Okay, this Febfast thing is getting ridiculous. Two nights ago I performed in a brewery. Where all performers got unlimited free drinks.

Did somebody say beer? Photo: Herald Sun

I was told, ‘Here is liquid gold. Drink your fill, and be engulfed by its wonder here and now, for you cannot consume any outside of this magical place.’

Or that’s what I heard. My need for alcohol is actually starting to affect my powers of perception, and I now seem to be existing in a reality that is part medieval England, part Narnia. Alternatively, I might be seeing things as they are, and Perth is a few years behind the rest of Australia. It wasn’t just any brewery, either. It was the Little Creatures in Fremantle.

On the very premises they make beer from hops grown in fields of clouds, yeast cultivated in the very bosom of Mother Nature, with special ingredients including angel’s wings and unicorn tears. All cooked in a fire started before time by the last dragon.

Which might not be true, but is exactly how it felt because I couldn’t have any.

Instead I had a four shot coffee. Four shots, that’s what I need now just to get a buzz. Whoever says that I’ve just replaced one addiction with another is spot on correct, but all the coffee is also helping with the weight loss.

Fat people might be funny, but it’s much harder getting a female audience member interested in you after the show if you’re the size of a house, and sweat like an elephant-sized stick of butter in a sauna.

So I made it through the gig, and it went fairly well. Better than the other night, but still not amazing. The cravings for booze were still rampant, as my hands were shaking and the nerves were overpowering whenever I wasn’t onstage. Maybe also something to do with all that coffee.

Or maybe we need a reason to stay off coffee? ‘Ban the bean for March’? It’s my idea, but feel free to steal it because I think it’s rubbish.

A quick thanks to the lovely couple who came up to me after the show and said, ‘Great work tonight. We’ve been reading your blogs. We’re struggling too but we’ll get through, and reckon you will as well.’

Which reminded me exactly why big gestures like Febfast are important.

I don’t have a problem exercising, or eating well most of the time. So when friends go on about diet clubs, and Zumba and that morning commando one where you pay some ex-army guy to scream at you until you spew, I don’t need any of that.

I’d never tell this to my friend’s faces, but I see it as a weakness. If you’re not mentally strong enough to do it on your own, how is wasting money to be part of a group going to help? What happens when the group winds up, and you go back to your life and bad habits?

You want to lose weight? Eat less, exercise more. Done. However, the same could be said to me. ‘You want to stop drinking? So just stop drinking.’

Which is why I finally get it. Alcohol isn’t something I could give up on my own. It’s just so much easier to drink. Especially when it’s free, when it’s part of your payment for a night’s work, when everyone else is doing it, when it makes you feel good and when you depend on it.

For me, FebFast is the big reason to not drink that rules out all those smaller reasons. And you, the people reading this, you’re my support group. Which is why it meant an incredible amount when that lovely couple came up to me.

I know my problems are pretty pedestrian, but I’m struggling and even just a few words really helped.

Okay, so enough of that emo shit. Point is, I hope FebFast is the big first step I take along with the group. To get over that first hump and then hopefully, I’ll have the strength to get on with it myself. Or not, and I get into much harder drugs and realise what a small problem alcohol really was.

On a side note, last night I had my second full-length one-hour show without alcohol. Seven tickets away from a sell-out and it was very nearly the best show I’ve ever done. That’s not just my opinion either, the audience agreed as ticket sales for the rest of my Perth Fringe World and Adelaide Fringe runs are looking good.

So will I make it through February without drinking? Today I feel pretty confident, but that changes on a daily basis. Also, the fact that I’m already talking like I’ve achieved something makes me believe I deserve a drink to celebrate, and we’re not even two weeks into February.

Always looking for an excuse to drink, and I find them everywhere…

Try the half-arsed FebFast if you want. Sponsor me here. If I don’t make it, you get your money back.

More articles and gig details here: www.xaviertoby.com

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

Most commented


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    • gobsmack says:

      06:10am | 15/02/13

      Face it.

      You’re an alcoholic.

    • wakeuppls says:

      07:49am | 15/02/13

      If he’s an alcoholic I’m a whiskey soaked sponge.

    • Paul says:

      11:52am | 15/02/13

      wakeuppls, you are a whiskey soaked sponge.

    • wakeuppls says:

      01:06pm | 15/02/13

      That’s what I just said.

