AJ Mclean is opening up about his ongoing battle with addiction, revealing in a recent interview with PEOPLE that he recently relapsed.
Speaking with the news outlet, the Backstreet Boys singer, 40, opened up about his years-long sobriety journey and the ups and downs that have come with it, revealing how becoming a father has helped him stay on track.
“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,” McLean said. “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.”
While he credited his wife, Rochelle DeAnna McLean, and their children as being a “hug support,” he admitted that at times it can be difficult to put his own well-being above theirs.
“Because in my mind, that’s what you should do, you should put family first. You should put your kids first,” he said. “But because I’m still very co-dependent, I’m Mr. People Pleaser — and I think a lot of that comes from being a performer, and wanting to see the crowd happy, and seeing everybody around you, and loving the attention — I want to make sure everyone’s cool.”
“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,” he added.
McLean, who is set to embark on the Backstreet Boys’ DNA World Tour next year, initially entered rehab in 2001, and then again in 2002 and 2011, for depression and excessive alcohol consumption.
“One of the best things I was told, from my sponsor, from my friends, is the only way around is through,” McLean said. “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.”0comments
The singer has frequently used his voice to help others struggling with addiction. Following Demi Lovato’s overdose in July, which resulted in a two-week stay in the hospital, McLean gave the “Don’t Be Sorry” singer a message of support.
“She's too talented and too smart to let that take her," he said, also offering the singer advice of his own, including suggesting that “she "go to meetings" and "get a sponsor” as well as find a “sober companion.”