Tom Ford felt unworthy after leaving Gucci.

The 52-year-old designer parted ways with the luxury brand in April 2004 following a clash regarding the artistic control of the Gucci Group and says the move was initially a huge blow for him.

In an interview with, he said: ''After leaving Gucci Group, there was a dramatic sense of loss and of not being worthy, so rebuilding my life professionally and personally was an enormous struggle. I've probably not cut myself any slack. And that's still going on.''

Tom - who raises a son, Alexander John Buckley Ford, with his husband Richard Buckley- is gearing up to receive the Council of American Fashion Designers' biggest honour, the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award at the CFDA Awards on June 2.

He admits the recognition has made him reflect on his career landmarks as well as everything he's achieved in his personal life.

The designer explained: ''It was ten years in April since I left Gucci, five years today since I quit drinking, and this award has made me think the last ten years have actually been quite amazing, even if they didn't seem so because I was busy putting out fires and I never stopped and said, 'OK, I really did a lot of things, I made a movie, I built a business, had a child, stopped drinking...' ''

While he was initially offended because he felt the prize insinuated he had peaked, Tom is now excited about collecting the trophy at the New York City ceremony next month.

He said: ''At first I didn't like it, but actually what it caused me to do was look back on my work, not only in my mind but literally, and I have to say that was cathartic, and a pleasant surprise.

''I actually liked some things and felt proud of them, and that ultimately made me feel more comfortable with myself. And here I am, maybe a little bit more relaxed and a little less desperate to achieve more.''