Denise Welch says sobriety has given her ‘her life back’ and shares unrecognisable before-and-after pictures

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Loose Women panelist Denise Welch marked Alcohol Awareness Week with a revealing post about her own battle with booze.

“Sobriety has given me my life back,” Denise said, adding that it’s “allowed [her] to deal with life’s constant challenges in a clear headed, balanced way.”

The most recent addition to the Hollyoaks cast will have been sober for nine years by the time next April rolls around.

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Denise revealed that “apart from her children” it is the thing she’s “most proud of.”

To illustrate her incredible progress, Denise posted an unrecognisable before and after, explaining that both pictures were taken at the same event – one last year and one when she was drinking.

Despite the stark difference between the two pictures, Denise maintained that the effect alcohol had on her mental health was far worse.

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“Anxiety, paranoia, anger, fear, depression, shame, you name it,” she declared.

With the difficulties people have faced this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Denise also acknowledged that many more people may be turning to alcohol.

“The temptation to drink is greater than ever,” she points out.

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“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… probably have one.”

Denise also disclosed that people often ask her about “getting sober.”

“It’s hard. But it’s worth it,” she declares. “And no sober person wishes they’d never stopped.”

The 62-year-old mother of two shared some heartfelt words of encouragement for anyone thinking about taking the leap:

“It’s never too late to stop. You don’t stop being funny. You weren’t a lot of the time you just thought you were. 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!!”

Denise also opened up about her marriage to husband Lincoln Townley, explaining that it’s “wonderful” and that she’s able to “nurture it and look after it” now that alcohol is out of the picture.

“My husband being sober also is the anchor to my life,” she added.

Denise’s emotional and honest post prompted support from a few famous faces, including fellow Loose Women panelist Nadia Sawalha and presenter Lisa Riley.

“You are a warrior. Sending so much love,” wrote Nadia.

“If I could give you ten thousand cuddles I would….absolutely wonderful,” Lisa added.

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