In 2004, his hit sitcom Kenan & Kel had been canceled, film work was scarce and his six-year marriage to Tyisha Hampton was ending.
“I felt like I’d hit a wall,” the former teen star, now 37, says in the current issue of PEOPLE. “I was like, ‘Okay. I need to figure out what I need to do in my life.’ “
Mitchell now calls that time in his life a “confusion moment,” but he has admitted on his blog that he was “suicidal” and “deep in sin” while dealing with his “divorce, drug and alcohol usage … the lost of love ones to gang violence, debt, hurt, pain, vanity, lust [and] heartbreak.”
Feeling “lost and looking for answers,” Mitchell tells PEOPLE he returned to the faith that was instilled in him growing up on the South Side of Chicago as the grandson of a pastor.
“I was trying to figure it all out on my own. But what I needed to do was turn to Him,” says the actor, who became the stage manager at a non-denominational Christian church in Los Angeles. “Once I found that clarity with Christ, I knew everything would work out.”
Now, the actor says he has found “peace” thanks to his relationships with God, his son Lyric, 16, daughter Allure, 14, and his new wife Asia Lee, a designer and rapper whom he wed three years ago.
“I enjoy living this life,” says Mitchell, who currently stars on the new Nickelodeon sitcom Game Shakers (Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET) and tours doing stand-up and motivational speaking. “I don’t let things frustrate or worry me anymore. I don’t do that because I have peace in my heart. I have God.”
For more on Kel Mitchell’s journey to happiness, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday