The Backstreet Boys‘ AJ McLean is opening up about ongoing struggles with addiction.
In the midst of personal success with the release of his first solo single, the musician is taking stock of his life, his sobriety and how family and therapy has helped him weather it all.
As you know, the singer battled depression and struggled with excessive alcohol consumption over the years, entering rehab on three different occasions in 2001, 2011 and 2012. And while he’s in a much better place now, AJ candidly tells People:
“You know, it’s interesting about sobriety with family and with kids — you still have to put yourself first, and that’s been a real big struggle for me. Look, I have no shame in saying, I’ve relapsed over the past year. It’s no secret that this is a disease, and that it’s a daily struggle.”
McLean continues the conversation by showing love to his kids, and reflecting on things he didn’t understand about his fellow daddy-bandmates back when they were in their heyday:
“Before I was a dad, I never really understood why Brian, and Kevin, and these guys wanted to rush back home after a tour was done. Me, I’m like, ‘Let’s just stay out here and have some fun.’ But now, I’m on that first 6:00 a.m. flight back to L.A., because I can’t wait to get back home, and stay home, and not do anything. Let my kids just jump on me!”
A family man through and through, the 40-year-old tells the publication that his wife and kids are his biggest source of support and inspiration. But he understands the dangers of being “Mr. People Pleaser” focusing on their needs and neglecting his own personal self-care:
“If you do that too often, then you forget about taking care of yourself, and you do tend to get lost in the sauce. And that’s happened to me numerous times.”
Instead, the boyband member clings to advice from his sponsor, friends, and family who support his quest for long-term sobriety and happiness:
“One of the best things I was told, from my sponsor, from my friends, is the only way around is through. And sometimes, you’re just going to have the worst days possible. But if you surround yourself with a good support group, if you go to meetings, if you talk to other addicts … you have to make it a lifestyle, you truly do.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, and can’t be yourself. But if you want to stay alive, there is no true … For me, you don’t beat it. It’s not like, okay, I’m sober, it’s done. I’ll never drink again. No. You have to work at it daily. Or I will creep up. And it’s a mother, and it will win if you don’t take care of yourself.”
When it’s all said and done, AJ says he wouldn’t change a thing about the decisions he’s made and where he is now:
“I have no regrets. I think I did everything the way I was supposed to, I guess. Maybe I did it right, maybe I did it wrong, but no one’s perfect. And I’m still sitting here today. So obviously, thank God, someone’s watching me upstairs, and I’m doing something right.”
[Image via AJ McLean/Instagram.]
If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.
And ... Don't forget to have fun!