Paul Gascoigne has credited having anti-alcohol pellets sewn into his stomach with helping him turn his life around.
The former England footballer, 52, has endured a decades-long public battle with drink and drug issues.
In October he was cleared of sexual assault, describing the previous 12 months as a “year of hell”.
Now Gascoigne, who played for clubs including Newcastle, Spurs and Everton during his football career, says he is enjoying life again.
He told the Mirror: “I’m in a better place – it’s the happiest I’ve been for many years.
“I’m content now, happy in myself. I’ve just had my first holiday in 15 years in Tenerife, and I’m enjoying myself for the first time in a very long time.”
Gascoigne, who has lived in Bournemouth for the last 10 years, credits a life-changing operation for his change in fortunes.
He told the Mirror he paid £20,000 to travel to Australia to have anti-alcohol pellets sewn into his stomach, which make him feel ill if he drinks too much.
The former Rangers star said he still has to fight the urge to booze, but the operation has transformed his life.
He said: “I can walk down the booze aisle in Sainsbury’s – my arm doesn’t reach out to buy it so much now. I can control that urge.
“You have connoisseurs of wine. I am a connoisseur of rehabs. I’ve been for Calpol, I’ve been for Red Bull, for laxatives – once I just went for a holiday.”
Gascoigne, known affectionately to his millions of fans as Gazza, also said he is looking for love again having not had a serious relationship since splitting from ex-wife Sheryl in 1998.