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A.J. McLean -- The Downward Spiral

1/15/2011 2:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

A.J. McLean's issues with substance abuse have been the source of MAJOR problems in the past several months ... and it got so bad, that staffers on the Backstreet Boys' tour threatened to walk if he didn't get help.

TMZ has learned A.J. -- who's struggled with abuse for years -- was so hammered and rowdy on a BB fan cruise last month, that several passengers lodged complaints ... with some even demanding a refund. 

One cruise staffer tells us  A.J. and his crew acted like "drunken fools" for the entire five-day trip.

But after the cruise, the abuse continued ... and more people in his life threatened to jump ship.

Sources close to the singer tell us A.J. became so difficult to work with during rehearsals for the upcoming BB tour that multiple people were "ready to quit."

Fortunately, A.J. decided to check himself into rehab a few days ago -- but he insists he'll be ready to go for his upcoming tour.


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Since when is drinking "substance abuse"? by spinner25

Ummmmm drinking is substance abuse if u actually read. In the DSM which is a book of listed illenesses in the social working feild u would find that drinking is classified as substance abuse. Drinking is a very big deal an as stated b4 maybe the situation was just blow out of proportion but also he does need help and he cant do it alone. I know the guys an his family will be there 4 him. He is a good person an a talented one also an I wish him the best. Everyone with all their negative comments need 2 learn how 2 understand addicts an recovering addicts. There is no recovery period u may be sober 4 30 yrs but u r always considered an addict cuz u can relapse at any time plus the need 2 fall back on that as a crutch will always remain. The best thing we can do is give an show our support not only 2 aj but 2 every addict an 2 all the soon 2 be or the already social workers u know what I mean an u know what it takes. Compassion an understanding an time.

1337 days ago
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