Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan opened up about his recovery from alcohol on Friday while meeting with the media for the first time since entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program in November.
After trying to deal with the issue on his own, Ryan said his decision to reach out for help spearheaded his journey to recovery.
"I was trying to white knuckle things and doing things the wrong way," Ryan told reporters, per the team. "I'd have 20 days of nothing and one real bad one and you just can't get better without (help). There's a stigma around asking for help and I was trying to do it.
"I just had never had a period in my life where people were around me to kind of help me really stop and it took going somewhere to figure that out and getting myself I guess a dry period to start, that was very beneficial for me."
The 32-year-old said his issue with alcohol is something he's been dealing with for a long time. Ryan knew if he didn't get help, his troubles would only continue to spiral.
"I had a lot of times where I woke up in the mornings overridden with guilt, shame, and saying I would do it and do it for 12 days and then messing up again. It had no good end."
When asked if his story could serve as inspiration for those in need, Ryan offered an important message.
"If there's anybody that I guess hears it in some sense and can recognize something and kind of find a way to ask for help, hopefully less publicly, then I urge them to do it and I guess there's some silver lining there."
Ryan, who hasn't played since Nov. 16, returned from the player assistance program on Feb. 5 and said he hopes to get into a game within the next two weeks.