Updated 6:54 p.m., 12/19/2013
(CNN) –– U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession, left a rehab facility in Florida on Thursday, expressed remorse and said he planned to return to Washington to continue serving in Congress.
"I love what I do and I'm going to return to what I do, what you sent me to do in Washington, D.C., which is working for you and your family while I relish mine," Radel said at a news conference in Cape Coral, Florida.
"And no one, no one will take away my passion when it comes to serving Southwest Florida," he added.
Radel said he's thankful for his support system and "remorseful" for his actions.
The Congressman said he used cocaine a handful of times but said alcohol was the focus of his treatment.
"Alcohol is my issue," he said. "I know have a step by step program and a rediscovery of faith and family and God, which I had lost over the years to focus on what's important."
A Republican tea party favorite, the freshman lawmaker announced he would take a leave of absence after admitting to buying cocaine from an undercover agent last month in Washington.
He was placed on probation. The House Ethics Committee plans a formal investigation.
The chairman of the Republican Party of Florida has called on Radel to step down.
Radel said that he had "a lot of work to do to rebuild" trust, and not just of Republican Party members.
When asked if he would run again in November, Radel said: "Politics and re-election are the absolute last thing on my mind right now."
CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.