Jimmy White has admitted that his secret crack cocaine addiction had serious negative implications on both his career and his finances.
The six-times world snooker champion finalist admits to having spent three months using the illegal Class A drug at the height of his career in the early Nineties.
“I know drugs probably cost me ten world titles,” he said. “Crack is the worst drug ever.”
Writing in his new autobiography, Second Wind: An Autobiography, serialised in The Sun, he remembers smoking the drug with Canadian snooker player Kirk Stevens in a hotel room at the Irish Masters.
The pair borrowed cigarette lighters from hotel guests and used furniture in the room to get a fire started, so they could start using the harmful substance.
Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal, which is then heated to produce vapours that are inhaled through the lungs.
The substance - which is more addictive than snorting powder cocaine - is a stimulant and highs last between five and 10 minutes. Risks include heart attacks, convulsions, heart failure, breathing problems and chest pains.
“Lying there glassy-eyed - spoons, tinfoil and rocks lying everywhere - we didn’t give a s**t about anything else,” he said.
“Practise went out of the window and our families didn’t know where we were. We were doing the best to kill ourselves.
“That’s what crack does to you. That’s what crack had done to us. That’s how bad it is. We were flirting with death and we didn’t give a s***.
“Everything else went out of the window - our self-respect, our families, our money and our snooker.”
He embarked on what he describes as “three months of madness”, where he “frittered away” £32,000, “a massive amount back then”.
“I had one sneaky account with NatWest,” he recalled. “I started dipping into this every now and then to fund my crack habit. I did the lot in less than three months. Every penny.”
It was seeing friend Stevens in such a bad condition that eventually made him quit the drug.
He went to visit the player at his home with the hope of finding more crack cocaine. White recalls Stevens grabbing the apple he had brought with him and inhaling the whole thing in its entirety, “the pips, the core - the entire works”.
“He was a stick-thin, pasty mess. It was the turning point for me,” he wrote.
“In that instant I knew I had to get off the rocks and try and straighten myself out. I said to Kirk: ‘I’m never going near that s**t again.’ And I meant it.”
His describes his recovery as a “horrible time”, writing that “the next fortnight was a nightmare”.
“I barely moved, lying in bed, crying, shivering, paranoid, angry and covered in cold sweats. I felt like I was dying,” he said.
“But I knew I had to stick with it. I was a father. I was a husband. I had this snooker gift that I was smoking away.”Reuse content