This week that same man came back to us after spending a month in a rehabilitation centre in Arizona, in the United States, where he was undergoing treatment for alcoholism. His picture was scattered throughout the world’s tabloids: a gaunt looking man with the appearance of a Nazi death camp survivor.
On some levels this doesn’t appear to be the same man. Physically it doesn’t look like Paul Gascoigne, and only his close friends and family will really know if he is the same Paul Gascoigne on the inside. But there is one constant, one very important facet of the times of his life that remain consistent.
Paul Gascoigne will forever be a role model.
When he was waltzing around lethargic defenders, or having his balls squeezed by uncompromising defenders, Gazza was a role model for thousands of football fans throughout the world. Today he looks like he would snap if he kicked a ball, but he is now a role model to millions of people worldwide nonetheless. He is your prime example of why you should never drink alcohol. What no doubt started as a few moderate drinks down the pub with friends, has turned into a disease that will eventually end his life a lot shorter than the one he once assumed was his by right.
Just Google him and look at the before and after photographs. That’s what drinking alcohol does to you. Today I asked my son why he thought people drunk alcohol and he replied with the simplicity I expected from a child of his age.
“They drink because they want to drink. They drink because they enjoy drinking.”
This is a fallacy. This is a lie. This is an illusion, and one that our children are already falling for. But it’s difficult to change the minds of the majority. It’s the way the human mind works. The reason people don’t believe a word of it is because 80% of the world consumes alcohol. How can 80% of the world be wrong? Surely the 20% is wrong? Ask Paul Gascoigne if he drinks because he wants to drink? Ask Paul Gascoigne if he drinks because he likes drinking?
People drink alcohol because they are addicted to drinking alcohol. Not being able to see the damage that alcohol does to your body is the same as not noticing the age process. But I can assure you both are happening and you know it. Paul Gascoigne was once a multi millionaire star of world sport, and yet today he couldn’t even afford his own treatment. He had the world at his feet and yet this didn’t stop him from capitulating to the fallacy that alcohol has any benefits whatsoever. It has nothing to do with status or money. The rich are just as blind as the poor when it comes to the illusion that alcohol provides you with a benefit.
The Sun newspaper ran a story on his return to England and they stated: “You’d have to be the world’s sunniest optimist to think Gazza has beaten the booze.” Roger Casemore, alcohol addiction therapist, said in the same piece: “Without incredible determination and willpower he may never get rid of the desire for a drink.” I truly hope that this is not the type of arm he had around his shoulder when going through his treatment. If the therapists believe that he needs willpower in order to get through his disease, and they have let him leave, then they have put a bullet in a gun with a single chamber and told him to play Russian roulette.
But if he has been receiving the right type of help, if he now sees that alcohol offers him no benefits whatsoever, and instead just brings him pain and misery, then he has a chance to turn his life around. There is no willpower needed when you see the truth that is there for all to see.
When Gazza had the ball at his feet he was a role model for thousands, when he had the bottle in his hand he was a role model for millions, let’s just hope that he can continue to be a role model by finally overcoming the alcohol trap. Now that would be something that our children could learn from.
If you are struggling with the demons of alcohol and you would like to do something about it. Then why not try my six week habit change programme I like to call Lean Life? If you are interested then please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.