So, it’s been reported today that Paul Gascoigne is to be offered a coaching job at his former club Newcastle United, providing he can stay off the booze for six months. Will this be enough of an incentive for Gazza to stay sober?
Incentives can be an incredibly effective tool in recovery from addiction. Studies have shown that even small awards for staying sober can make a significant impact on the chances of successful rehabilitation. Motivation levels are increased as the recovering alcoholic trees immediate benefits from staying alcohol free. Getting back to his beloved football, back at the club he supported as a boy and has loved all his life may be just the thing that Gascoigne needs to help facilitate his recovery. Hopefully this will work for Gazza as he is tried and failed many times to give up the booze. He clearly has an addictive personality and has even been reported as replacing alcohol as his chosen addiction with sweets. Cross addiction (replacing one addiction with another) is very common in recovering addicts. Sugary sweet snacks and are not a great thing to be addicted to either, and have their own set of consequences on health, but are ultimately less harmful than alcohol. I’m not saying this is a good thing, but he may find it easier to resist sweets in the long term than drinking.
Paul Gascoigne may have been a world-class sportsman but the effects that alcohol will have had on his body can only be healed if he stays sober. Returning to his old drinking habits could prove fatal as he has abused his body to such an extent over a long period of time. Alcohol affects just about every system of the body and it is likely that his liver will have degenerated to some degree. At different times he has appeared gaunt and ill when he has been drinking. He’s also suffered from considerable weight gain and these fluctuations are typical for a heavy drinker. It would be great to see Gascoigne having a role at his former club. He’s a passionate and talented man and could teach the youngsters coming up in the game a lot about football both on and off the pitch.
Times have changed since Gazza’s heyday and young footballers are no longer required to go through the apprenticeship programme that Gazza did as a boy. Teaching not just football but life skills to, apprenticeships were useful way to teach youngsters about the value of hard work and the awards that can be gained from putting in real effort. Today’s multimillionaire young players may have never had to clean their superiors boots or sweep out the changing rooms and this is a real shame. Footballers today often seen to lack respect and a grasp of what the real world is like.
Paul Gascoigne has admitted that boredom was a factor in him relapsing last time and by keeping himself busy he may be able to get this dream job at his old club. Let’s hope that he stays strong and sober as the world of football is much duller place without him.