Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Gascoigne fears that he will fall fatally off the wagon

AFP, LONDON

Troubled former England star Paul Gascoigne has admitted that he may start drinking again even though he recognizes it could kill him.

Gascoigne has a long history of alcoholism and recently returned from a treatment clinic in the US, where he overheard doctors say he might die.

He is battling to stay sober, but the ex-Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and SS Lazio midfielder conceded in an ITV documentary that he cannot guarantee he will be able to stay away from alcohol.

The 46-year-old told filmmakers: “I just remember one bit after the third day of being in hospital when he [a doctor] said: ‘I don’t think this guy is going to make it,’ and I sort of put my head up a little bit and I was like, tubes in my arms and an oxygen tank injecting round my heart and lungs and that.”

“I just come forward and I went: ‘I don’t want to die, I need to water the plants’ and that was it and then I woke up two weeks later,” he said.

Gascoigne, who describes himself as having “an addictive personality,” said: “With me now if I did have a drink and relapse, it’s like becoming tipsy and merry is okay for a couple of days, but like the next mouthful I’m so down, I’m so depressed, I cry.”

“I do all that because I know inside I’m hurting myself again. I know where I’m heading, a wooden box. Or I’m back in treatment or hospital, or getting sectioned,” he said.

Gascoigne said he had been “lucky twice” after almost dying from drink, saying: “I hope I don’t die through it, because I won’t get any sympathy. At least I know if I did pass away through it I wouldn’t be in this pain all the time. The pain’s like I know probably in the future I am going to drink again.”

Gascoigne, who lives alone in Bournemouth on the south coast of England, described his addiction counselors as “true friends” and said: “When I packed in football, a lot of my mates disappeared.”

He also said he spent about £60,000 (US$95,900) on James Bond gadgets which he says can detect if he is being filmed by hidden cameras.

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