Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Cocaine Is like a Laughing Mugger; Snooker Star Jimmy White Has Battled His Demons. and Survived. He Tells MARION MCMULLEN Why He Decided It Was Time N Why He Decided It Was Time to Come Clean about His Secret Life in His Autobiography

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Cocaine Is like a Laughing Mugger; Snooker Star Jimmy White Has Battled His Demons. and Survived. He Tells MARION MCMULLEN Why He Decided It Was Time N Why He Decided It Was Time to Come Clean about His Secret Life in His Autobiography

Article excerpt

Byline: MARION MCMULLEN

DRUGS, drink and gambling have proved an addictive trio for Jimmy White over the years. At one point the snooker star, nicknamed the Whirlwind, spent PS30,000 in less than three months on crack and describes taking cocaine as "like being mugged by someone who's making you laugh while they're at it". The six time World Championship finalist talks frankly about his addictions in new book Second Wind, My Autobiography. He says he never took drugs while he was playing snooker, but managed to hide his problems for 20 years. So what has been the reaction to his revelations? "A lot of people are in shock about the drugs," he admits, "but most of my calls have been from people who just want to know I'm OK. "I've a very addictive personality and was always a big drinker ... and then there was the gambling .... and then I found cocaine or the devil's dandruff as I call it. "It's a very selfish thing to do. People never look past their next fix and I got away with it for 20 years." Jimmy admits he was lucky to have survived all the excess and not self destruct and says if the autobiography stops just one person from going down the same dark path that he walked he will be happy. "People ask me if I did the book for money," he says with a wry laugh, "but you don't make money from books. I wanted to show the dangers. If I can help a few people from becoming addicted then I will be quite pleased with that. "You can spot the signs of someone who is about to take that step and it's a dangerous place. "I know what it's like. I remember when a drug dealer came into the pub it was like it was New Year's Eve. We all cheered him." Jimmy has made and lost a fortune, been bankrupt and seen his marriage to his teenage sweetheart Maureen end in divorce. A nightmare botched operation to cure baldness has left him wearing a weave and on top of all that the 52-year-old has had to face and beat testicular cancer. His brother Martin died from lung cancer and he has "NITRAM" tattooed on his chest so he can see his name every time he looks in the mirror when he is shaving. He memorably recalls how he was drunk when he broke into the funeral home the night before his brother's funeral and drove his body to another brother's home. …

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