AJ McLean, who currently appears as a competitor on Dancing with the Stars, reflected on his rock-bottom moment to People Magazine, where he said he asked a higher power for help to direct him toward sobriety. The Backstreet Boys singer has been sober for 10 months after abusing drugs and alcohol for 20 years.
The performer revealed to the publication the moment he knew he needed help, and it involved his younger daughter.
AJ explained that less than one year ago, he went to see country superstar Shania Twain perform in Las Vegas, Nevada. He shared that prior to the excursion, he had mapped out where he was going to get drugs, and where he was going to get drunk. AJ noted that in his mind, he appeared to know his own limits and felt like he could do what he wanted without his wife of nine years, Rochelle, being any the wiser.
As it turned out, his original idea did not pan out exactly as he’d thought. He told People that he never slept the night of the show and that his quick trip did not go as planned.
“I missed my first two flights back home and reeked of alcohol when I got home. My wife and I had always had this agreement, which was if I smelled like alcohol, I wasn’t allowed to play with my kids — I couldn’t be around my kids. But what really hit me was the moment, my youngest daughter Lyric said to me that night, ‘You don’t smell like my daddy.’ And when she said that to me, that was it. Enough said. I felt disgusting,” he admitted.
AJ and Rochelle also share an older daughter, Ava.
The singer revealed that was a turning point for him and he called to God for help. The next day, he visited a sober living house where he met with a sponsor and began a difficult journey toward sobriety. He called this “the hardest I’ve ever had to work.”
He met a kindred spirit in his Dancing with the Stars professional partner Cheryl Burke, who revealed her own journey with alcohol addiction on the podcast LadyGang in September. As they continue to compete on the reality television dance series, the two have formed a friendship that has gone from the ballroom into the world of podcasting. They host a popular podcast titled Pretty Messed Up, where they — along with Rene Elizondo — sort through life together.