Can a sobriety coach help turn around Rob Ford’s dipping polling numbers?

Rob Ford knows he has one more shot to win back the trust of Torontonians: His campaign manager has said that if he slips off the wagon, his re-election dreams are dashed. That perhaps explains why the embattled and troubled mayor of Toronto is now reportedly travelling with a sobriety coach.

Newstalk 1010 reports that Ford employs a full-time sobriety coach as part of his efforts to recover from his substance abuse addiction. The revelation came while Ford appeared on the station, where he once hosted his own show, just days after cancelling one-on-one interviews with several other outlets.

Newstalk 1010 producer Mike Bendixen announced the revelation on Twitter during Ford's appearance.

A sobriety coach, or sober companion, is trend in addiction recovery often employed by celebrities and other wealthy addicts. It is literally a person who will travel with the addict to stop him or her from relapsing, often being paid between $1,500 and $3,000 a day.

Celebrities such as Matthew Perry and Owen Wilson have employed sober coaches in the past, reportedly at the request of Hollywood studios they are working with. Athletes such as Theo Fleury and Josh Hamilton have also received assistance in the past to maintain their sobriety while returning to work.

Radar Online reported earlier this year that Lindsey Lohan fired her sobriety coach immediately after the filming of a reality television show about her recovery had ended.

Little information has been gleaned about the existence of Ford's sobriety coach. But even with the aide in tow, Ford says he can't guarantee he can stay sober.

"I know one thing for sure, I didn't drink yesterday and I haven't had a drop of alcohol today," Ford told host Jerry Agar, repeating a mantra that has become Ford's shield in the post-rehab era.

"I'm not going to sit here and give promises I have no control over."

The appearance came shortly after a new popularity poll was released showing Ford had dropped to third place since his return from rehab.

The Forum Research poll released on Friday suggests that Ford's tempestuous return to the Toronto mayoral election campaign this week has not helped his chances at re-election, even suggesting his support has dropped three days into his seemingly-intentional conflict-filled return.

According to the poll, Ford's support in a five-way race between himself, Olivia Chow, John Tory, Karen Stintz and David Soknacki now sits at 26 per cent.

That is a slight drop from the 27 per cent Ford held on June 23, when his numbers spiked in anticipation of his return from rehab.

In the latest poll, Chow's support increased from 34 per cent to 36 per cent and Tory's support increased from 24 per cent to 27 per cent, passing Ford and regaining second place leading up to the October 27 election.

Soknacki sits at four per cent and Stintz sits at three per cent.

[ Related: Addiction expert warns of pitfalls Ford will face at home and work ]

The number of people who say they are definitely voting for Ford also dropped from the last poll, from 29 per cent on June 23 to 25 per cent on July 2.

And only 26 per cent of respondents believed that Ford would remain sober until the election.

The common refrain from politicians in the midst of election campaigns is that the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day. Ford took that one step further, making comments during the chummy radio interview that suggested that he not only didn't read the polling numbers, but that he was unable to understand simple questions about them.

When asked what he would do if he wasn't re-elected, Ford responded with, "I take one day at a time."

Ford was then asked about his fading polling numbers and in response, he promised Toronto would see a record number of voters, and those new voters would presumably all be voting for him.

"If I get 100 per cent (support) I will run down the street naked," Ford said.

One assumes that would mean Ford's sobriety coach would be running right next to him.

(File photo courtesy Reuters)

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