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Paul Merson

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September 23, 2021, 5:41pm
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I’ve been listening to an audiobook of his new book, Hooked, whilst working this week. He charts his 30+ year battle with alcohol, drug and gambling addiction and dear oh dear oh dear, what an absolute, unmitigated car crash that man’s life has been. Stumbling, quite literally at times, from one personal disaster to the next.

The booze and the drugs are enough to write a book on in their own right, but the gambling - the utter, utter madness of the gambling is just astonishing.

I never really got into gambling. I’ve placed the odd bet over the years but generally I’ve lost my money, got pìssed off and never really had the compulsion to do it again. As such, I’ve never really understood gambling as an addiction, but this is a really well articulated insight into that mindset. Brutally honest in places, and there are times when you struggle to have sympathy for the bloke, but it’s well worth a read / listen if you get chance.

I was aware of his issues, particularly in the 90s, but I hadn’t quite appreciated the scale and longevity of the absolute chaos that has ensued over the years. Definitely worth a few hours of your time.

A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner.
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September 23, 2021, 6:18pm
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My cousin's wife worked with him for a while and says, without a shadow of a doubt, he's the thickest person she's ever met.
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September 23, 2021, 6:25pm
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I do love the stories about him and Gazza when they were living together in Middlesbrough though - they'd see who could stay awake the longest after taking a sleeping pill. They lived in an eight bedroom house yet Gazza always slept on the floor.

It also used to take him an age to drive the short distance from his home to Arsenal's Colney Hatch training ground as he was so paranoid from the gak that he had to repeatedly pull over as he mistakenly thought he was being tailed by undercover police.
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September 23, 2021, 7:01pm
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Cheers Poojah.

Just signed up for a free trial with audible for 30 days and  I have begun listening.

"The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That’s how I see football, that’s how I see life.” Bill Shankly
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September 23, 2021, 7:04pm
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The interview with him on TalkSport on Monday morning was how can I put it, interesting

On bended knee is no way to be free - Peter R de Vries

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September 23, 2021, 7:05pm
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I fancy reading this. I also have never got sucked into the whole betting thing, but our understanding in society of addiction and mental health are miles away from what they used to be, so I’ll probably have a better appreciation of his predicament nowadays.

I remember the front page news of him announcing his cocaine addiction years ago and thought “tool”, but he has one of those addictive personalities like Gazza.

Thanks for the tip.
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September 23, 2021, 8:55pm
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As an alcoholic and an addict myself, albeit recovered (not cured) it is good to see the discussion being had. For too long the general image of an addict has been the park bench and the needle. This just isn't the case. Sadly addiction and alcoholism are absolutely rife in this country and the realisation more often than not comes at a point that we are far beyond human aid.

Gambling is a particularly nasty strain of this disease. Its more hidden, more socially acceptable, and there's less practical help. Not to mention the absolute undeniable way it is shoved in ones face. I've no issues with a bookies advertising. But when you're halfway through a video on youtube and all of a sudden a jackpot winning spin is on your screen there's little hope for those trying to free themselves from this addiction.
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September 23, 2021, 9:09pm
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I’m reading this too, and as a man who has struggled with alcohol, depression and trauma it really does resonate.

"You should do what you love while you can"
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September 23, 2021, 9:26pm
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Not into Drink or drugs but had to put myself through gamstop. I still bet on sites not on it from time to time but it's definitely better than it was but I still get that itchy feeeling sometimes  
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September 23, 2021, 9:35pm

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I read his book in the 1990s, is this just a rehashed version?

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

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