Andy Gomarsall intends to repay Harlequins for saving him from rugby's scrapheap after joining the Premiership strugglers until the end of the season.
Gomarsall won the last of his 23 England caps in November 2004
The former England scrum-half has been out of the game since Worcester cancelled his contract in late May.
"It was shocking what happened to me and I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone else," he told BBC Sport.
"I love rugby so much and have really missed it. I'm very grateful to Quins for giving me this opportunity."
Gomarsall was Andy Robinson's first choice scrum-half when the England coach took over two years ago, and he started all three autumn Tests in 2004.
But after falling out of favour at international level and leaving Gloucester in the summer of 2005 to try to reignite his career, he dropped further out of the reckoning during an unhappy season at Worcester.
The club then terminated his contract one year into a three-year deal, and Gomarsall was contemplating a season out of the game while he challenged the legality of that decision.
He is still waiting to resolve that particular issue, but in the meantime is delighted to be involved in the day-to-day business of club rugby again.
I have heard great things about Danny Care and am looking forward to working with him
"It is a massive relief to get something sorted out because it has been a really frustrating time," he said.
"It has been fantastic in other respects in that we have had two gorgeous twin girls and I have spent three months at home with them.
"They have kept me going but I am ready to get back playing now. Daddy has to go to work and pay for all the nappies!"
Gomarsall, part of England's 2003 World Cup-winning squad, joins a Quins team who have struggled to find their feet on their return to the Premiership, losing their opening four games.
He will compete with Samoan Steven So'oialo and England Under-19 scrum-half Danny Care for the number nine jersey.
"I am really excited about getting back playing again and hopefully there will be something longer-term here," he added.
"I have heard great things about Danny Care and I am looking forward to working with him.
"Dean Richards (Quins' director of rugby) has already mentioned the idea of me being a mentor to him, and hopefully I can help make him into a very good scrum-half.
"It will be great competition and it is all really positive. It is up to me to take my opportunity when it comes."