Denise Welch has marked 10 years of sobriety, explaining that ditching booze changed both her life as well as the lives of those around her.
The 62 year old, who recently said she feared being "burnt alive" after her stalker set fire to her home, took to her Instagram feed to post before and after photos of herself 10 years on from her last drop of alcohol.
With side-by-side images of herself sporting the same hairstyle, Denise told her 362,000 followers: "Got a few more lines and wrinkles but it’s in the eyes. They have it.10 yrs ago today I took my last alcoholic drink. Not a sherry trifle since and it’s been the best decision I ever made."
She continued: "It changed my life and the lives of everyone I love and who loves me.
"I self medicated for years and the memory of those times haunt me. Guilt and shame are very different. Guilt is something most of us have. Especially mothers. Shame is another animal. It took me years to overcome and I still have nightmares that take me days to recover from. The thought of going back there terrifies me."
Speaking on the impact her lifestyle choice made on her nearest and dearest, Denise explained that they no longer have to worry about.
"The ripple effect of my sobriety on my family is the thing I’m most proud of. My children are free to live amazing lives because they don’t have to worry about mum," she said.
Denise, whose stalker was recently jailed for seven years, went on: "My husband and I have a wonderful marriage because we take time to nurture and care for it.
"My dad died knowing that I was in a good place with a good man. My sister looks at me with respect which vanished for a long time."
Addressing fans that may be struggling in their lives partially due to booze, she said: "If alcohol is making you miserable, sad, anxious, ashamed rather than a bit giddy on a Saturday night then you’re drinking too much.
"Stopping isn’t easy and staying sober is a lifestyle but it’s a much much better life. So today I’m happier and healthier in my 60’s than I was in my 40’s and 50’s.
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"Today Im thinking of all those on the threshold of a major change and I can tell you it will be the best thing you’ll ever do."
She added: "And to my friends who love a drink and don’t have a problem…..raise a glass to me today on my anniversary!!! And thank you to @lincolntownley @trumanblack @healytymd @lewtownley @debbiededes #sobriety #10yrssobertoday #notthedrinkpolice," followed by two flexed bicep emojis and four red heart emojis.
Celebrity friends were quick to comment as Michelle Heaton, who is nearly 11 months sober, said: "Yes my gorgeous girl! You helped me and I’m almost a year ! Happy 10th birthday darling xxx x".
Ruth Langsford shared: "Incredible Denise and inspirational for others trying to do the same," followed by three clapping hands emojis.
While Katie Piper wrote: "Really admire you Denise and all you stand for," alongside a clapping hands emoji.
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