Dry July, the
annual challenge encouraging Australians to give up alcohol for 31 days, is celebrating its 15th year! The $82M raised so far has helped local and national cancer support organisations across Australia to deliver practical, tangible support services for people affected by cancer.
Giving up alcohol for one month may sound easy - but with social drinking so heavily engrained in our culture it may be difficult for some people to reduce or stop their consumption.
Whether you're giving up alcohol all together or cutting down, forgoing alcohol can do you a lot of good.
Here are a few reasons to go dry (or reduce), and keep you motivated while you give up the booze this month:
When people drink alcohol they have a greater chance of getting hurt and hurting other people, for example through car accidents, falls or getting into arguments.
Drinking alcohol increases the risk of many cancers, including bowel and breast cancer.
Alcohol can also damage the liver and cause high blood pressure. The level of risk increases as more alcohol is consumed.
Drinking alcohol can cause mental health problems or make these problems worse.
Save money – swapping beer, wine or cocktails for alcohol free options means more money in your account at the end of the month.
The Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol recommends that healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
If healthy adults were to take this advice, their chances of dying from an alcohol-related condition would be less than 1 in 100. The risk increases as a person drinks more, but it decreases by drinking less frequently and consuming less alcohol each time.
Each day that you decide not to drink alcohol, you're potentially avoiding or preventing serious life-long health concerns.
Important note: For some people, suddenly stopping drinking can make them feel physically and emotionally unwell. If you feel you cannot stop, or experience sweatiness, nausea or shaking within days of not drinking – you may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms and should see your doctor.
Help to get healthy
Want to cut down on booze but need guidance and help? Take advantage of the free NSW telephone-based coaching service Get Healthy. The Get Healthy Alcohol Reduction program is designed to support you to make healthy lifestyle changes and reduce your alcohol consumption.
Health coaches assess your current drinking habits and provide support and motivation to help you reach your health goal.
Talk to a Get Healthy Service Health Coach on 1300 806 258, Mon – Fri 8am – 8pm or start your journey here! Alternatively you can ask your GP or Allied Health Professional for a referral to the Get Healthy Service at your next appointment.
If you want to get involved this year visit the Dry July website for more information.
Want to know whether your drinking habits are putting you at risk? Find out by using our Alcohol Risk Assessment Tool.
For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drugs 24 hours, 7 days a week, call the Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015 or talk to counsellor via Webchat (available Mon to Fri 8.30am to 5pm (including public holiday). For help with reducing your alcohol consumption, contact the Get Healthy service on 1300 806 258 or online at gethealthynsw.com.au.