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Choosing to stop drinking from Dry July to learning to Say When...

Monday 2 July, 2012 by Emily

It may be pouring outside but many Australians are kicking off the new financial year dry style - swilling non-alcohol beverages for the month of July (yes, just 31 days out of one's life if you fancy giving it a go).

The funds raised from Dry July go towards helping adults living with cancer and their families. Not to mention the health benefits of time off the grog.

In Australia, the main causes of alcohol-related deaths are road trauma, cancer and alcoholic liver cirrhosis.  An estimated 5070 cases of cancer (or 5% of all cancers) are attributable to long-term chronic use of alcohol each year, including one in five breast cancers.

And it's not just heavy drinking that's the problem here, as even small amounts of alcohol increases risk. But that said, the more you drink, the greater the risk. And there's no evidence that alcohol helps protect you from any type of cancer.

For those that do choose to drink, the National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol recommend no more than two standard drinks a day.

But we know a lengthy or lifelong dry spell is not always the drink de jour....

Some opt to say ‘Hello Sunday Morning' like a few of the nation's MPs recently did, forming a ‘coalition of the sober' and blogging about their break from alcohol.

Others might learn to ‘Say When' thanks to a new online tool launched through the Better Health Channel to help people assess their use of alcohol.

Developed by Queensland University of Technology and supported by VicHealth the Say When tool provides a free and non-threatening way for people to see how their own drinking habits stack up....and if they want to, to make a change.

From the occasional tipple to those that may be concerned about someone else's drinking there are useful tips and advice to stay in control of alcohol. You can work out how many drinks you've had with the Drink Calculator...and the real number might surprise you.

You can also create profiles so you can monitor your drinking habits over time and find information and support resources.

So what sort of drink will you be having tonight? And what state will you be nursing tomorrow? Do you know when to Say When? And will you wake up to ‘hello I feel good' in the morning?

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