When I think about Paul Gascoigne I think about his sheer resilience. His determination to provide for those he loved something that has eluded him his entire life. Yes he fell, hard. And he picked himself back up. Countless times. And as it stands he sadly has fallen more times than he has risen. But not because he had it all then threw it away further down the line.
Alcoholism is a pernicious, progressive mental and physical illness which claims thousands of lives every year in the UK. Managing this epidemic has become a political priority, with various solutions proposed that largely rely on limiting the availability of alcohol, upping the price and adding cigarette style warnings to packaging.
As anyone who's ever suffered from clinical depression will tell you, it's an expert at convincing you that your despair is eternal, and destined to oppress you for the rest of your days. And it was when I was in that horrifically black place, staring down the barrel of what I truly believed would only be a lifetime of wretched agony, that my thoughts turned to suicide.
I was recently neknominated by a friend. For those of you who have been living on a desert island (that has no internet access) for the past couple of months, Neknominate is an internet-spread drinking game whereby the nominated drinks a pint of alcohol (often beer) and then passes on the nomination to someone else via social media...
I was upfront with the doctor who confirmed Jonah's pregnancy at around six weeks about my alcohol consumption. He tried to alleviate my fears, telling me his wife didn't realise she was pregnant until she was five months gone. "We just don't know what the effects might be," he said, but you are far from the only one who gets drunk before they realise they are pregnant.
Anyone who thinks dying from an overdose is selfish has a weird idea of what an addict wants out of life. There comes a point at which drinking, drug use, all that - they're not fun anymore. Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn't out partying. He was alone in his bathroom, compelled. Cory Monteith in his hotel room. Chris Kelly in his living room.
At the age of 26 my wife had walked out the door on our three year marriage. As I sat in our apartment surrounded by the life that we had built together my thoughts turned to a dark bleak future that I did not want to face. In a severe state of depression I turned to google and typed in the search term 'most painless and quickest way to die'.
One phrase that gets massively overused is "drinking at something". When life throws you a crap day or a bad situation and we use it as an excuse to drink. Drinking "at" that person, or scenario. Supposedly it's overcome by dealing with our feelings and reactions in a different way. Learning new coping skills.