But in an online video interview, Yarran has told of how religion helped turn his life around since he walked away from the game last year.
The 26-year-old played 119 games for Carlton before he was traded to Richmond ahead of the 2016 season, but left Punt Road without making a senior appearance after being delisted in November.
“By the eighth year (of my career) … that was when my life started to fall apart,” Yarran said in the video produced by the Potters House Christian Fellowship Church.
“I was introduced to methamphetamines by a family member.
“Drugs were something I despised my whole life.
“And I remember as I was about to try ice, I said to myself ‘This will either be just a good night, or it will ruin me’.
“It ruined me.”
The Tigers gave Yarran indefinite leave in May last year to deal with an undisclosed mental health issue.
Yarran said that he tried counselling, psychiatrists and even spent a month in a $1000-a-night rehabilitation clinic in a bid to kick the habit and save his career.
But all failed, the former star half-back flanker revealing he was back on ice the day he left rehab.
“It destroyed my relationship, my career, my finances, my health, physically and mentally,” Yarran said.
“I went from a fit, healthy athlete to a slob.
“I stacked on the weight, and that’s when I started to miss training because I didn’t want to be seen in the messed-up state I was in.
“I would be awake for days and that started to take a toll.
“I remember sitting in my bathroom for hours smoking meth, isolating myself from everyone, and that’s when my mind would take over.
“Once I didn’t get a kick out of smoking, that’s when I started injecting it.”
The former first-round draft pick returned to home state Western Australia after he was delisted by Richmond and has played some reserves football with WAFL club Swan Districts.
His confession has prompted renewed debate about the AFL’s drugs code, with the players’ union arguing players are entitled to confidentiality even if they’re set to be traded.
While there is no suggestion Yarran was using ice at the time of his trade, the AFL Players Association backed the league’s illicit drugs policy as a mechanism to aid recovery.
“For the players, confidentiality’s a key pillar of the (AFL illicit drugs) policy,” the AFLPA’s Brett Johnson told SEN radio.
“Players submit themselves to this policy voluntarily, but as a collective, they want to make sure their mental health and wellbeing is looked after and are aiming to address that through the illicit drugs policy.
“With the policy, it offers the opportunity for early identification which then allows for early intervention and that’s where the (drug) testing is really important.”
Johnson would not reveal if the AFLPA attempted to provide support to Yarran but welcomed his efforts to fight the addiction.
He said challenges similar to the ice addiction suffered by Yarran are being faced by ex-AFL players daily.
“We’ve got 3500 past-player members and I guess we deal with this sort of thing on a daily basis” Johnson said.
“Whether that be issues related to mental health or physical health, financial hardship.”
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