Gazza back to his best after ‘two day’ booze blip
Paul Gascoigne has said he is back to his "best" after suffering a "two-day blip" in his ongoing struggle with alcoholism.
The former England footballer, who has had a drink problem for more than 20 years, told ITV's Good Morning Britain on Wednesday that he was doing "all right" and had been clean for 11 months.
In March, Gascoigne was photographed clutching a bottle of gin and being escorted by a police officer in his home town of Poole, Dorset. Later, more photographs emerged of the ex-Tottenham player, showing cuts and bruising to his nose, lip and forehead.
Speaking openly to show presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, Gascoigne was smartly dressed, with Morgan telling him: "You look good, mate."
Shrugging off his recent relapse as nothing more than a "blip", the 48-year-old said he had been sober for months and was "back to my best".
However, he admitted that he only realised the seriousness of his recent relapse after seeing stories in the newspapers.
"After that last one [relapse] I said to someone, 'God I'm glad the papers didn't get hold of it' and then they sent us a photo and I went, 'oof'," he said.
"Sometimes that helps seeing us that way because I didn't realise I was in... When I'm actually in it, I don't realise how bad I actually am."
During the interview Gascoigne said he had only been in rehab three times for "the drink", but added: "Where I live ... a lot of people who have this addiction are allowed to get on with it.
"I'm doing all right, you mentioned there so many times in rehab but people forget I've been there for Red Bull, I've been for Calpol, I've been for no reason sometimes. I think I've only been in rehab really seriously three times for the drink side of it you know."
Gascoigne talked in depth about his treatment at the Providence Projects, an alcohol treatment centre in Bournemouth, where he said he received "fantastic" support and counselling.
"The Providence Projects ... the support I get from them is fantastic and sometimes I feel embarrassed getting the support because there's people who aren't fortunate that live on the streets with my illness and they don't really get the support, so sometimes to help myself I go and help another person.
"Every day I try and do three good deeds, if it's giving someone a fiver, a pack of cigarettes you know even a little sandwich."
Asked by Morgan if he felt it was right for people to compare him to George Best, Gascoigne said: "He's passed away, I'm not, I'm still here.
"I think I have a great personality and it's only me that lets myself down. Years ago when I used to relapse, often when I first finished playing football, I used to blame everybody for my relapse.
"Today I don't do it. I blame myself. I don't like it when I do, I'm not like George Best and I'm not like Kenny Sansom for instance, they didn't want to stop - I do want to stop and there has been good periods where I've been happy and now I'm back to being really happy and myself and I'm one of them."
During the interview, Dr Hilary Jones told Gascoigne that his behaviour was typical of someone suffering from adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
"I've met Paul over the years, he knows he's an alcoholic, he's always known he's an alcoholic," he said.
"The problems of OCD, substance abuse, problems other than alcohol ... adult ADHD fits your description really well.
"It's not an excuse, it's an explanation."