Paul Merson spoke about his long battle with drug addiction, then gave advice to a talkSPORT caller on how to deal with his own issues.
The Arsenal legend, who has struggled with alcohol, gambling and drugs during and after his playing career, has raised awareness for the cause.
He is there for others who are fighting similar battles and offered reassuring advice to caller Terry in a touching conversation.
“Stop fighting,” he told the listener. “You will think that you let your wife and children down on a regular basis…
“You need to get well, Terry. You are not well and you need to get well, you are not a bad person and that is why you are weak right now.
“You feel like you hate yourself. You are not a bad person, you are a good person and you need to get well and until that happens you will continue to feel what you are feeling.
“Try to get some help, mate. Ring Gamblers Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous, whatever addiction it may be and get help and bypass the people who have been in this boat. They will understand you 100 percent. hundred.
“The only thing with addiction is that it doesn’t matter if you are the richest person in the world or the poorest person, the only thing we all get today is the one that benefits the maximum of the day.
“Those who make the most of the day are the rich, not the ones who sit around doing nothing and worrying about what they will earn next week or the week after.
“He is the one who lives the most in the present moment will be the happiest and the richest without a doubt.”
Merson joined talkSPORT to promote his book Addicted: Addiction and the Long Road to Recovery, which highlights how addiction has taken hold of him.
He also revealed that on one occasion, addiction made him want to break his fingers so he couldn’t pick up the phone to place a bet.
He said, “The addiction is so overwhelming it’s scary what it does… you don’t see the risk factor.
“If you put your hand in a fire and start over, your brain would tell you ‘don’t do this again.’ With addictions, the brain doesn’t tell you. The addiction wants you all alone… that’s where it’s dangerous.
“You start gambling and drinking, you don’t come home at night, you start losing all the money, you lose everything, you let down the people around you so you hate yourself. Your self-esteem and self-esteem are flying out the window and you hate yourself with a passion.
“So you think ‘how am I going to get out of this? I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to start drinking and playing again ”. And you start again.
“When you don’t realize you’re a sick person, it’s a horrible place.
“The only time I felt I came back to life was when I had nothing left. When I got to zero I was like ‘I don’t have to do this anymore.’ How crazy is that? “
“I was playing Aston Villa away from Charlton. No one ever shared a room with me because I played and never slept in the afternoons and wanted to break my fingers so I couldn’t pick up the phone – that’s how bad the compulsion was.
If gambling is taking up too much space in your life, go to begambleaware.org to talk to someone
To find an anonymous meeting of alcoholics, check out their website here