A WOMAN has told how alcohol used to rule her life as she celebrates five years of sobriety.

As thousands of people are temporarily putting the booze to one side for 'Sober October', Michelle Louise Sutton, from Bolton, has shared her story, hoping it will inspire others who are continuing to struggle with alcoholism on a daily basis.

The 41-year-old stopped drinking on September 19, 2016.

She explained that alcohol, although it made her feel like she "hit the jackpot", changed her life and not for the better.

She said: “Over the years the drink crept up on me and things began to change in my mid 20s.

"I was drinking daily, drinking in the mornings, drinking whenever I could, as I just did not feel normal without a drink inside me.

“I lost interest in all the things I used to love – music, dancing, socialising, the gym, work, my friends and family. I had no interest in anything but drink and men.

“I drove my dad to despair so many times over the years but once Michelle took a drink, I was just a totally different person.

"I was a complete embarrassment to myself, everyone and everything.

“Every relationship I ever had with a man was destroyed through my drinking and most friendships were lost.

“By the age of 30 I was a complete mess.

"Shaking, sweating all the time, dishonest, extremely selfish, unreliable, bitter, resentful, envious, jealous and not a very nice person, I did not care about anyone including myself.

“I tried to stop drinking so many times. I promised myself and others that I would stop, but I just couldn’t do it.”

Speaking about the way alcohol changed her life, Michelle said alcohol made her irritable, restless, discontent and angry.

However, her life changed when she decided to join Alcoholics Anonymous in March, 2016.

She said: “They explained the illness of alcoholism. It’s a two-fold illness. A mental obsession and a physical craving. The first drink does the damage, sets off a craving within our body and the mental obsession is that, even when we are not drinking, we are constantly thinking about drinking.

“Therefore the main problem is not the drinking, but the mental obsession, our thinking which needs to change.”

After months of trying her best Michelle decided she didn’t want alcohol to control her life anymore so she listened to the people offering her support.

She said: “I went to a meeting every day for about eight months and I got a sponsor who guided me through the 12-step program of recovery which changes the way we think and clears the wreckage of our past.

“The 12-step programme of recovery also teaches us a new way of living, a new way of thinking and changes our actions and behaviours for the better as long as we continue to follow the instructions just one day at a time.

“We also learn how to deal with our emotions which have been blocked out with booze for all them years. AA teaches us to grow up and deal with life situations.”

Michelle is now five years sober and continues to go to AA meetings twice a week to keep herself grounded.

She thanks herself daily for the changes she decided to make but she also thanks all her loved ones and new found friends.

Michelle said: “Thankyou to everyone who has been a part of my journey and continues to be part of this journey with me, especially my sponsor who I continue to drive crazy all the time.

“Also, thanks dad for all the financial help and love you have given me over these last five years, you mean the world to me.”