Gascoigne fears that he will fall fatally off the wagon

AFP, LONDON

Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - Page 18

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.