updated 05/02/2011 AT 2:15 PM ET
•originally published 05/02/2011 AT 2:30 PM ET
It’s been just over a year since an affair cost him his marriage to Sandra Bullock and fallout from the scandal upended his world. “Everything got ripped to shreds,” Jesse James tells PEOPLE in a candid interview, speaking from his home outside of Austin, Texas. “I was at my breaking point.”
A 30-day stint at Sierra Tucson treatment center in Arizona not only helped James, 42, cope at the height of the crisis but, as he writes in a new memoir, American Outlaw, it also shed light on his abusive childhood and turbulent life marked by anger and shame.
“I always felt out of place my whole life,” says James, who still felt unworthy despite rising to fame and success as CEO of West Coast Choppers custom motorcycle outfit and host of Discovery Channel’s Monster Garage. “I never felt successful, never felt I deserved anything.”