After completing a stint in rehab last spring for what sources say was a drug problem, the actor is moving forward and using that challenging period in his life to grow.
"I'm so happy. I feel like I'm in a great place and I'm glad that I'm really here to share this moment with everybody and be present for all of it," Efron, 26, told PEOPLE at Tuesday's That Awkward Moment press conference in New York City.
"It was an interesting year. I learned so many things. So much," he said. "The best part of it was being able to reflect upon that experience and realize how much I have learned about myself and the kind of man I want to be."
With a new sense of direction, the actor added that he is thrilled to be reuniting with his That Awkward Moment costars and good pals Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller.
"This movie, these guys and coming back to it and to New York – just being here in this moment, it just kind of exemplifies it," Efron said. "I couldn't be happier. I'm in a great place."