LONDON (AFP) – Troubled former England star Paul Gascoigne admits he might start drinking again even though he recognises it could kill him.
Gascoigne has a long history of alcoholism and recently returned from a treatment clinic in the United States, where he overheard doctors say he might die.
He is battling to stay sober but speaking in an ITV documentary, the ex-Tottenham, Newcastle and Lazio midfielder concedes he can't guarantee he will be able to stay away from drink.
The 46-year-old told the 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."
Gascoigne, who describes himself as "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."
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 counsellors as "true friends" and said: "When I packed in football a lot of my mates disappeared."
He also said he spent around ??60,000 on "James Bond" gadgets which he says can spot if he is being filmed by hidden cameras.