"I have been comfortable and happy to tell my story because I hope it can make a difference in somebody else's life," Carter tells PEOPLE

By Patrick Gomez
Updated December 01, 2020 09:43 PM
Credit: Carlos Alvarez/Getty

Nick Carter isn’t afraid to air his dirty laundry.

“I have been comfortable and happy to tell my story because I hope it can make a difference in somebody else’s life and inspire them to realize that they are not alone. They can overcome any trouble in their life,” the Backstreet Boy, 35, told PEOPLE after Monday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars. “It’s been cathartic for me.”

Before his first dance of the night, Carter opened up about his past drug and alcohol use and how the death of his sister Leslie gave him the wake-up call he needed to change his life.

The taped video package visibly weighed on the pop star, who faltered during his routine with pro dancer Sharna Burgess Monday after the video played.

“I feel like watching it it affected me a little bit. Sometimes it is a reality check to realize, ‘Oh my God. All these things did happen to me. I did go through these things,’ ” he said. “But things are going to happen in everybody’s life. I’m not special. I’m human and mistakes are going to happen. It’s how you react to those mistakes and how you overcome them that is important.”

And Carter – who recently announced he is going to become a father – says he’s learned a lot about himself through his experience on the ABC reality dance competition.

“I started from a very closed place in my heart. I was not as open as I have been in the past,” he said. “But I opened up and allowed everyone to see who I am, which is a loving person. I’ve started to become okay with who I am. I’ve started to realize that my past is my past and I’m okay with the person that I’ve become on the other side of all that.”

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Dancing with the Stars

concludes its season next week Monday and Tuesday (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.