Community Scoop

Auckland FebFaster prepares for personal challenge

Press Release – FebFast

Aucklander Andrew Grear is giving up one of his favourite things during February: red wine. There’s nothing he likes more at the end of a long day than a glass or two of red wine with friends – but he’s going to stop drinking alcohol for a …24 January 2011

Auckland FebFaster prepares for personal challenge

Aucklander Andrew Grear is giving up one of his favourite things during February: red wine.

There’s nothing he likes more at the end of a long day than a glass or two of red wine with friends – but he’s going to stop drinking alcohol for a whole month during February as part of the New Zealand Drug Foundation’s FebFast fundraiser.

FebFast challenges people to ‘press pause’ on their drinking for a month to raise money via online sponsorship for four charities working with young people affected by drug or alcohol issues. The recipients this year are Evolve (Wellington), Rainbow Youth (Auckland), CareNZ (Waikato), and the ADHD Association.

Details on how to take part are at

Coordinator Catherine Milburn says FebFast is a fun, healthy event which gives community organisations a helping hand and also helps participants detox after the festive season.

27-year-old Air New Zealand call centre employee Andrew Grear, who is on the Board of Rainbow Youth, says he views FebFast as a personal challenge.

“It’s a reminder that I choose to drink, it’s not something I have to do,” he says.

This will be the second year he’s taken part in FebFast, and he says he only signed up last time because a number of his friends had.

“I didn’t want to be the only one going out and drinking alcohol if they weren’t, so I thought I’d do FebFast as well,” he says.

“It was really hard because I do enjoy a glass or two of wine several times a week. I’m so used to coming home and opening a bottle, it was quite an adjustment, but I’m glad I did it. It’s for a good cause and I saved $300 to $400 over the month by not buying alcohol.”

Catherine Milburn says people take part in FebFast do so for a whole range of reasons.

“Some people want to lose a few kilos and they know that knocking off the alcohol for a few weeks will make a difference,” she says.

“Others want to have a clearer head, feel more alert and just generally feel more on top of things, and going alcohol-free can help with that too. Other people want to save a bit of money or they’re motivated by the desire to help young people who are struggling with alcohol or drug issues.

“They’re all great reasons for taking part.”

Here are some of the comments from last year’s FebFast participants:

“Lost 2kg so far!”
“I found I was more patient and my clarity in the morning was amazing. I am normally a 3 drinks a day person so for me it was breaking the habit.”
“Managed to save about $100 a week! Days seemed to have more hours in them.”
“This really opened my eyes just to see how you can be personally affected by alcohol.“
“I enjoyed not having hangovers on Saturday and Sunday morning.”
“It was good stepping back, creating some space for healthier habits to evolve.”

Andrew Grear’s advice for people thinking of taking part in FebFast:”Don’t even hesitate. Just sign up and do. It doesn’t hurt to take a break from drinking.”

To register for FebFast or to find out more visit

About the recipient organisations for FebFast 2012:

Evolve, a free Wellington service for young people aged 10 to 25 years. Evolve provides a wide range of general health, primary care and social services to assist youth. The funding it receives from FebFast will support a new programme for brief interventions with young people around alcohol and drug use. You can read more about Evolve at

The ADHD Association, which educates, supports and advocates for people affected by ADHD. FebFast funding will support the development of a substance abuse educational resource for young people with ADHD. Research shows that this group are more prone to substance abuse. The DVD/study guide produced from FebFast funding will be a first in New Zealand for ADHD, and will be relevant to the many social agencies involved with this group. You can read more about the ADHD Association at

Rainbow Youth, Auckland. Queer and Transgender youth are more likely to drink often and heavily, more likely to drink alone, and more likely to have had family or friends tell them to reduce their drinking. Rainbow Youth wants to change the way alcohol and drug use is viewed, and will use its FebFast funding to raise awareness of the issues, for example through the use of blogs on the and the sites.

CareNZ, Waikato. Every year CareNZ helps more than 2700 people overcome addiction issues. FebFast funding will support an ongoing project that follows up focus group results collected from 14 schools. This will involve raising awareness of alcohol issues, the availability of help, and the need to diminish the harm caused by youth drinking in schools. You can read more about CareNZ at


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