After taking an extended leave of absence in January, Russ Wyatt has returned to City Hall.
The Transcona councillor had missed several council meetings while he was at the Aurora Recovery Centre in Gimli.
Looking thinner and healthier, Wyatt addressed his absence at the opening of Thursday’s city council meeting.
“About three years ago I reached out to a fellow, Ian Rabb, and I guess I wasn’t ready at that time,” Wyatt explained. “Never took him up on it, finally did in January. Thank God, the facility that we have there exists today. It was absolutely amazing, it’s a world-class facility for Manitoba. It was an amazing process to go through, this journey I’ve been on.”
Wyatt said he spent 79 days in rehab battling alcohol and substance abuse, and explained that his time there has totally changed how he looks at life.
“It was spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally draining, but it was also very uplifting. I just have a different outlook on things, a different outlook on life. A different perspective, a shift, if you want. I do different things now that I didn’t do before that are healthy and make you feel good.”
Wyatt also expressed gratitude to everyone who helped him through his battle.
“I want to thank my family, my wife is a saint, all of my family and close friends. I want to thank my community for their thoughts, their prayers and their patience while I’ve been gone,” Wyatt said. “I want to thank the broad community of the whole city for their many messages, and I want to let this chamber know I have the utmost respect for this body. It was not an easy decision.”
He also mentioned how he looked forward to getting back to work for the final few months of this council.
“I’m happy to be back to work and serve the people. I was elected to serve and it’s a great thing to do that, but it’s also great to have this new outlook, to see things that I never saw before, which is really cool.”
Wyatt has not yet said if he will seek re-election in October’s civic election. He has represented Transcona since 2002.
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