"Years go by, you're fine," says Gibson, who also admits to past alcohol and drug use, according to a partial transcript of the interview released by ABC.
Yet, he also says about the possibility of a relapse: "All of a sudden in a heartbeat, in an instant, on an impulse, somebody shoves a glass of Mescal in front of your nose and says, 'It's from Oaxaca.' And it's burning its way through your esophagus and you go, 'Oh man, what did I do that for? I can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.'"
In August, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of driving with an elevated blood-alcohol level and was sentenced to three years probation. He's also been barred from driving for three months and fined $1,300.
The star, who has volunteered to make a public-service announcement about the hazards of drinking and driving, tells Sawyer that he plans to continue plying his trade in Hollywood, though he is aware some people may no longer wish to work with him. ("The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," Gibson said at the time of his arrest.)
Of those who might shun him professionally, Gibson says: "I feel sad because they've obviously been hurt and frightened and offended enough to feel that they have to do that. Um, and it's their choice. There's nothing I can do about that."
Still, he says, "I'll always continue to work. I've never much depended on anyone but myself, as far as that goes. And, hey, I'm not under the illusion that everything's just going to be hunky-dory work wise forever. I've never been under that illusion. Things could go away tomorrow."
Saying he is committed "to heal myself and to be assuring and allay the fears of others and to heal them if they had any heart wounds from something I may have said … The last thing I want to be is that kind of monster," Gibson is asked by Sawyer if he'd like to tell his critics, "Give me a chance to show you who I am?"
Gibson responds: "Well, hopefully, in time they'll know. And, you're powerless over everything really … All you can do is take another step, keep breathing."