If you know me, you know that AJ McLean has always been my second favorite Backstreet Boy. Yes, Kevin ties with him a lot of times now, but it’s always been Nick and AJ for me. Just like when I was a growing fangirl in the ’80s, it was the baby and the bad boy (Joey and Donnie of NKOTB).
While I always claim to have a lot of things in common with Nick, and being that we are the same age and all, I do, it has always been AJ that I have had a deeper common thing with – being only children who were abandoned by their father and grew up with a Mom who worked and raised with your grandparents (or in my case, my Grandmother).
Like AJ when my Grandmother died, I hit rock bottom. She practically raised me, much like AJ’s grandmother had him. I didn’t go down a huge drug and alcohol spiral-like AJ did in 2001, but I questioned whether I wanted to die a lot.
And if it hadn’t been for seeing Backstreet Boys at Grad Nite the month before I graduated high school, I might not be here today. So much happened those last two years of high school that I was done with life.
Then you had AJ going into rehab three days before my 21st birthday when I could legally drink wasn’t so great.
Like AJ, I have an addiction problem. As you can tell, I’m obsessed with Backstreet Boys. I tell family that it’s better than drugs or alcohol. My anxiety causes me to try to take on a lot at one time, because, as you can tell, I spread myself too thin sometimes.
AJ’s non-sobriety wasn’t a shock to me. I knew about it after seeing him at conventions where he had something to drink at 10 in the morning or talking to him in the hallway outside his room on the cruise with a beer in his hand. Let’s not talk about Vegas after BSB shows.
AJ has been dealing with this for over 20 years now almost. He is still here. He is still fighting for his sobriety and that makes me think that out of all five guys, he is the strongest Backstreet Boy. Don’t get me wrong, you know I think Nick is why the moon rises and sets, but AJ hasn’t fallen victim to the downfalls like Amy Whinehouse or any of these other people who have died because of drugs, alcohol, or the mixture of it all.
Why? He is still fighting.
So, when I come online while taking a small break from work to see people talking about others who are belittling AJ McLean for coming clean about his addictions and his sobriety, I get a little pissed off.
Addictions are not a joking matter.
Addictions isn’t something that you can brag about, like say, mansions and Hall of Fame’s, but AJ has always been pretty open about this stuff with the media, with the fans, because he knows that we have his back.
This Corona-year and the world we are living in with a President (can we even call him that?) who thinks it’s all a hoax and is basically a dictator, could have been a very dark year for AJ if he hadn’t decided to get sober. In 2020 he doesn’t have the fans at concerts or meet and greets to see. He doesn’t have the stage, which he loves.
I am effin’ thankful AJ found his sobriety this year because I know how I feel being stuck inside, scared that I’m going to bring the virus into my mother who it would surely kill. How would someone who is fighting that demon like AJ handle this?
He is being productive because that’s what people like us have to do. No, it’s not a solo album that we won’t ever get (and I know I joke about it, but I love you AJ) and he’s not off trying to make one of his daughters famous – he is keeping the Backstreet Boys name in the public’s eye. He is making sure people know that Backstreet never went away. He’s not off holding concerts in hella small venues in one of the worst COVID states.
As you can see, Nick is staying productive, too. While he might be on “The Masked Singer,” he’s also staying connected with the fans through video games and planning on going back into the studio soon.
Howie is working on his real estate business, staying busy.
And Kev? Kevy Kev is out in nature which does that boy some good because he thrives in it.
This is why I think AJ is possibly the strongest Backstreet Boy. Both he and Nick have overcome SO much over the years, and while Nick has found his way away from the demons that got a hold of him, AJ is still fighting them. And he’s being honest about it.
So jokes on the people who want to make jokes. AJ is THRIVING.
And that makes him the real COVID 2020 winner.