Mike Tyson says that he's been lying about his sobriety and  is "on the verge of dying" because of alcohol abuse.

"I want to change my life," he said recently. “I want to live a different life now. I want to live my sober life. I don't want to die. I'm on the verge of dying because I'm a vicious alcoholic."

Not to be unsympathetic, but this is another typical Drama Queen update in the Life of Tyson.

The news is shocking and sobering, no pun intended, but also needs to be viewed in the context of someone who seems to crave a high-wire act with his life.

Tyson can never be content being an average guy. He has demons, lots of them, and they always seem to keep popping up on his shoulders, wanting to lead him to temptation.

But Tyson loves to play the Victim Card, too. He’s a classic manipulator, and has been since the days he was with Cus D’Mato and trainer Teddy Atlas.

He found out early in life that he could get away with a lot of stuff because he was a very talented boxer. That includes an incident with Atlas, who pulled a gun on Tyson in 1983 after Tyson allegedly made sexual advances on Atlas' 11-year-old niece.

He recently apologized to Atlas, who now works with Tyson covering boxing matches for ESPN on Friday nights.

“I made the right decision," Tyson said. "I hate myself. I'm trying to kill myself. I hate myself a lot, but I made myself proud of myself, and I don't do that much. I was happy I did that. Maybe it was overwhelming to Teddy and he didn't get it yet, but he has to know this is sincere. ... I was wrong. I'm sorry.”

It’s best to read those words from someone who wants you to care. I would if only he cared about himself. The sad thing is that I’ve heard variations of that same speech a bunch of times from Tyson.

I know Tyson fairly well, and covered a number of his fights back in his heydays. Even shared some Popeye’s fried chicken with him once in Don’ King’s breakfast nook in Las Vegas. I once walked into his suite in Maui with a handful of reporters, where he warmly greeted us by saying “I’m here with all by [bleeping] antagonists.”

I’m not a Tyson antagonist. But I’m also not a Tyson apologist who is going to fall for every one of his mea culpas.

Tyson was dealt a very rough hand in life. But he also had the talent _ and yes, the smarts _ to make millions and break free from his addictive and manipulative habits.

At 47-years-old, it’s still very much a work in progress.

 George Diaz can be reached at gdiaz@orlandosentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @georgediaz