    • Nostromo says:

      02:33pm | 15/02/13

      Alcoholics go to meetings. At best he’s a drunk. smile

    • Sickemrex says:

      06:47am | 15/02/13

      Cry me a river. I’m 8 month pregnant.

    • Sam says:

      07:52am | 15/02/13

      Oh suck it up, I have man-flu!

    • Sickemrex says:

      08:23am | 15/02/13

      @ Sam, at least you can medicate with Scotch!

    • Sam says:

      08:40am | 15/02/13

      But when you call out, “honey get me a cuppa plus a vegemite and honey sanga please”, your partner doesn’t just give you a weird look and tells you to get it yourself as it is just a bl***y sniffle.

    • Chillin says:

      09:08am | 15/02/13


      You can medicate with Scotch or have a ciggy, you KNOW the mainstream media supports that these days.  The ‘sisterhood’ will rally behind you telling us what a hard life you have had and that it’s really not that bad.  Shed a few tears and it’s all good.

    • Sickemrex says:

      09:49am | 15/02/13

      @ Chillin, so do you think a tearful admission of an occasional extremely weak spritzer or shandy would net me some $$$$? Cool! I would have to fake the tears and contrition though.

    • Chillin says:

      10:15am | 15/02/13


      What made you think the tears were genuine?

      Lemon juice or onions will do the trick!

    • fml says:

      10:54am | 15/02/13

      Just have a drink, Chrissie Swan would!

    • Shane says:

      01:14pm | 15/02/13

      I don’t smoke or drink, nor am I pregnant. But if I were, I would smoke and drink every time I went out in public. On principle.

    • Sickemrex says:

      02:16pm | 15/02/13

      If only I was coordinated enough to drink, smoke AND breastfeed in public!

    • gof says:

      07:00am | 15/02/13

      I have to ask what’s the beer of choice for LNP supporters? anything Bitter?

    • wakeuppls says:

      07:44am | 15/02/13

      I have to ask why you come onto an apolitical article and make a political comment when there are probably millions of political forums out there to troll?

    • Modern Primitive says:

      08:56am | 15/02/13

      Nothing domestic at any rate, all imports.

    • Chillin says:

      09:11am | 15/02/13

      Bitter - SWEET later this year.

    • gof says:

      09:39am | 15/02/13

      “Bitter - SWEET later this year.”
      Sounds sickly, hope you like the taste!
      Have tried Abbott’s Ale?
      It’s a blend of no hops, no barley, no yeast and distilled from dirty water but geez the LNP supporters scull it down.

    • Chillin says:

      09:57am | 15/02/13

      There will be no hops tax under a government I lead?

    • gobsmack says:

      10:00am | 15/02/13

      CUB no longer manufactures Abbot’s Lager.

    • gobsmack says:

      02:53pm | 15/02/13

      Is Swan Brewery still going?

    • AdamC says:

      03:27pm | 15/02/13

      Gobsmack, actually, I understand that Fosters’ new owner plans to resurrect some of those historic brands in an attempt to take on the growing craft brews.

      Gof, are you secretly a Coalition staffer lampooning Labor spambots? That would at least make sense. Don’t worry, though, I woudn’t want you to blow your cover.

    • Sickemrex says:

      04:11pm | 15/02/13

      As mentioned, I’m currently off the piss at the moment. I’m also deeply unimpressed with both parties at the moment so can’t comment from the perspective of an LNP supporter. But if you’re a bitter fan, I highly recommend Burleigh Brewing’s My Wife’s Bitter. Mmm mmm good, and such a funny name.

    • Chillin says:

      07:06am | 15/02/13

      Wow a national pitch for sponsors through the mainstream media.  Couldn’t do that on your own either.

    • Emma says:

      07:22am | 15/02/13

      I never had much understanding for addictions or people using whatever to escape their sad reality. But two days ago my relationship ended. I took two days off, but today is my first to sit in the office, just trying to keep it together with the help of beautiful, creatively obtained prescription medicine. And I am eternally grateful for how it allows my poor little head a rest from all those emotions. I usually consider myself very professional and I keep personal things personal and away from work. So there is no way I would allow myself to show anything at work or lose it. I just hope the day is over soon and noone notices that I my head is completely empty. I think I will be more kind next time I meet someone that needs a little more than personal strength to function.

    • MOdern Primitive says:

      08:57am | 15/02/13

      >or people using whatever to escape their sad reality.

