While Andy McLaren was playing for Reading in 2000 he failed
a random drugs test and was immediately banned from
"Alcoholism had just taken over, it was the
most important thing in my life."
He then was forced to confront his demons and admit
he was an alcohol and cocaine abuser.
went to a clinic in Glasgow and worked hard to overcome his
He then resurrected his career with Kilmarnock and gained
a national cap when Scotland played Poland.
Now he's written a book called Tormented: The Andy
McLaren Story about how he fell foul of drink and drugs and
then rebuilt his life.
Here he speaks frankly to BBC Radio Berkshire's Henry
Listen to the interview here or read the transcript
What sent you to the drink and drugs in the first place?
Is it because they were readily available?
"Probably at the start.
"I had stuff from my childhood that had tormented me for
a load of years, and the drink and the drugs was a symptom
of that. I used them because I didn't feel very good about
"I used them as a mechanism to blot out these kind of
And how bad did it get?
"Pretty bad, at certain parts of my life I contemplated
taking my own life because of the pain and I didn't like the
person I became with the drink and the drugs, or the way I
was treating my family."
Was there any one thing that caused you to stop and seek
"Well failing a drug test at Reading was a major turning
point in my life. The stuff I was doing didn't sit right
with me, I wanted to stop but I didn't know how to stop.
"I could stop drink for maybe a week or two but I
couldn't stay stopped.
"The Priory introduced me to Alcoholics Anonymous and to
helping myself. You've got to want to stop.
"Alcoholism had just taken over, it was the most
important thing in my life. I've not had a drink for seven
"I'm still with Claire (his partner) and my two boys,
she's been my rock, I honestly think that if it wasn't for
her that I wouldn't be here now, I would have maybe
What advice would you give to younger players?
"I'd make them aware of the pitfalls, that's something
I'd really like to go and do is speak to the youngsters at
clubs and warn them of the dangers.
"I'm not saying for a minute that there's a problem with
drugs in football but there is a drug problem in society so
I think it's naive to think that people aren't getting
offered them in football."
There's so much money in football, do you think clubs do
enough to protect the younger players?
"I think there's a lot more now then what there used to
be. It's become silly the money in football. And young
football players have lots of money and lots of time on
their hands, which isn't a very good cocktail."
What are you doing to earn a living now?
"I'm still playing (when not suspended) - with A*r United
in the 2nd Division in Scotland.