The former Tottenham centre-half, 31, saw out his first 90 minutes in 22 months as the Potters claimed their first victory in a European tie following a tough battle against Hajduk Split.
Woodgate said: "My last game might have been in the San Siro but my last 90 minutes was for Spurs against Wigan when we won 9-1.
"That must be almost two years ago now. Whatever it is, it's a long while.
"And, of course, there have been times since then when I've thought: 'This is it, then.'
"But I reckoned without my family, fiancee and friends and without them it would have been hard. Maybe, if it wasn't for their support, I would have called it a day.
"They were bad times. But now I can look forward to a new season and it feels great."