Denise Welch has revealed that she has marked an important personal milestone as she celebrates being ten years sober.
The Loose Women star took to social media to share her special moment with fans by uploading a side-by-side photo comparison of her then and now.
“Got a few more lines and wrinkles but it’s in the eyes. They have it,” she told her 362k followers on Instagram.
“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.
“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,” she continued.
“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.
Welch, who has two sons and a stepson, reflected on the effect her decision to ditch the booze has had on her family, writing: “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.”
“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.”
The ex Coronation Street actress concluded her post by sending a message of encouragement to those looking to make similar changes, saying: “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.”
“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 assured.
“And to my friends who love a drink and don’t have a problem…..raise a glass to me today on my anniversary!!!”
Welch’s celebrity friends were quick to offer their congratulations in the comments section.
Leading the charge was Ruth Langsford, who wrote: "Incredible Denise and inspirational for others trying to do the same.”
"Really admire you Denise and all you stand for,” added Katie Piper.
Michelle Heaton sent her support too, writing: "Yes my gorgeous girl! You helped me and I’m almost a year! Happy 10th birthday darling.”
While co-star Nadia Sawalha reposted Welch's message, writing: "Congratulations darling."