Paul Merson admits he has "completely lost control again"

Paul Merson

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has admitted checking back into Alcoholics Anonymous after a recent "meltdown". 

Merson has battled addiction with alcohol and gambling in the past, and has revealed on ITV show Harry's Heroes that he is still struggling today. 

The upcoming show is based around ex-footballers getting fit to face off with Germany once again, and also features the likes of Matt Le Tissier, Razor Ruddock and David Seaman, and Merson admitted that it had opened his eyes to the issues that are still affecting him. 

"I'm back at AA," he said. "I have been going for nine weeks and my life is better. I had a meltdown, but it was for the good."

Merson also opened up on the gambling addiction that spiralled out of control during his playing days – an issue that was only exacerbated when he shared a house with Paul Gascoigne at Middlesbrough. 

"We were the original screwed-up couple," he said. "It was like a timebomb waiting to go off – but it was a right laugh."

At one point, the 50-year-old had cashed in an £800,000 pension for betting purposes, and has previously admitted to breaking his own fingers so that he wouldn't call his bookie at Aston Villa. 

"My system was all over the place and I was gambling on absolutely anything and everything.

"I’d ring up the bookie and bet £10,000 on who would be the first batsman out at Lord’s that day. I was off my head.

"You have so much time on your hands. My life was completely and utterly out of control.

"I was major, major taking cocaine. I haven’t taken drugs since 1994, but it wouldn’t take long.

"Being an addict is hard. Addiction is a strong thing. It is weird how it takes you.

"I’m playing for England and have all the money in the world and yet I want to kill myself. I was lower than low."