Suspended prop Matt Stevens has admitted he is relieved to have been caught taking cocaine.
The Bath and England star, who toured New Zealand with the Lions in 2005, has been banned from all rugby-related activities for two years after testing positive for the substance late in 2008.
Although he will miss this summer’s Lions tour to his homeland of South Africa and now faces an uphill struggle to get his career back on track prior to the 2011 World Cup, Stevens believes being caught will be a good thing in the long run.
"There’s a sense of relief that I can get fixed and stop abusing myself," said Stevens, who made his international debut in 2004 and has since collected 32 England caps.
"It’s something that you just have to live with now. You don’t know if you’re never going to do it again and it’s a horrible monkey on your back.
"Luckily, because of this test, I’ve caught it before it ruins my life completely.
"Obviously it has in some senses but I’m not laying on some street corner, I’ve not lost my family and friends because they have given up on me. I think everyone has not given up on me and that’s a great thing to have."
After much press speculation over his future with Bath, Stevens has decide to resign from his contract rather than waiting to see if he would be kept on or sacked as a result of his suspension.
"I have to do the honourable thing," Stevens told The Times newspaper.
"I want to spare the club who have been so good to me. I can’t thank the coaches enough for the support they have shown me, and the players."
The 26-year-old will now turn his attentions to overcoming his addiction and is looking into the possibilities of opening up a city centre café with fellow England international Lee Mears.
Stevens also intends to run the Bath half marathon for charity and take up Brazilian jujitsu as part of his fitness training ahead of his intended return to the game in 2011.
"I hope with every grain of my soul, that I’ll be able to come back and be a better rugby player than I was, and I think I will be," Stevens told BBC 5 Live.