The Stoke winger turns out against his old club West Ham this afternoon delighted to be free of the gambling addiction which threatened to destroy both his career and his life.
Etherington, who admits to having blown £1.5million with the bookies, told The Sun: "I'm enjoying playing, looking forward to games and loving life.
"I am happy with myself. It was September 27, 2009 when I had my last bet and I would never have thought I could go a year without a bet - but I have done and it's good.
"Without a doubt, gambling used to affect my performances. I would gamble my last penny and still go looking for more.
"You feel like you've got a ton of bricks on your shoulders, loads of worries and it was overwhelming me.
"My family sat me round the table and I didn't realise how much it was affecting them.
"I was wrapped up in myself and my own emotions. I didn't realise what it was doing to my girlfriend and my sister.
"It just hit home. I was sick and tired of betting, I didn't want to do it any more. I didn't even get any pleasure out of winning.
"Something just clicked and I thought, 'I can't do this any more'."