Charlie Adam admits that the death of his father three years ago almost destroyed his confidence.
But the 29-year-old Scotland and Stoke City midfielder has vowed to keep improving because that's what Charlie Snr would have wanted him to do.
Adam's former footballer father died suddenly at his Dundee home aged 50.
"It was a real blow to me and really killed me a little bit in terms of confidence and the way I was playing," he told BBC Scotland.
"The thing that happened with my dad was a big disappointment.
"You've got to try to refocus yourself and that's what I've done and hopefully I can keep improving and playing as well.
"I know that's what he would want me to do. To keep playing as well as I can, playing at the highest level."
Adam did not start a game for Stoke under Tony Pulis for three months after the death of Charlie Snr, who himself played for Montrose, St Johnstone, Brechin City Dundee United, Partick Thistle, Forfar Athletic and Arbroath.
He also fell out of favour with Scotland manager Gordon Strachan only to be recalled to the squad for the recent friendly against Qatar and the Euro 2016 qualifier against Republic of Ireland.
"Kids and the wife, people off the pitch, make you stronger," said Adam. "I've got a good wife and two children that just adore their dad.
"That gives you confidence, coming home every day and seeing them smiling. That's where you take your comfort from."
Adam, who ended the season with five goals in nine games for the Premier League side, also praised current Stoke manager Hughes - and not only because he handed the Scot a new three-year contract this month.
"I wanted to stay there, so it was easy to finish it and get it sorted and get it over the line," said the midfielder.
"He's been brilliant. He's a great coach. Even when I was out the team, he always tried to do well for me.
"The real goal for me at the end of the season was finishing well and getting in the Scotland squad. I managed that."
Adam has no problem about not breaking into the Scotland team that drew in Dublin, recognising that the current midfield has been playing well.
"The manager wants to play lads who are playing regularly, so it was nice to get back in and I just have to wait my time," he added.
"It's nice to be playing well, but next season is a new season and you've got to try to perform how I was at the end of last season to try to stay in the Scotland squad, which is a big thing for me."