In an interview with The 42 website, the former Republic of Ireland midfielder recalled how his struggle almost cost him his family and expressed fears that he would not have survived in jail in an interview with The 42 website.
Recalling being summoned to the dock at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court after being informed by his lawyer that there was a 50/50 chance of a custodial sentence, Gibson reflected on removing his valuables and giving them to his wife Danielle.
“If I’d have gone to jail, I don’t know if I’d have survived,” the 36-year-old said. “It was horrific but it was all my own fault.
“It could have been so much worse and when I think about what could have happened, I would never have been able to forgive myself. It’s a s*** thing to do.”
Gibson was spared jail after smashing his Mercedes 4×4 into a taxi and five parked cars, eventually crashing into a garden wall, on March 17, 2018 while driving to a physio session from his flat in Durham.
The court was told he had used sleeping tablets and drunk from a litre bottle of vodka the night before.
A roadside test recorded him having 105mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath which was reduced at the police station to 95mg. The legal limit is 35mg.
Gibson had already been banned from driving in 2015 when his car hit three cyclists while he was over the limit.
He was handed a two-year community order and banned from driving for 40 months.
The ex-Manchester United, Everton and Sunderland player insisted he is not “looking for sympathy” as he took responsibility for his “terrible mistakes”.
He was forced to face up to his addiction after taking a seizure while watching football on TV with his wife last year.
Gibson recalled coming around to find two paramedics standing in his living room.
“I don’t even think I was functioning at that point,” he said.
“Looking back at pictures, I was grey, if I had have kept going I would have died. I was taking 12 to 14 sleeping tablets a night.”
Gibson recalled his wife sobbing as she watched him foam at the mouth while his veins bulged in his neck, face and head.
He admitted concealing his dependency on sleeping tablets after being rushed to hospital.
“Danielle knew I took them but she had no idea to what extent,” he said.
“I was good at hiding it. Sometimes I’d take them all at once when we’d be going to sleep and I’d say I was bringing up a drink of water for her.
“I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to say now that I was in a bad way, but in the hospital I wasn’t telling anyone.”
Doctors began carrying out heart and brain scans to determine the cause of the seizure which they suspected may have been epilepsy. But Gibson knew it wasn’t.
“It was sleeping tablets, it had been going on for years by now,” he said.
The addiction can be traced back to when Gibson ruptured his knee ligament while on international duty in October 2013.
Subsequent injuries — including a broken leg in 2020 which led to retirement a year later — also took their toll on Gibson’s physical and emotional wellbeing.
The risk of losing his family and the impact on the couple’s nine-year-old son Reggie and 14-year-old daughter Evie had a sobering effect.
“If you do something wrong you deal with the consequences,” he said.
“I’m talking about this now because I feel I’m in a place in my own life where I am able to.”Tags: