Senators forward Bobby Ryan opens up about recovery from alcohol problem
OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan says he’s "doing great” as he recovers from an alcohol problem.
Ryan spoke to the media on Friday for the first time since the Senators announced he entered the NHL/NHLPA assistance program last November for an undisclosed reason.
“I’m immensely happy that I did it,” Ryan said about receiving help, adding he has received support from NHL players who have previously gone through the program.
Ryan told reporters he had been battling his alcohol problem for a while before entering the program.
“I’ve tried on my own and I was already getting help for it. What I was doing wasn’t enough,” Ryan said.
“I was trying to white knuckle things and do things the wrong way. I’d have 20 days of nothing and one real bad one and you just can’t get better without it.”
Ryan added “there’s such a stigma around asking for help.”
The Senators forward told reporters he spent weeks agonizing over the fact seeking help would be a media story.
“I got to a point where I just said enough is enough of this, of the shame, the guilt, and not being the person you need to be for your family,” Ryan said.
He adds his recovery has been a process and a learning experience.
Ryan last played for the Senators on Nov. 16.
He returned to the practice ice with the Ottawa Senators back in February. At the time, Senators head coach D.J. Smith said the team was happy to have Ryan back.
“When you have tough times, that’s what teammates and family are for. The guys were certainly happy to have him back.”
Ryan told reporters on Friday the plan is for him to play again this season.
“My wife has been an absolute rock star for me, allowing me to do this,” Ryan said of the support from his family.