British singer Michelle Heaton is getting real about her previous struggles with addiction.
Heaton, 42, shared her journey to recovery on Instagram Monday after the U.K. government announced its plan to allocate £780 million (more than $1 billion USD) to a 10-year drug recovery initiative.
Heaton, an original member of the British girl group Liberty X, posted a collection of photos seemingly taken before she got sober.
Describing herself in the caption as a "grateful recovered addict," one picture shows Heaton with her eyes closed while another closeup shot focuses in on her face and eyes, which are puffy and red.
"I wanted to wait till I had the facts before I wrote this and I was am armed with the facts of today's announcement on the government's plans to tackle addiction," Heaton wrote in the caption. "I welcome any efforts by governments to address this issue that affects too many families."
The mother of two — who shares daughter Faith, 9, and son Aaron, 7, with husband Hugh Hanley — added that she was "pleased" with the government's steps taken to fight addiction, stating that she "didn't have the money to get help."
She added, "Friends and family lent me that and I possibly wouldn't be here now had they not as I needed the treatment within days. I'm hoping I'll hear the word education lots in the coming days... Early education in schools is sorely needed and this is something I really feel strongly about."
"This disease does NOT discriminate. It affects people in poverty and people with money. Once an addict we will stop at NOTHING to get the next hit, fix, high! Whatever that may be," she continued. "Harsher punishments will unfortunately not stop us real addicts it will drive us to be more manipulative in our addictions! It's a disease of the mind and the body. We need to also concentrate on STOPPING it before it grips us."
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In the candid post, she detailed various roots of addiction — from being "brought up that way" to "bad relationships" and "[having] no choice."
"The list is endless. It's NOT a middle class problem it's a you and me problem. It's the kid who never fit in, it's the wife at home bored," Heaton wrote. "This disease does NOT discriminate. There is no poster boy or girl for this."
She added, "Punishment in itself is not an answer as it just ignores where and how to tackle it before it begins! Education, help lines and more information is needed most! From, a grateful recovered addict !"
She briefly shared her story, writing, "Michelle Heaton, age 42 no bad upbringing didn't grow up in poverty & certainly no middle class issues and never set out to be an addict . I never knew what an addict was until I almost died. Had you given me a warning or called me up and fined me when I was in the madness I wouldn't have stopped."
She concluded by stating that education, such as information and meetings, helped her. "My passion now is giving back and helping others get sober and clean," Heaton wrote.
Heaton celebrated 20 weeks of sobriety on Instagram in September on National Sober Day during National Recovery Month.
The singer has been open about her addiction to drugs and alcohol in the past. In July, she posted a before-and-after carousel to show the impact "stress … hormones … alcohol … drugs … diet … fitness" had on her hair.
The following month, she wrote, "100 days ago I took this photo, the morning I went into rehab. I remember waking up after yet another night of a party for one, alone by myself in utter madness and chaos. 100 days on, and I wake up (with still tired eyes), but tired from just a restless sleep, not a drugged up binge."
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.