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Helen Duffy, Support Services Manager for Adult Social Care at South Tyneside Council, has decided to have more drink free days after successfully cutting back last year.

The 49-year-old from Boldon said: “I’ve been regularly going booze free for the last three to four years to fundraise for the charity. I tend to do three month-long periods throughout the year as it is a great way to take a break from drinking and to raise much needed funds.

“I’m not really a big drinker, but I do enjoy having a drink when I go out. It is amazing how the amount of drinks you consume can creep up, so it is always good to have breaks from drinking. When I give up alcohol for an extended periods of time I feel so much healthier, my skin looks better and I have more energy, which are all great incentives.

“Last year I decided to do Dry January for the first time to raise funds for Alcohol Concern and I didn’t find it difficult. Since I’ve had quite a lot of experience of going alcohol free I have discovered things that have worked for me. I tend to drink tonic water and I offer to be the designated driver. I highly recommend people stop and think about how much they drink, as it is very easy to lose track and often you’re drinking more than you realise. People should have days off as it is easy to enjoy yourself without having a drink.”

“This year I’ve decided to do things differently as I have a big birthday coming up later in the year. Instead of doing Dry January and not drinking for a month I have arranged several special events throughout the year to tie in with turning 50 in August and I am planning not to drink in between each of these special occasions. I think this is a great way for me to cut back my alcohol intake and I know I will feel the benefits more by taking this approach.”

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