Australian Survivor reality TV star and undisputed quintessential Aussie bloke, Johnny Eastoe, will ditch the booze next month for Dry July 2020, revealing his struggles since leaving the show combined with years of constant and heavy drinking, had taken its toll on him mentally and physically.
Mr Eastoe, an underground mine shift worker in the Goldfields, said he was thrilled to be asked by Cancer Council WA to be a regional Dry July champion, and urged anyone who may be concerned about their drinking, particularly following the COVID-19 lock-down, to sign up or donate.
"Over the past 12 months I have done two seasons of Survivor but coming back to work and reality has been a real struggle," Mr Eastoe said.
"Like a lot of people who appear on reality TV shows, I struggled with adapting back.
"It's so overwhelming - it sweeps you up - and then you go back to work and you're dealing with people day to day coming up to you. My escape from it was definitely turning to the bottle a bit more."
Mr Eastoe said he had been a regular drinker for years, but things were getting out of control.
"I have been drinking on a daily basis pretty much for the past 15 years," he said.
"However following Survivor, I would finish my mining shift then down about six to eight drinks every night. Then on my week off, I would pretty much just sit around and drink all day.
"I was fulfilling my responsibilities at work but not my personal responsibilities; I stopped doing things around the house and my communication with family was really lacking.
"I approached my good friends from the show and said I am at a point now where if I don't make a change I'm going to go down that track and basically said I had a problem.
"A mate suggested a pact to give up the booze for 30 days and give each other the support we needed.
"I ended up doing 45 days but then had a few beers the other week and was a bit disappointed in myself. The next day I was so hung-over and don't really want to feel like that again.
"Having someone backing you up goes a long way and a pledge to a mate is a good answer to external pressures. People constantly pressure you to change your bad habits, but a bet is something no one wants to renege on.
"The 45 days I had off the booze are probably the best days I have had. The first week was hard but after that I just felt better and better every day. I was able to go to the gym more and train. When I was struggling and wanted to drink I would go for a walk instead which was so much more rewarding.
"I'm really looking forward to getting on the wagon again and doing another month off the booze. I urge anyone who wants to give their liver a break to sign up to Dry July 2020 and raise much needed funds for Cancer Council WA."
Our CEO Ashley Reid said committing to the Dry July fundraiser was great way to raise funds for an important cause.
"By going dry this July and fundraising on behalf of Cancer Council WA you'll help us continue to provide our vital 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line for all Australians affected by cancer," Mr Reid said.
"Our 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line is a confidential service run by experienced cancer nurses and is available to those affected by or concerned about cancer. This service is not government funded - it is funded through the generosity of donors and fundraisers.
"The service connects Australians with relevant support, information and resources to help them through their cancer journey. Last year, the service was there to answer more than 6,500 calls from all over the State.
Mr Reid said that participating in Dry July also yielded a range of health benefits.
"Going dry for July is a great opportunity to look at how you can reduce your overall alcohol consumption," he said.
"Alcohol is a cause of cancer; research shows that every year more than 3,200 cases of cancer can be attributed to alcohol consumption, such as mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, bowel and breast cancer in women.
"There is no safe level of alcohol use, as any level increases the risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer; with studies showing that the risk of cancer increases with increasing consumption of alcohol on a regular basis.
To reduce your cancer risk and improve your health and wellbeing, we recommend you limit how much alcohol you drink or better still, avoid drinking alcohol altogether.
"If you choose to drink, limit your intake to a maximum of two drinks a day and make sure you have alcohol-free days."
People wanting to participate in Dry July and help Cancer Council WA to continue supporting thousands of Australians affected by cancer via their 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line can sign up at dryjuly.com/cancercouncil.
Support Johnny Eastoe do Dry July 2020 for Cancer Council WA
For more information about our support services, visit our Cancer Support and Services page or call 13 11 20.