DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s been a long, troubled and well-documented road for former Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty. Failed marriages. Money troubles. Most of all, always there — the problem with alcohol.

McCarty said that’s all over now and it’s all due to medical marijuana.

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“The so-called experts say that it’s like switching decks on the Titanic,” McCarty said. “Hell no, it’s not. Anybody who knows me knows the grip alcohol had on my life. To be able to be free of that, I would do anything for it. And I’ve gotten there.”

McCarty takes a 500 milligram tablet of CBD in the morning. That’s a form of the drug that has no THC, the chemical that creates the marijuana high. The pills control the pain he has from his playing years and what he calls “self-inflicted wounds. I fell down a lot.”

“It’s not fun walking around with a knife in your back all day,” McCarty said. “So in the morning, when you can put some syrup or something in your coffee, it loosens you up…and [you can be] on your way,” McCarty said.

At night, he smokes marijuana to treat his insomnia

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McCarty had been through rehab four times but said it is only with the help of what he calls his “program,” that he has finally gained control of his life. He said that he wants everyone to know his story so that others may be helped. McCarty also credits the support of his wife, Cheryl, whom he said had been through “Hell and back.”

As supporters gather signatures to put a measure on the ballot in November, McCarty believes that marijuana should be legal for recreational smoking in Michigan. He likes to joke that “This ain’t 1966…I’ll smoke anytime anyone wants to smoke. I mean, I ain’t afraid. As long as we’re doing it responsibly in the care of our own house…and we’re obeying the law, I’m down. Give me a call.”

It’s that down-to-earth manner that has endeared McCarty to Red Wings fans for decades. He grew up across the river in Leamington, Ontario, and went on play the tough-guy enforcer for the Wings, winning four Stanley Cups before his retirement in 2009. Despite his success, he’s always been known for his approachable attitude toward fans.

McCarty has a new job selling commercial and industrial real estate for Cushman and Wakefield in Southfield, which he boasts is number two globally in business development. “If you have leases for your businesses, you’re looking for space to move,” he jokes. “We can do that. I can do from one to 10. Whatever you need.”

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McCarty said in his life, mentally, he has never felt better. “I know the direction that I want. And I’m finally becoming the person that I can be. Getting everything in order.”