Kieran Foran has spoken about his out of control lifestyle and gambling problem - revealing his move to the Warriors will make him a better man and father.
The 26-year-old is today set to make his long awaited club debut against the Gold Coast Titans at Mt Smart Stadium, 12 months after the league community was left stunned by his shocking fall from grace that culminated in an attempt on his own life.
The Kiwis international says he's taking steps to address his personal problems during a torrid past year in which he wrestled with addictions and mental illness, while his private life and career disintegrated around him.
• READ MORE: Foran: League took edge off my demons
He sought solace in his homeland after accepting a career lifeline with the Warriors, and particularly credits the support from teammate Shaun Johnson.
"It's been the fight of my life," said Foran.
"There's been times when I haven't wanted to jump behind the wheel of my car because I've been worried I'd drive my car into a pole at 160km/h."
Having worked to piece his life and career back together, he has been further distressed by accusations his mental illness is a facade designed to obscure his chequered past and enable him to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.
"My situation is very complex. I had poor habits, I had addiction and I had mental illness. I've seen psychiatrists for the past 18 months and there's no right or wrong.
"Mental illness is real and it's a personal struggle that only the person suffering and those around them know what it's like.
"It's a torrid road. It takes everything you've got to get through it."
He said owed "a lot and credit a lot of my change to Shaun because he's a wonderful young man.
"He's helped me along my way and shown me what a good man looks like.
"I love the bloke as a person. He's a great person first and foremost and a great player secondly.
"We love hanging out and spending time together and he's helped me so much.
"I can't speak highly enough of the bloke and I mean that."
Since arriving in Auckland Foran says he has made good progress in addressing a decade long gambling addiction that began as a teenager and grew in proportion to his increased salary and profile as one of the game's best and highest paid players.
The former Manly and Parramatta playmaker was granted a release last July from his Eels contract reportedly worth $5 million.
Despite making attempts to change, Foran said he had to escape Australia's rampant gambling culture to get on top of a habit that saw him betting huge amounts of money each week.
"I was a gambling addict," he said. "I had been for most of my career. I've never bet on rugby league but I've bet big money on horses and greyhounds.
"From my second or third year of first grade, I knew that my gambling was out of control. Something had to give."
In confronting his demons, Foran was determined to resurrect himself as a better man and dad to young children Jordan (one) and Emerson (three).
"Making the decision to come to New Zealand wasn't easy because I've got two beautiful kids that I love to death.
"But I knew that I could make a decision to come here and change for the rest of my life,
for my kids, and finally be the father that I know I can be to them.
"And the proof is in how I'm feeling and my lifestyle. I don't gamble. I haven't gambled in four and a half months."
Foran's downfall stunned the league world. Until his problems became public he had built a reputation as one of the game's good guys.
Foran says on-field success helped disguise his issues.
"Rugby league can mask what's really going on in your life.
"If you can play football well enough on the weekend everyone assumes your life is great but the reality is that's not always the case."
Foran was caught up in a match-fixing investigation, but after a lengthy probe by the NRL was cleared of any wrongdoing before his one-year contract with the Warriors was finally approved last month.
"For me now it's about making smart decisions. Every day I wake up I say to myself 'today, be a better man and make better decisions'.
"I believe I'm a good person that made some bad decisions and poor choices."
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