Former football star Paul Gascoigne wants to get back to reality after the latest “horrific” health scare in his battle with alcohol addiction, he said today.
The ex-England and Newcastle player said on ITV1’s Daybreak programme that he was feeling “good”, adding: “I’m quite excited what the future holds – I had a bad time.”
The 45-year-old repeated comments made earlier to a newspaper that doctors feared he would die when he needed hospital treatment in the United States recently after going there for detox.
He said: “I went to the treatment centre, and they tried to detox us, and they couldn’t, so they rushed us to hospital, and that’s where it got quite serious.
“I just remember the guy saying to the doctor in the treatment centre, ’I don’t think this guy’s going to make it’, and obviously I put my head up a little bit, and I had tubes all over my arms and body, and getting injected, and I said, please don’t let me die, I need to water the plants. The plants were more important than me. The plants passed away and I survived.”
He added: “People are saying it’s too early for me to be talking, but it’s best for me to get back to reality straight away.”
Gascoigne thanked celebrities including Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans and footballer Gary Mabbutt who helped him. Mabbutt is recovering in hospital himself after emergency bypass surgery on his leg, and Gascoigne said: “Get well Gaz.”
The former player added: “Seeing the support I had, people are out there caring.
“Sometimes I feel it’s easy for me to get treatment, but this time was horrific.”
Asked about comparisons with the late former Manchester United star George Best, Gascoigne said: “God bless him, he’s passed away, and I was friends with George, but I just felt like George didn’t want to get well. I’m trying so hard to do it.”
The footballer, who said he loves being sober, quipped: “I didn’t ask to be an alcoholic, but I must admit I worked on it.
“I went to any lengths to get my drink, I’ll go even further to stay sober.”
The latest stint in rehab for Gascoigne, who also played for Lazio and Tottenham Hotspur, was organised by Evans and TalkSPORT presenter and former England cricketer Ronnie Irani.
The move came following a charity appearance in Northampton during which the star appeared unwell and shaking, before breaking down and sobbing on stage in front of a room full of fans.