Paul Merson’s wonderfully moving and brutally honest memoir of battling addiction for three decades.
For twenty-one years Paul Merson played professional football. He won two First Division titles with Arsenal and was one of the finest players of his generation.
But for thirty years Paul Merson has also been an addict. Alcohol, drugs, gambling: a desperately unenviable cocktail of addictions and depression which has plagued his entire adult life and driven him to the verge of suicide. ‘I’ve come to realise that I’m powerless over alcohol … I’m an alcoholic. My drinking and gambling have left a lot of wreckage.’
Until recently the drinking and gambling were still raging. ‘I wanted to kill myself. I couldn’t go on anymore. I just couldn’t see a way out.’ Then something clicked. ‘One day, I was walking home from the pub late on a Sunday evening, and I thought to myself: I’ve had enough of feeling like this, every day of my life. I rang up Alcoholics Anonymous the next day, and since then I haven’t had a drink.’
Hooked is Merson’s wonderfully moving and brutally honest memoir of battling addiction, searingly charting his journey over three decades. It is absolutely unflinching in detailing his emotional and psychological troughs and in raking over the painful embers of an adult life blighted by such debilitating issues. Hooked will kick-start a crucial national conversation about addiction, depression and the damage they wreak.
‘Addiction is the loneliest of places. You’re a slave to insecurity and ego. But it has to be you that wants things to change. Never be afraid to talk: the more you talk about the addictions the more it takes the power out of them. You’re never alone.’