Frankie Dettori fears he may never repair the damage done to his reputation after he failed a drugs test which has seen him handed a six-month ban.
The popular Italian jockey, 41, will not return to action on the racecourse until a fortnight before next year's Derby, with his suspension, handed out on Wednesday by French racing authority France Galop, running from November 20 to May 19 inclusive.
"I've been in hiding since it happened because of the shame factor," he told the Daily Star.
"It's not very pleasant. People will always remember it.
"Now when they look at me they won't think of the things I have done for racing in the past 20 years, they'll just think, 'He's the guy who got caught with drugs'. But you can't change the past and you've just got to move on.
"I'm ashamed and embarrassed. It was one night of madness with friends. I dropped my guard when I was at my weakest. I was in a dark place. I was very low, my job was going down the drain.
"When I woke up the next morning I regretted it but it was already too late. I will regret it for the rest of my life."
The three-times British champion jockey said the indiscretion came as he feared for his future after his 18-year association with powerful owners Godolphin came to an end in October.
Dettori, who was cautioned by police for possession of cocaine in 1993, said: "The last three or four months have been very strange. It's been frustration, unhappy times. I've been in a bad place.
"I wanted to be in the number-one car, not the second driver. Inside myself I wasn't happy, which is why I let my guard down - I made a mistake."
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