomit</a>? <a href="http://imgur.com/gwV7q2h" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>

  • Time For His Close-Up

    Rob Ford proves you can run <em>from</em> the media, you can run <em>into</em> the media, and sometimes, you can do both at the same time. <a href="http://imgur.com/r/funny/nATPNJb" target="_blank">GIF from Imgur</a>

  • Bitchin' Sweater

    Bonus image. Want. <a href="http://imgur.com/xtxz2" target="_blank">Thank you Imgur</a>

  • NEXT: The Many Faces Of Ford

  • Toronto Rob Ford, right, gestures to Councillor Paul Ainslee in the council chamber as councillors look to pass motions to limit his powers in Toronto on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. Blasting what he called a "coup d'etat," Ford said voters should be able to pass judgment on him, not his fellow councillors.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (centre) dances with participants ahead of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on Saturday July 30, 2011.

  • Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford, left, celebrates after defeating wrestler Hulk Hogan in an arm-wrestling match to promote Fan Expo in Toronto on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 .

  • Twenty-two month-old Micah MacMilan reacts as he is picked up by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford while Ford was signing bobblehead dolls in his likeness at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday November 12, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds up a replica Grey Cup as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laughs with fans as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. Ford showed up at Sunday's Canadian Football League playoff game, despite a request by the league's commissioner that he stay away.

  • Canadian recording artist Drake, left, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laugh at a news conference announcing that Toronto will host the 2016 NBA All-Star game, in Toronto, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford displays a milk moustache as he takes part in voting with city council members in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford watches from the sidelines near the Argos bench during a CFL football game between the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders in Calgary on Saturday, August 18, 2012.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for photographs inside a giant shark mouth while attending the grand opening of the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. After two years of construction, delays and (Canadian) $130 million in costs, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada opened to the public Wednesday.

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for a photo opportunity with other dignitaries in a shark's jaws at the opening of Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is hoisted into the air by his Don Bosco Eagles team after winning the Metro Bowl quarter-final at Birchmount Park in Toronto, Thursday Nov. 15, 2012. A civil trial hearing in which the mayor is accused of libel against a restaurant owner went on without him.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (center) smiles as he officially opens the refurbished Sunnydale rink with Toronto Maple Leafs' coach Ron Wilson (right) and other dignitaries who were on hand as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs who practiced on the outdoor rink in Toronto on Wednesday, January 4, 2012.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford grabs the Grey Cup by the handles during a parade celebrating the Toronto Argonauts victory in the Grey Cup final in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012 .

  • Rob Ford Meets Butter Rob Ford

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/31/rob-ford-butter-sculpture-ex-cne_n_1846616.html" target="_hplink">Toronto Mayor Rob Ford comes face to face with a butter sculpture of himself at the Canadian National Exhibition</a>.

  • Butter Rob Ford

    As part of an exhibition at the CNE, Toronto-based artist Olenka Kleban has made a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/24/butter-rob-ford-sculpture_n_1828527.html" target="_hplink">butter sculpture of Toronto's mayor</a>.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford hoists the Grey Cup on stage with Toronto Argonauts players while celebrating the team's Grey Cup victory in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Nov.27, 2012.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford stands at the door to his office as he waits for an elevator in Toronto on Thursday November 14, 2013.

  • Mayor Rob Ford speaks at city council in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

  • Nov. 13 2013. Toronto mayor Rob Ford during the afternoon session as councillors continued to debate a motion asking mayor Rob Ford to apologize to Torontonians for misleading therm about his use of crack cocaine.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to his Don Bosco Eagles team during the Metro Bowl quarter-final at Birchmount Park in Toronto, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.

  • In this Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds a bobblehead doll depicting him at Toronto City Hall. An electoral map of the 2010 mayoral election shows that Ford's voter base resides mainly in a more conservative constituency than the downtown electorate.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (left) and city councillor Michelle Berardinetti (right) smile on stage during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford jumps on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)

  • Rob Ford's ballet debut

    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acts on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses the media outside office in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, after the release of a video. A new video surfaced showing Ford in a rage, using threatening words including "kill" and "murder."

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford emerges from his office holding slices of a birthday cake to offer to members of the media at city hall in Toronto on Tuesday May 28, 2013.