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.
So it was with an open mind that I flew to Namibia this fortnight, in my capacity as one of the judges, for the forth Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAS) in the coastal town of Swakopmund - Namibia and Africa's favourite holiday destination where the leadership of the Erongo region was hosting the awards.
Gazza is unlikely to make it this time. Gazza is very near death right now. The very end of end-stage alcoholism. Soon. Very soon. Sadly. And when he does? We will still all be shocked. Because it makes us all a bit vulnerable doesn't it? When someone so strong, with such professional brilliance disintegrates right in front of us.
I don't frighten easily. I lived in a constant state of fear for so many years that it takes a lot to reignite it and take me to that dark place now. But when I see people using end-stage alcoholics to measure their own drinking against? It frightens me. When I see the media latch onto one person, the exception to the rule that has been able to subject their body to horrendous amounts of alcohol abuse and still just about function? It frightens me. Alcoholism is not a p*ssing contest. There is no glory to be had in being further up the sliding scale than these individuals.