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EastEnders’s Paul Nicholls ‘fears he will die’ from harrowing drug addiction if he doesn’t get clean

Former EastEnders actor Paul Nicholls revealed on Saturday that he once ‘feared he would die’ from his harrowing drug addiction. 

The actor, 42, who appeared on Albert Square as schizophrenic Joe Wicks, recalled the moment he pressed the ‘f**k it button’ in his brain during a four-day drug binge last year following a relapse.

He began combining a cocktail of substances after struggling to overcome his spiralling depression which still blights him, but confirmed he is now seeking help.  

‘I’ve still got so much shame’: Former EastEnders actor Paul Nicholls revealed on Saturday that he once ‘feared he would die’ from his harrowing drug addiction (pictured in 2017)

During the conversation with The Sun, he said:  ‘The rabbit hole I went down led to places that I never thought I’d end up in — in flats with people that I didn’t know.

‘I was taking lots of dihydrocodeine, a very strong opiate pain killer and on top of that, cocaine… every time I relapsed cocaine is always present.

‘At certain points I’d be gone for three or four days and not sleep at all. I stopped caring, I pressed the ‘f*** it’ button.

‘The last time I ended up in a flat with people smoking stuff, doing this and doing that. They recognised me. I was looking around and I thought, ‘If I don’t stop, I will die’.

Inner demons: The actor, 42, who appeared on Albert Square as schizophrenic Joe Wicks (pictured on the soap), recalled having a four-day drug binge last year following a relapse

Shocking: The actor, 42, who appeared on Albert Square as schizophrenic Joe Wicks, recalled the moment he pressed the ‘f**k it button’ in his brain during a four-day drug binge 

Cocktail of substances: He said: 'I was taking lots of dihydrocodeine, a very strong opiate pain killer and on top of that, cocaine... every time I relapsed cocaine is always present' (pictured in 2003)

Cocktail of substances: He said: ‘I was taking lots of dihydrocodeine, a very strong opiate pain killer and on top of that, cocaine… every time I relapsed cocaine is always present’ (pictured in 2003)

‘I’ve still got so much shame around this stuff.’

Paul is now attending Narcotics Anonymous after fighting hard to stay sober in recent months. 

The EastEnders star joined the soap in 1996 but left a year later after failing to overcome his drink and drug problems. 

However, Paul insists his trouble with addiction began in 2017 when he endured a near-fatal accident in Thailand. He was rescued three days after being trapped at the base of a waterfall. 

Candid: He added: 'The last time I ended up in a flat with people smoking stuff, doing this and doing that. They recognised me. I was looking around and I thought, "If I don’t stop, I will die"'

Candid: He added: ‘The last time I ended up in a flat with people smoking stuff, doing this and doing that. They recognised me. I was looking around and I thought, ‘If I don’t stop, I will die”

He was found semi-conscious and suffering from hypothermia after falling from the jungle above and smashing his leg, something the actor admits he has never fully recovered from. 

According to Paul, he battled 37 different infections including malaria, cholera and dengue fever. He also revealed that he was left in hospital on his own in Samiu for six months on intravenous antibiotics before returning to Manchester. 

The following year, Paul suffered from a stroke which almost killed him, sending him to ‘rock bottom’. 

He remembered collapsing before waking approximately 16 hours later to find he couldn’t feel the right side of his body. 

Early departure: The EastEnders star joined the soap in 1996 but left a year later after failing to overcome his drink and drug problems

Early departure: The EastEnders star joined the soap in 1996 but left a year later after failing to overcome his drink and drug problems

According to Paul, it took him three hours to make his way to the phone to call an ambulance. He was paralysed throughout half of his body and felt like his ‘life was over,’ as he broke down in tears to the publication.  

He had to attend physio to regain movement, but felt the damage was already done as his illness triggered a deep depression and subsequent relapse.  

His friends encouraged him to join Narcotics Anonymous, where he now feels he can see ‘hope’ on the horizon. 

Trauma: However, Paul insists his trouble with addiction began in 2017 (pictured) when he endured a near-fatal accident in Thailand. He was rescued three days after being trapped at the base of a waterfall

Trauma: However, Paul insists his trouble with addiction began in 2017 (pictured) when he endured a near-fatal accident in Thailand. He was rescued three days after being trapped at the base of a waterfall

Paul stated his only vice now is smoking, but he tries to stick to vaping. 

He has since found happiness with former dancer Hemma Kathrecha and lives with her and her two-year-old son. 

The actor, who has also appeared in Bridget Jones’ Diary: The Edge of Reason, detective drama Death in Paradise and Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge, said he’s open to a return to EastEnders and wants to get back into work. 

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123

Troubled: The following year, Paul suffered from a stroke which almost killed him, sending him to 'rock bottom'

Troubled: The following year, Paul suffered from a stroke which almost killed him, sending him to ‘rock bottom’ 

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