AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke of Dancing with the Stars fame open up about their alcohol addiction

AJ McLean recently celebrated a year of being sober. However, his life was not always like this. Addicted to drugs and alcohol, the 42-year-old experienced his share of overdoses and multiple stints at alcohol rehab programs, before he could claim sobriety. McLean talked about his journey with his podcast co-host Cheryl Burke and friend Rene Elizondo Jr., over the weekend.

Burke, the Dancing with the Stars participant, accepted that the hit show got her a lot of attention, all of a sudden. Not being comfortable with so much attention, she turned to alcohol to numb her feelings. “It was very much what we call a dry dunk. You know, I was basically just white knuckling it and getting lucky,” McLean said on his new podcast, “Pretty Messed up” on iHeart Radio.

McLean thanks his family

McLean accepted that one day when he returned home reeking of alcohol, his younger daughter came to cuddle him. She broke away from him in the middle of the cuddle saying that he didn’t smell like her daddy. That was the rock bottom for him and prompted him to seek help. “The kid saved my life,” the Grammy nominee recalled.

Even when he relapsed in Las Vegas, his family and friends supported him and got him back on track. “In terms of AJ, I couldn’t be more proud. I didn’t get AJ sober. I’m not keeping him sober. It’s not the way it works. It’s something that has to come from within,” Elizondo Jr said about his friend.

Burke is also two years sober

Kicking the addiction to alcohol was a milestone for both McLean and Burke. More than two year sober now, Burke had lost her own father to alcoholism. Recalling her decision to turn sober, she said that when her dad passed away she was thinking that either she would crash and burn or she could check into a rehab and be the complete opposite. She is grateful that she took the second option.

Accepting that McLean had been a positive influence in her life, Burke said that their shared struggle enabled them to build a strong bond. Most often than not, their rehearsals turned into therapy sessions, accepted the stars smiling.

Wrapping up the session, both the stars advised those trying their hand at sobriety to not be very hard on themselves and to give themselves a chance. Be proud of who you are; don’t be ashamed and know that progress takes time, they said.

Seeking help for alcoholism

Alcoholism is a scourge. It not only destroys the affected person’s life, but also the lives of people around them. It has several short- and long-term effects and is responsible for the cancer of the colon, liver and other deadly diseases. Timely intervention in the form of an alcohol detox program can save lives.

Though it took McLean nearly 20 years to overcome alcoholism, the same might not be true for you. If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of alcoholism, like blackouts, physical tremors in the body in the absence of alcohol, general discontent or guilt every time they indulge in alcohol, get in touch with the California Detox Helpline. Call our 24/7 detox helpline 855-780-2495and talk to a representative about the best alcohol detox program available. Alternatively, you can chat online with our admission counsellor for further information. Take that first step toward sobriety today and start you journey to recovery.