Isuarsivik challenging Nunavimmiut to go alcohol free in February

Region-wide Pingngupaa sobriety challenge registration closes Friday

Participants from last year’s Pingngupaa, or Nunavik sobriety challenge, are seen here. Registration for the February challenge closes Jan. 20. (Photo courtesy of Isuarsivik)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

More than 800 Nunavimmiut have taken on Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre’s annual challenge over the past five years to take a break from alcohol during the month of February.

The Pingngupaa Challenge — which roughly translates to “tired of consuming” — is set to return for its sixth edition next month.

The goal is to offer people the chance to find the incentive and discipline to take a break from alcohol, even if it’s just temporary, said George Kauki, Isuarsivik’s Inuit values and practices co-ordinator.

“Some people want to take that one-month break for their families,” Kauki said in an interview with Nunatsiaq News.

Throughout February, participants will be able to join in various activities, online and in their communities. Kauki said registered participants will be notified by Isuarsivik staff and on social media when events are happening.

In addition to sobriety, Kauki said Pingngupaa is a fundraising opportunity for Isuarsivik.

Donations have supported construction of Isuarsivik’s new centre, as well as helped to purchase other equipment and resources the organization might need.

Last year’s challenge raised $45,000 and included more than 220 participants, according to Isuarsivik’s website.

As well, there are prizes up for grabs, including flight tickets, for those who make it to the end of the month.

“These funds help Nunavimmiut,” Kauki said. “Every year, Pingngupaa participants from Nunavik and beyond are motivated by the desire to help raise funds for the cause of recovery.”

Kauki said he hopes the challenge has an impact beyond the shortest month of the year.

He said he’s met people who have either quit drinking or significantly cut back after finding the encouragement to take a four-week break.

“I’ve seen and heard stories that people started off with the Pingngupaa Challenge and just continued on throughout their life to stay sober, to make that choice of abstaining from alcohol, and it’s helped them tremendously,” he said.

“We hope this challenge will help spark more community mobilization to create different programs, too, for themselves.”

Other Nunavik communities hold their own local sobriety challenges at different times of the year. For example, dozens of people in Puvirnituq took on a local challenge to stay sober for a month in 2022 between November and December.

People hoping to participate in Pingngupaa have until Jan. 20 to register on Isuarsivik’s website.

There is also a private Facebook group where challenge participants can communicate and receive updates on the events.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Just saying on

    This sounds an awful lot like the well-known “Dry Feb” challenge

  2. Posted by The best is maybe less on

    This is an example of isuarsivik, get dry for a month. Do Nunavik really need isuarsivik to tell people to try alcohol free for a month. I’m telling you now, that’s the isuarsivik guts and soul. That 40 million dollars worth just in that article. Isuarsivik is not only a waste of money , that could be spent to help lots of other areas of Nunavik, but isuarsivik is also an insult , look at the history, and convince me of the future.

    • Posted by you are on

      You’re clearly lost and angry for some reasons. Isuarsivik is welcomed here.

      • Posted by Beer and wine welcome to on

        Yes, lots of welcoming mats laid out to lead the blind into the rightful spots of life. The coop stores of Pov and kuujjuaq has done that very well, along with another new addition in kuujjuaq. Like what a mess. One new mess to try to clean up the mess of life that’s got you good and won’t let go. Welcome .

  3. Posted by Thousand word picture on

    The picture of 4 females tells the story of isuarsivik. The female enters the program all the while the male goes to jail for assaulting the same female. Isuarsivik then takes in the male half way through his jail term in a deal with the defence and prosecutors. It’s the same old record played over and over. Not only that , but the same people also.

    • Posted by Kuujjuamiuk on

      I know of 3 people , who were given a choice of jail or rehab , they all chose rehab. Rehab is a lot better then jail , food is a lot better , i kow , i was in St. Jerome , thursdays were white fish for lunch , not one of the 30 people in our wing ate it.

      • Posted by That’s the size of isuarsivik offers on

        Thanks for sharing your story about rehab or jail. As long as that is a story, it will be the story that the treatment Center uses to justify its operations. And along with that, it’s also the story of why the treatment programs never worked , and will never ever work. You can’t have people put into treatment in lieu of going to jail, any fool knows it’s good desserts and the meals are better than jail. If there’s no motivation other than the choice of rehabilitation of incarceration , it spells a continuous failure for this new isuarsivik. Nothing has changed , so therefore nothing changes, don’t get too excited about it, it’s fooling you over and over. And not only that , it’s simply no good for the Nunavik population.

  4. Posted by Fake message on

    How low, take a break for one month for your family ? What the hell . What about people who are caring about their families as a ongoing life event ? What are those people supposed to do, feel sorry for the low life who cares about their family month on month off, like once every February, this making people sick, those who care. Sick people .

  5. Posted by Stephen C on

    Accentuate (put emphasis on) the positive, things will get better.

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