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Febfasters Reap The Benefits Of Going Alcohol-free

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Febfasters Reap The Benefits Of Going Alcohol-free

New Zealand's first ever FebFast ends tomorrow, having raised thousands of dollars for youth charities and given participants a break from drinking alcohol.

Nearly a thousand people have given up alcohol for all of February as part of the Drug Foundation's FebFast fundraiser, and so far more than $75,000 has been raised.

Coordinator Catherine Milburn says people can continue to make donations via the FebFast website ( throughout March.

"There's still time to show your support."

A number of well-known New Zealanders have also supported the event, including teams of Labour and National MPs, ZM host Polly Gillespie, chef/food writer Jo Seagar, actor/writer Pinky Agnew, singer Maisey Rika, TV3 journalists Mike McRoberts and Paula Penfold, social media editor Greer McDonald, and The Edge radio hosts Jay-Jay Feeney and Dominic Harvey.

Jay-Jay Feeney says giving up alcohol has been easier than she thought.

"I found the most challenging moment to be when we attended a friend's celebration a week ago. We were out of town for it and felt like a champagne for the toast, followed by a few glasses of wine to give me dance floor courage! Instead, we ended up drinking tap water and going home a bit earlier than we otherwise would - but we woke up feeling fresh."

Jay-Jay says she'll continue being alcohol-free during March as part of a general health detox.

"A couple of my friends are very upset with me about this but I have assured them 'party Jay-Jay' has not fully retired but is just taking a well-deserved break!"

Her husband and Edge co-host, Dominic Harvey, says he realised during his month-long FebFast that he was drinking more than he should.

"I do drink red wine most days and binge drink occasionally. So where to from here? I may continue to enjoy alcohol-free weekdays. I should emphasise the word 'enjoy' too - it really has been enjoyable breaking what has become a very comfortable habit."

Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says he, too, has found going alcohol-free easier than expected.

"There was one night when a group of us went out to a pub and people had their half-litres of Belgian beer and I was sitting there with my coke," he says. "But it was fine, the whole thing has been good and even though tomorrow's the first of March I'm not planning to rush out and buy a drink."

National MP Dr Jackie Blue says as well as the MPs officially taking part in FebFast, another four or five MPs are unofficially taking part, and everyone has noticed the benefits.

"Some of the women MPs have found they have lost weight, which is a bonus, and they're sleeping better and feeling better. We're getting a lot of support for doing FebFast - people don't like what they're seeing with alcohol in our society."

Another National MP, Chester Borrows, says he's enjoying tonic water with lemon these days and is feeling better for it.

"I'm not so tired after tea these days and don't drop off to sleep in my armchair after a long day. It's easier to work on into the evening these days."

The money raised from FebFast will go to youth charities Amplify (Auckland), He Taumata Toa/Growing Champions (Wellington), He Haerenga O Wananga/Adventure Therapy (Christchurch), and Whakaata Tohu Tohu/Mirror Counselling Services (Dunedin).

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