I hate Febfast. And Dry July and Ocsober too.
I hate them because I feel they unfairly demonise alcohol. Oh, I know alcohol is a long way from being good for you – it can cause cancer, for example – but what shits me is the way we have all these months dedicated to not drinking while smoking seems to escape unscathed.
Smoking causes cancer but, while booze bans total three whole months, we have just one day – World No Tobacco Day – dedicated to the ciggies. Now that just seems totally unbalanced to me. I will give the Febfast organisers credit for this year broadening the fast to include those giving up sugar, caffeine and technology like phones and ipads. Though a google search does still show that Febfast is still largely all about the booze.
What also turns me off is that each of the booze-free months offer a leave pass of sorts. For about $25 you can buy yourself a day – maybe a wedding or a mate’s party – where you can drink to your heart’s content. The Febfast website claims that’s not cheating, but I disagree. It is most definitely cheating. If you used a leave pass then you simply didn’t complete Febfast.
It really sends mixed messages about the event itself. Why events that are all about encouraging people not to drink for a month would also offer them a way out is beyond me. It also doesn’t speak highly for those who choose to use a leave pass. They’ve signed up for a month and, the first time they’re faced with the pointy end of alcohol consumption, such as a party or big social gathering, they opt out. The whole goddamn point of these events is to NOT DRINK. AT ALL. Not just sometimes or when it’s easy not to. You’re supposed to do it when it’s hard too. When everyone else around you is drinking and you’re not.
Even though I hate Febfast I’m doing it. Well sort of. I haven’t signed up and I’m not going to hassle everyone about sponsoring me, I’m just going to not drink for the next 28 days. There are a few reasons why.
1) I drink too much: At least lately. The festive season lasts a bit longer for me than most because my birthday arrives a week after new year’s, so I’ve got a three-week party window. This time around I went a bit harder than usual, as evidenced by the sudden spike in my unique beers count on Untappd. So what I’d like to do in February is give myself a bit of a break, given that I’ve likely already drunk enough for January AND February already.
2) The bathroom scales don’t like me: Over those recent months, I’ve seen the numbers on our digital scale in the bathroom climb ever so slowly, but also ever so consistently. Given that I aim to get out and exercise at least four times a week, I’m betting that the reason for the kilo creep is alcohol. So I’m reckoning a month off might stop the scales from saying ‘‘Jesus Christ! Get OFF me!’’ when I step on.
3) Wanting to be the boss: Previously when I’d heard about people who choose to abstain from beer for a month, I’d admired them. And then thought ‘‘I couldn’t do that’’. More and more, that thought worries me because, if I couldn’t step back from beer for a month, doesn’t that mean alcohol is in control, rather than me? The only way I know to turn that around is to abstain for a month myself.
4) Curiosity: There is undoubtedly part of me that wants to experience what it will be like to abstain for a month. I have a perception of what it will be like but I’m interested to see if that matches up with reality. I’m also keen to see how I feel on the last day of February. I’ve written previously about people itching for a beer after the month ends, maybe even getting smashed, and I want to see if that’s true for me. Would I be desperate for a beer once the month is over or would the month off have some affect on my attitude to beer?
5) Hitting the reset button: In much the same way that resetting a computer can magically fix a range of ills, I’m wondering if clearing the decks of beer for a month will change the way I feel about it. I don’t expect to swear off it forever. But what I’d like is for the month off to help me return to the weekend wagon, where I’m beer-free from Monday through to 5pm on Friday.
Even though I’ll be beer-free for the next 28 days, that doesn’t mean this blog will be bare. There will still be stuff appearing – even a few reviewy things that obviously feature beers I drank in January. Also, if there is any demand for it (and, given I write a blog with a small readership, ‘‘demand’’ means ‘‘three people asked for it’) I might even post the odd Febfast update. Which I promise would be more than ‘‘Hey, still not drinking beer’’.
In case you’re wondering, no, I won’t be granting myself any leave passes. This is a straight 28-alcohol-free days. Nor will I be drinking alcohol-free beer – that’d be cheating too.