Denise Welch shared poignant before-and-after giving up alcohol photos on Instagram on Tuesday, as she prepares to mark nine years of sobriety.
The actress, 62, marked Alcohol Awareness Week with the photos – one of which showed the effect alcohol had on her appearance and the other of the star looking radiant since going teetotal.
Denise spoke candidly about her battle with alcoholism and mental illness in the caption – noting that sobriety had ‘given her her life back.’
Then and now: Denise Welch shared poignant before-and-after giving up alcohol photos on Instagram on Tuesday, as she prepares to mark nine years of sobriety
She wrote: ‘This week is Alcohol Awareness Week. I had my last drink in April 2012. Next year I’ll have been sober for 9 yrs.
‘Apart from my children it is the thing I am most proud of. Not only for myself but for the people who love me. This photo was taken leaving the same event last year and when I was drinking.
‘But worse than what it was doing to me physically was what it was doing to me mentally. Anxiety, paranoia, anger, fear, depression, shame, you name it.
‘Sobriety has given me my life back and allowed me to deal with life’s constant challenges in a clear headed, balanced way.
Better than ever: Denise looked radiant in a snap taken at the 2013 NTAs – one year after she quit drinking
Powerful: Denise spoke candidly about her battle with alcoholism and mental illness in the caption – noting that sobriety had ‘given her her life back’
‘My marriage is wonderful and I nurture it and look after it in ways alcohol doesn’t allow you to. My husband being sober also is the anchor to my life.’
The star reflected on the difficulties of 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, writing: ‘I know this is the most difficult year in so many ways and the temptation to drink is greater than ever.
‘But honestly, if alcohol is no longer a fun way to spend time with friends and have a laugh, if it’s hurting your relationships with the people you love, if you have awful rows with your partner that neither of you can remember, if you have anger directed at those who point out you may have a problem…..you probably have one.
‘It’s never to late to stop. You don’t stop being funny. You weren’t a lot of the time you just thought you were.
Brave: The star was swiftly congratulated by her celebrity friends including Nadia Sawahla, Lizzie Cundy and Ryan Thomas
‘You don’t lose confidence you gain it as you reclaim your self esteem. Nights out are still fun you just leave early, with your car and get home in time for a cuppa and a crumpet and 3 hrs to watch crap telly before bed!!
‘I’m not being the drink police believe me but I increasingly have people asking me about getting sober. It’s hard. But it’s worth it. And no sober person wishes they’d never stopped.
‘I’d rather go through life sober believing I am an alcoholic than go through life drunk believing I’m not’.
The star was swiftly congratulated by her celebrity friends including Nadia Sawahla, Lizzie Cundy and Ryan Thomas.
Honest: In June Denise said she would drink to ‘take away the pain’ of depression but claimed it put her in ‘a dead zone’, in an excerpt of her book
In June Denise revealed she used drinking as a way to ‘take away the pain’ as she struggled with depression.
In an excerpt from her book, The Unwelcome Visitor: Depression and How I Survive It, the Loose Women panellist admitted that she tried to fight her loneliness with alcohol but said it left her in ‘a dead zone.’
The TV star also claimed her depression got so bad at one stage while she was filming Coronation Street that she would hide in her dressing room or pretend to be asleep so that she wouldn’t have to interact with others.
In an excerpt of her book obtained by The Mirror, Denise explained: ‘Because of my mental illness, there were times I didn’t know if I was going to make it through.
‘Alcohol made things worse. I drank a lot, reaching for anything to take away the pain and keep me going… to lift the isolation and loneliness. It put me into kind of a dead zone.
Struggle: Denise said she tried to fight her loneliness with alcohol, as she explained: ‘there were times I didn’t know if I was going to make it through’ (pictured in 2003)
‘For the two or three hours I was actually consuming alcohol, it obliterated my illness. That is why so many people with depression drink.’
Denise was diagnosed with clinical depression after her first son, The 1975 frontman Matthew Healy, was born in 1989.
She went on say she wasn’t sure whether her alcoholism caused her depression or vice versa, as she claimed one problem feeds off the other.
Candid: Denise said of her alcoholism, ‘I drank a lot, reaching for anything to take away the pain and keep me going… to lift the isolation and loneliness’ (pictured in 2011)
The actress also explained that Princess Diana’s death in 1997 impacted her very deeply, causing her to ‘start wailing in grief’ and see everything as ‘red’ as she became consumed by terror.
Detailing several subsequent mental breakdowns, Denise added that she realised she needed help during a holiday in Turkey, and turned to fellow Corrie star Kevin Kennedy to help her get into AA.
The ex-Waterloo Road star spoke candidly about her ‘unwelcome visitor’ and the challenge with trying to be ‘kinder’ to herself in a post shared to social media last September.
She also revealed her depressive episodes make the colour ‘drain out of her life’ within 30 seconds and leave her ‘dead behind the eyes’.
The media personality previously turned to self medicating her depression with drink and drugs.
Despite saying her teenage son Louis, 19, considers their sober household ‘a bit boring’, she insisted she has more fun now than she did when she was drinking.
Denise said on Lorraine back in 2018: ‘We’re very open about it. Obviously Louis grows up in a sober household which I’m sure he thinks is a bit boring sometimes, when I don’t want turn a blind eye to parties of 84 people traipsing through my house.
‘Ultimately, it’s got to be a good thing and being sober doesn’t mean being boring, I have more fun than I’ve ever had now than when I was drinking.’
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123, visit a local branch or go to www.samaritans.org. Anyone battling similar issues should contact AA on: 0800 917 7650 Email helpline: [email protected]
Self-reflection: Denise went on say she wasn’t sure whether her alcoholism caused her depression or vice versa, as she claimed one problem feeds off the other