      Or enhance an awesome one.

    • dweezy2176 says:

      08:03am | 15/02/13

      I’m an alcoholic and haven’t had a drink for 33 years and your bleating about 1 month? get over it, get drunk!

    • Zeta says:

      08:54am | 15/02/13

      I was thrilled to learn Maker’s Mark have lowered their alcohol content this week. I’ve been looking for a breakfast bourbon for some time and this really hits the spot.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      08:59am | 15/02/13

      Breakfast bourbon? Really? I mean, you’re that desperate for bourbon that you drink it in the morning?

      Swine, rum is for breakfast time.

    • Fruits & cereal says:

      09:17am | 15/02/13

      Rum, are you mad? That would make you angry for the day. A strawberry or banana liqueur on the cereal is the nicest way to start.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      09:29am | 15/02/13

      Wine?  No.  Gin.  Are you telling me you don’t sit at the breakfast table sipping a martini in a dinner suit?

      Oh, and not drinking is not that hard.  You just don’t drink.  I’m not drinking at the moment because it slows my run times down the next day.

    • Chillin says:

      10:02am | 15/02/13

      Rum and milk!

      Precisely Tim, better to get on the wagon when you are running (especially for the big one).

    • Stormageddon says:

      10:30am | 15/02/13

      Kahlua & milk on coco pops, just like a chocolate milkshake only alcoholic!

    • Baloo says:

      11:25am | 15/02/13

      Why do the words breakfast and bourbon fit so well together?

    • AJ in Perth says:

      02:17pm | 15/02/13

      “Why do the words breakfast and bourbon fit so well together?”

      for the same reason tequila and toast do?

    • boontang says:

      10:54am | 15/02/13

      Oh my god nobody cares

    • Baloo says:

      11:23am | 15/02/13

      Like you know what everyone is thinking.

    • Katie says:

      12:55pm | 15/02/13

      It’s… the 15th of February. You’ve gone a total of 2 weeks without a drink… and this is hard?

      I really hope this emphasises that you have a problem. I can’t imagine most people are as bad as you, but then, I don’t really have friends who rely on alcahol to get them through the day.

      I suppose I can sort of emphasise. 2 weeks without a biscuit sounds pretty awful, I guess. But seriously, you sound like you have a major problem.

    • wakeuppls says:

      01:07pm | 15/02/13

      Irony comment of the day.

    • Andrew says:

      01:17pm | 15/02/13

      The power of the booze!  Better to not let it get control over your life in the first place, but if you do the struggle for freedom is worth it.

    • sunny says:

      02:18pm | 15/02/13

      Oh it’s THIS February?! I thought it was NEXT February.
      Ah well too late to start now I guess but on the bright side it gives me 12 months to get a run up for Febfast 2014. I’m locked in, absolutely. Bring it on!

    • Dick says:

      02:58pm | 15/02/13

      Try for Dry July, it’s only 4 months away.

    • AJ in Perth says:

      03:28pm | 15/02/13


      they say practise makes perfect, like the guy that couldn’t believe he lost the hot dog eating competition after practicing eating hot dogs the whole morning before the comp!

      so I don’t think we’ll be reading the same sad story about your journey, hey?

    • cookie says:

      03:46pm | 15/02/13

      4 months wouldn’t be long enough to prepare. You have to find all those recipies that use booze then learn how to undercook them so you don’t burn up all the acohol whilst not making anyone sick.

    • sunny says:

      05:33pm | 15/02/13

      Dick - I don’t think that’s enough time to prepare - but I might be up for Sober-October!

      AJ - “practise makes perfect” - I get plenty of booze-free hours of practice in the lead up to 12pm. But now that you mention it I do feel like a hotdog - with cheese and chilli sauce, cheers smile

      cookie - thanks for the tip, I’ll start with vodka chilli sauce.

      pa_kelvin (if you’re there) how’s that one eh?
      Vodka Chilli Sauce TM
      “Put it on your chops and it’ll get you off your chops!”

    • JD says:

      03:51pm | 15/02/13

      Nah, nah, next Feburary will do.

      Or should that be FeBREWary? Eh? Eh?

    • Shorty says:

      06:10pm | 15/02/13

      Is it bad that I read “my second full-length one-hour show” as “my second full-strength one-hour show”?
      I think I need a drink.


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