AJ McLean was pushed to seek help for his substance abuse by his three-year-old daughter.
The Backstreet Boys singer, 42, has endured a 20-year battle with addiction to drugs and alcohol, and has revealed he decided to seek professional help for his vices when his youngest daughter Lyric, now three, told him he didn’t “smell like [her] daddy” after a night out.
He explained: “So literally 10 months ago, I went to go see my girl Shania Twain in Vegas. Before I even got on the plane, I had already mapped out the whole night. I knew where I was going to go get my drugs. I knew where I was going to go get drunk.
“I knew all of it and I figured, 'Okay, it's one night. As long as I don't go past a certain time and I don't smell like it, I can go have a nice last hurrah and then come back home. My wife won't know; everything's going to be great.'"
AJ said things didn’t go to plan, and he ended up “reeking of alcohol” when he finally made it back home.
And because of a prior agreement with his 39-year-old wife Rochelle - with whom he has Lyric, as well as six-year-old Ava - he was left unable to “be around” his brood until he sobered up.
He added: “It never, ever works out that way. I never slept. 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.”
The ‘I Want It That Way’ hitmaker enrolled in a sober living facility the day after his encounter with his daughter, and has been working on his sobriety ever since.
He told People magazine: "That was it for me. As we say in the sober world, that was my moment of surrender. That was the moment I dropped to my knees and I said, 'God, I cannot do this on my own. I can't. I have tried and I have failed miserably. So help a brother out.’
“Literally the very next day, I went to a sober living house to celebrate a friend of mine's three years sobriety date. I was still hungover, but my sponsor looked at me and said, 'Okay, he's here. I see the final desperation in his eyes.' The next day he said, 'Be at my house at six o'clock and we're going to start the work.' I showed up at 5:20. I'm like, 'I'm in this, dude. I'm in it.' I've been in it for the last 10 months. It's the hardest I've ever had to work."