'That's my biggest enemy' - Bulut on battling drug ban

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Former Western Sydney Wanderers striker Kerem Bulut is struggling to come to terms with his four-year ban from professional football.

The 28-year-old is currently halfway through the longest ban ever given to an Australian athlete involved with recreational drugs for the first time, having testing positive for cocaine in May 2018.

Despite offering an early guilty plea, Bulut was severely punished by Turkish authorities and saw his stint with second division club Menemenspor come to an abrupt end.

Such an outcome has since left the ex-Olyroo at risk of reaching breaking point and unsure of how much more he can take.

"I don’t know if I can last any longer," Bulut told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I try not to break because if I break that will be it.

"You have to show your face to your family, friends and the people who look at you. You let a lot of people down.

"The only damage I do is to myself. My biggest enemy and my biggest problem is myself. I look at myself in the mirror and think that's my biggest enemy sometimes."

With two years of reflection under his belt, Bulut credits friend and former Socceroo Ahmad Elrich for improving his physical and mental health.

"Me and myself have become good friends now; I am not my enemy any more," he said.

"I was never sure of myself. It’s hard to explain ... it’s just a battle with your head and once you win that mental game with yourself, you can relax and calm down and it’s all worked out. 

"He (Elrich) is a top guy. He gave me a lot of advice because he’s been through it. I take lessons from him and he said it’s not worth it.

"He taught me to overcome the struggles in my head and get back to football."

Bulut now hopes to do good on his second chance at club football, whenever that time may come.

"I know that in the future I will respect the sport more and respect myself," he added.

"I’ll never put myself in that position again."