Ditching the grog for the month of February

LEE Kennedy has quit coffee and alcohol in an effort to raise awareness about youth substance misuse and addiction.

Mr Kennedy is a mental health nurse with a specialty in youth dual diagnosis and addiction.

"I'm participating in FebFast," he said.

"I've given up alcohol and coffee for the month - it's been two weeks and it's going well.

"I had a wedding the first weekend so that was an interesting one because I've been to quite a few weddings in the last few years but I've never driven home at the end of one.

"But that was good."

Mr Kennedy works for the Youth Support and Advocacy Service - the driving force behind the FebFast initiative.

"In capital cities it's really well represented and supported by a lot of sporting people, identities and celebrities and so forth," he said.

"But there's not really much awareness of it in the regional areas so I thought I'd get the word out there so people in the Bendigo community know what we're doing and why we're doing it.

"It's sort of like the old 40-hour famine where someone would do it and then you'd get sponsorship and things like that.

"The money that we raise goes directly to help services keep going because there's always a battle for funding."

City of Greater Bendigo mayor Barry Lyons has thrown his support behind the cause.

"I've raised about $100 so far," Mr Kennedy said.

"For people who nominate to do it it's really good for them to get the health benefits but to also get a bit of an understanding about what it's like to try and remain abstinent from a substance."

According to the FebFast website at www.febfast.org.au, the initiative is designed to give people the opportunity to reflect, change and break existing routines that inhibit wellness.

People can give up things alcohol, sugar or caffeine. 

If you're taking part in FebFast contact hannah.knight@fairfax.com.au and share your story.

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