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Diary of a Febfaster Part 1: Addio to Alcohol

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Whenever I hear the word “FebFast” I feel uncomfortable.

For the notion of “FebFast” feels like it is calling to me, but if truth be told, the thought of actually participating fills me with horror.

According to the FebFast website, the fundraising event kicked off in 2008. The idea is participants pay a $25 registration fee, beg for sponsors,  and then commit to a month of no alcohol.

Yes, no alcohol of any kind. Not even G &Ts, which look so harmless and water-like it seems criminal to count them.

You can “buy permission” for a special drinking occasion if need be. The money raised is then distributed to help fund research into youth substance abuse.

Which is kind of ironical, as according to research Wendy Tuohy quoted in her column in yesterday’s Herald Sun, it is professional women in their 30s – 50s who make up 75% of the FebFasters.

And according to the same research, it is this group (my group) that

“…tended to drink more often, and more on each occasion, compared to a sample of Australian who had consumed alcohol in the past year.”

The cold hard facts as published by VicHealth were:-

  • 63% of participants drink more than 2 standard drinks per day, at least once a week
  • 32% of participants were likely to have more than 4 standard drinks per day, at least once per week
  • Participants were most likely to be working, university educated and have a higher than average household income.

Alcohol has been a consistent presence in my life ever since the night I first got drunk as a 17-year-old on the front steps of home while the parents were away.

I discovered why Spumante is aptly named, and I discovered that trying to clean the evidence off the pampas grass into which I had vomited, was futile.

Once at Uni my friends and I found the Uni Bar and from Wednesday – Saturday nights we rarely left there, unless to go to another of our favourite watering holes.

When I started work at my first real job  on the North West Coast of Tassie, our merry little gang of marooned young lawyers worked hard and played hard – always against a backdrop of grog.

And when I joined Mothers Group as a scared and confused young mother, I started drinking champagne with the group as it some how made all the hard work seem a little easier.

Champagne also made my world seem a little brighter – and still does.

We seem happy about the champers we are about to consume...

When it is wine o’clock and I have had a hard day at work, the kids are nagging me, the domestic duties like cooking dinner need to be done and the husband is either at work or on the waves  – the one or two glasses to help me relax and recharge seem harmless. Until you add them up.

I do have AFDs (Alcohol Free Days), but not nearly enough of them. So when I first saw Facebook postings of friends committing to FebFast I thought “Are you crazy”.

But gradually the FebFast call has grown louder until I find I can no longer tune it out over the sound of the champagne cork popping.

I would like to be able to say the reasons I am considering joining FebFast are all about my health. I want to see if I can lose a couple of those Christmas kilos that are still hanging around. A quick google search tells me every (small) glass of white wine adds around 112 calories / 469 kilojoules to my waist line (or arse, or thighs, or all three).

Chinese Medical Practitioner Kylie (my acupuncturist) tells me alcohol makes the inflammations across my body worse; the Better Health Channel suggest alcohol and arthritis do not mix well.

All excellent reasons for me to lay off the grog for a few weeks.

But what really scares me and is the reason I have finally decided to sign on for FebFast, is I am not actually sure I can in fact go an entire month without alcohol.

The closest I have come is back in 2009 when I lasted two weeks on an unofficial FebFast attempt. Truthfully I only lasted that long because for the first week I was in a post-anaesthetic post-operation drug haze.

So please, wish me luck as I embark on this epic journey.

Then maybe come the 1st of March we can celebrate my success. Over a glass of diet dry ginger ale – at only 19 kilojoules per standard drink.

Good luck to all the other FebFasters in the blogosphere.

No Cheers till next time,



2 responses »

  1. like all good addicts it is good to have a substitute READY!! Love yourself this month and give yourself a couple of little treats for doing so well. A new bottle of fabulous perfume and everytime you smell it (or spray it) remind yourself how well you are doing. Having another cupping session or an Infra Red sauna can help because you are probably going to have a bit of withdrawal.
    Strong woman can do ANYTING they put their mind to, this will be no different. Go Alli GO!!

  2. Thanks for the pep talk Shelley, & that’s really great advice. I feel really inspired now! 4 days down, 25 to go….and any suggestions for the perfume? I’m hopeless with perfume, I just get the same one all the time…Sharon if you see this, what’s that nice one you wear I always ask you about?


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