Defender Dean Leacock has revealed he had started to think about retiring before his move to Notts County.
He had a miserable spell at Leyton Orient last season, following an unhappy end to his Derby County career.
But the 28-year-old has been a regular for the Magpies this season.
Leacock told BBC Radio Nottingham: "It was hard, but maybe it was a blessing. I have had a change of heart and I looked at a few things over the summer and I'm doing alright and am happy."
And Leacock said the transfer to Leyton Orient in January last year also turned into a nightmare.
"I can't say I had a great time down there playing-wise," he continued. "I wasn't going through the best of stages football-wise, I didn't know whether my heart was still there.
"It was hard and I didn't get to see my wife and kids. I wasn't playing and I was training with the youth team. It was real difficult, but I have moved on and feel I am stronger person and a stronger player."
The former Fulham centre-half said he owed a debt of gratitude to former County boss Keith Curle, who brought him to the club last summer, but was sacked in February.
"Keith Curle was everything I wanted to see in a manager," Leacock added. "He got me playing with a smile again - that was the biggest issue. I wasn't liking training or anything, but he got me playing with a smile.
"It made me look at football and realise it's a great thing to be in - not just for money but for the fans and the buzz you get. If I am happy, I go home to the family and it makes it a lot better.
"They were tough times, but I have come out a lot better person and stronger for that."