Watson, a pivotal all-round presence in Australia's 5-0 whitewash of England, found himself at odds with former coach Mickey Arthur and also reportedly captain Michael Clarke in the early months of last year.
It was only after Cricket Australia sacked Arthur and replaced him with former Test batsman Darren Lehmann, weeks before the start of a 3-0 Ashes defeat in England last summer, that Watson began to feel he belonged again.
With 51 Tests under his belt dating back to January 2005, 32-year-old Watson is one of Australia's longest-serving players.
Yet not until this winter did he experience Ashes success - and it is not stretching the truth to say it almost did not happen, such was the depth of his disagreements with Arthur during Australia's Test series defeat in India 10 months ago.
Under Lehmann, he believes he has found his niche at last.
"There's absolutely no comparison. This is the time of my life," said Watson, a day on from the 281-run trouncing of England at the SCG which completed Australia's clean sweep.
"I know how lucky I am to be involved in such a special environment because it doesn't always come along."
Not so long ago, that was very definitely not the case.
"I'd always had certain beliefs and I'd been lucky to be around so many great teams to know most importantly that you need to be making sure you're having a lot of fun," he added.
"It's a game that if you take too seriously - and I do at times - you can really get too internal, and the game gets too much for you.
"I knew that's what was happening within the Australian team - and like I say, Darren Lehmann comes in and within one day turns that all around."
The culmination of that well-being is to be part of a team which has just dealt out only the third 5-0 whitewash in Ashes history.
"Personally, it makes it more sweet," Watson added.
"There's no doubt about that.
"There were times I knew I had to stand strong with my beliefs ... to get the best out of the amazing talent we had in the group.
"I would certainly never take back how I stood and voiced my opinions at certain times.
"I know when there's down times if you stand strong enough and persevere for long enough that it might turn around - and it has in a way I never ever expected."
- Sports & Recreation
- Darren Lehmann
- Cricket Australia
- Mickey Arthur