AJ McLean’s family life is holding him together in the face of addiction but it’s not easy.
The 40-year-old Backstreet Boys member opened up about his struggles in the new issue of 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,” 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.”
McLean also admitted that family life itself brings its own challenges, with the father of two learning to put his family ahead of himself.
“Are my kids and my wife a huge support, and a huge inspiration? Yes, a hundred per cent,” he said. “But, at the same time the biggest problem I deal with, with them, is putting myself first, and not my family first. Because in my mind, that’s what you should do, you should put family first. You should put your kids first. 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.”
All of it goes toward making sure he has support from the people around him.
“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.
“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,” he continued. “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 it will creep up. And it’s a mother, and it will win if you don’t take care of yourself.”