Today is the first of 29 days (sucked in, guys, it’s a leap year so there’s an extra day) where a lot of people will try not to drink .
It’s safe to say I have an ambivalent approach to FebFast – and whatever other months push people to stay off the drink (come on, guys. How about coming up with a month dedicated to swearing off something other than alcohol? Cigarettes, chocolate, junk food, lollies, soft drink – there’s just a few suggestions).
I’ve written posts ridiculing it. I’ve written posts about doing it for a month. And I’ve even written about giving up less than a week in.
If you’re a beer geek and have never gone dry for a month, I would certainly recommend it. If only to see if you can do it. Also, it can give you time to think about your drinking habits – and if you never do that, then you probably should.
But my problem with these dry months is I doubt that many people actually seriously spend any time thinking about their drinking during that month. Then, when March comes along, they pretty much pick up where they left off in January.
If that’s going to be your approach, then there’s no point in taking a month off at all. it just gives you a false sense of security; a mistaken belief that you’re in control.
It’s like a fattie swearing off fast food for a month – in the long run, what good does it do you?Look, I’d argue that, if someone is going to take a month off, it’s a good indication you have some concerns with your drinking. Maybe you’re worried about drinking too much, or drinking it too fast. Maybe you’re worried it might be making you fat (yeah, it probably is). Whatever it is, something has motivated you to steer clear of beer for a month.
So why not consider making a few longer term changes? Hell, why not forget about FebFast and just make those changes now? It’s what I’m doing. I do know I was drinking a bit more than I’d like to – probably a bit more than the average person. To deal with that I brought in a few rules. For instance, there’s the weekday wagon, where drinking can only be done from Friday night to Sunday night. On top of that, I wait until my kid goes to bed around 7.30pm before cracking open a beer. And I never drink beyond 10pm.
One thing I’ve noticed is I do enjoy the beer more now than I used to. I guess it’s because I have it less often so it’s a bit more special. Also – and this surprises me – there are times when I’m allowed to have a beer but part of me actually doesn’t feel like one.
Ultimately, this approach feels more realistic to me. And also more likely to bring longer-term benefits and behavioural change than totally abstaining for a month.
If you want to be one of those insufferable types who want to boast to people about how they’re going dry for a month, then do FebFast.
But if you feel you need to make some changes that will still be around come March, then maybe you should do something else.
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