The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

FebFast 2012 for Fabulous Feminists and Friends

Cross posted

I’m going to do FebFast 2012, and I’m hoping that some of the fabulous feminists and friends that I know would like to do it too, and join the team I have set up for us.

The idea of FebFast is simple. You give up drinking alcohol for an entire month, and you pay for the privilege of doing so – $25 for people in employment, and $15 for concession card holders and students. That sounds like a dud deal, except that the money raised goes to four organisations, all of whom are working with young people who may be vulnerable to alcohol abuse. The four organisations are: Rainbow Youth, Evolve, CareNZ, and the ADHD Association. You can read more about them here: FebFast: Meet the Recipients.

So… are you prepared to give up alcohol for the month of February? It’s a short month, ‘though a day longer this year thanks to the leap year. Even if you don’t wish to give up alcohol for a month, you might care to make a donation in support of the team, and of course, in support of the four organisations working to help young people who have problems with alcohol.

If you have an event you were planning to go to in February, and have an alcoholic drink or two, you can still do FebFast. You can buy a Get Out of Jail Free card Time Out Certificate for $25 for an emergency, $35 for a big event, or $45 if you’re looking to purchase absolution.

Please think about joining the fast, or sponsoring someone who is doing it, or making a donation. And if you’re doing any one of those things, how about doing it as part of the Fabulous Feminists and Friends FebFast team? You can join the team as part of the registration process, or if you want to make a donation, you can do it by clicking on the “Donate” button on the team page.

I’m really, really, hoping that I’m not going to be a team of one…

If you want to find out some more about FebFast, there’s an article in the New Zealand Herald today: Kiwis challenged to February booze ban.

4 responses to “FebFast 2012 for Fabulous Feminists and Friends

  1. Emma January 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Okay, I’ve been thinking and thinking about how to articulate my problems with FebFast. Some background: I’m the child of an abusive alcoholic. So is my partner. We’ve always been very aware of the genetic weaknesses our children may carry, to the point of talking to our family doctor about it when the children were still very small. Her advice? Their environment, our family’s attitude to and demonstrated behaviour with alcohol, was more important than their genes.

    My problem with temporary drinking cessation is that it seems to me to conflate “drinking” with “problem drinking”. After we left Dad, my mother didn’t have alcohol in the house for about ten years. So I had no example of normal drinking at all, only his. When I started at uni and I was wondering if my drinking was too heavy, I did just this: I temporarily stopped, to make sure that I could.

    Turns out, this kind of negotiation (“If I can stop for a week/fortnight/month, then my drinking is okay,”) is quite a common behaviour for alcoholics.

    So no, I won’t be doing FebFast, because I feel that if I did I’d be saying to my children, “The way I normally drink, a glass of wine with dinner or a couple of gins with friends, is A Problem. The only alternative to too much drinking is no drinking at all.”

    I’ve known Problem Drinkers. It was nothing to do with how much or how often they drank, and everything to do with the way their personality would change completely when they drank, making them aggressive or bitter or simply just not the same person they were when they were sober.

    I have no problems with people doing FebFast, to be clear. (Though I am slightly uncomfortable with… the way it could perhaps become a peer pressure thing, especially when tied to charities. I had no problems at all when Megan did Dryly, because that was so clearly just about her.) But I don’t think it’s as clear-cut as it’s often presented, and I’m not ‘not doing it’ because I can’t be bothered or a I have a drinking problem or I just haven’t thought it through.

    • meganwegan January 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      When we did dryly, there was a very large part of me that was doing it because people said I couldn’t.

      In hindsight, I’m really uncomfortable with that, given how much I’ve read about the harm of short term drinking cessation. (Basically, if you have to stop to “prove” you can, it’s a fairly good sign that you might have a problem.) Also, while it might be good for your skin and energy levels, it won’t do anything for your liver.

      Which is not to say I don’t think anyone should do it, and the first Dryly certainly taught me a lot about my own drinking, and made me make some changes in my life. (For the record, I don’t think my drinking _now_ is at all problematic, though some people of my acquaintance do.)

      Just, you know, do it for the right reasons.

      (Also, Dryly is a MUCH better name.)

      • tallulahspankhead January 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

        A frozen daiquiri of a scorching afternoon is soothing. It makes living more tolerable.

        Clearly, if I am going to live up my namesake, can not be at all abstemious. Which is lucky, because I choose not to be.

        Emma and I have discussed “Fabuary”, where we drink (reasonably*) every day, and give money to Rainbow Youth for the pleasure. And just generally be fabulous. It could be an expensive month.

        * Given we both have birthdays in Fabuary, “reasonable may be a movable feast.

  2. Deborah January 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Sorry not to reply earlier: we were travelling yesterday and internet.

    The people running FebFast are fairly clear that
    is not a way for people who have serious problems with alcohol to control it

    We do not recommend FebFast as a suitable form of withdrawal for people who may be dependent on alcohol and or other drugs.

    FebFast’s annual campaign is intended to drive public awareness and raise funds In support of New Zealand’s Youth alcohol and other drug service sector.

    I had a long conversation about alcohol with my GP in Australia a couple of years back. His advice, which works for me, is that for a woman of my age and weight, a couple of glasses of wine are fine, and that the more important thing to do was to aim for have two or three alcohol-free nights each week, not necessarily in a row, to give my body recovery time. I like that approach, for me, because I feel physically better, and because it models a reasonable approach to alcohol for my children, which I thInk is an important thing to do.

    I did DryJuly in Australia a couple of years ago, which had much the same focus I.e. raise awareness of the work being done by various organisations and raise some money for them. I was particularly pleased to see that Rainbow Youth was one of the organizations, and that was one of my major motivation for signing up to do the fast. I didn’t put that in the post because I didn’t want it make it seem like other people had to support that particular motivation. Also, despite my ideal of tow or three nights off a week, I always slip on that towards the end of the year, and start on a period of reform in the New Year, cutting back on drinking every night, and reducing the number of glasses of wine I drink on any one occasion. FebFast works in nicely with that for me.

    Anyway, great points, Emma, and thanks for raising them.

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