In Conversation with No Beers? Who Cares! Claire Robbie & Social Justice Campaigner Richie Hardcore

Yoga teacher and No Beers? Who Cares! founder Claire Robbie and martial arts trainer/social justice campaigner Richie Hardcore spill their secrets to clean living over a Dilmah tea-inspired mocktail


SPONSORED
Photo / Doug Sherring

On how they met
Claire: We met at a friend’s birthday but both had partners at the time. Then over a year later Richie got in touch with me when I was starting No Beers? Who Cares! to see if he could help. It was a very intense conversation about making sure the people I was approaching as ambassadors took the role seriously (laughs). I learned pretty quickly that intense conversations are standard Richie.

Richie: Ha-ha, yeah, I’m not especially good at small talk. I saw Claire had started NBWC and I thought it was cool. I wanted to help in any way that I could I guess, so I sent her a message on Facebook and we got to chatting.

On mutual admiration: 
Claire: The moment I heard Richie speak at one of our first mixers last year was the moment I literally started to fall in love with him. He has an ability to charm a room and also scatter some pretty hard-hitting, confronting issues in without sounding judgmental or harsh. You can tell it’s when he’s in a state of flow and it’s amazing to watch.

Richie: Claire’s super passionate and brave; I really admire how she puts herself out there and dares to be different about something such as alcohol in a culture that always pressures us to conform. She goes about things in a gentle and peaceful way that I guess both challenges and compliments my perhaps more brash sometimes haphazard style.

Photo / Doug Sherring

On No Beers? Who Cares!
Claire: We want NBWC to be a platform for people to shift habits around drinking; our events are all about connection and community. Booze and drinking culture are literally everywhere — but I also believe as more initiatives like ours pop up, this will change. There’s a huge demand for sober events and activities that don’t revolve around alcohol because people are realising that they don’t have to drink to have a good time.

Richie: NBWC is Claire’s brainchild; I give all credit to her for the hard work it’s taken to get it off the ground. Even before I quit drinking 11 years ago, I’ve long had a problem with our alco-centric culture. I was never a problem drinker myself but I grew up in West Auckland and all my friends were heavy drinkers before I discovered the Straight Edge scene. I always thought it was whack that you had to constantly explain and defend yourself for not drinking or even drinking sensibly. Now I see this more adult counter cultural scene emerging, providing a space that allows people to ease into living without the crutch booze can be.

I used to work for the Ministry of Health around alcohol and drug harm prevention, and I know the facts and figures about the industries behind keeping that status quo in place, despite the harm and broken hearts and drama that can come from problem drinking. What I love about NBWC is that it’s a positive and fun way to help change that culture. It’s not making people feel bad or guilty — it’s just showing that hey, you can connect with yourself and others without alcohol.

On how to start stopping
Claire: First and foremost, we never get anywhere by thinking we’re doing anything ‘wrong’. Lasting behavioural change comes from consistent daily practices and small steps in the right direction. As a meditator and meditation coach I’ve also seen first-hand the power of meditation to shift unconscious habits and behaviour. It’s also helpful to be around likeminded and supportive people. Having a favourite non-alcoholic drink helps too.

Richie: People who want to change their drinking need to ask themselves why they are using alcohol in the first place. What started out as something we use for socialisation, often because everyone else is doing it, often becomes a coping mechanism as life goes on. So figuring out what’s behind the behaviour is essential to changing it.

Photo / Doug Sherring

On the benefits of drinking tea over booze
Claire: You don’t become ‘someone else’ when you drink a cup of tea. The connection is real and doesn’t deteriorate. Our events have a really amazing vibe as everyone is on the same page. You also stay hydrated!

Richie: In my experience, you actually have to have some genuine conversations when you’re sober. You have to learn to negotiate awkward pauses. You have to learn to understand yourself and what’s important to you and you bond with people over shared ideas, values and experiences, rather than the superficial bonding that often comes through going out for a drink.

In The Drink
Calling all tea-totallers (pun intended), this one’s for you. Be inspired by the aromatic flavours of Dilmah’s range of teas to inform your next alcohol-free tipple. From the refreshing notes of tangerine and rose, or traditional breakfast teas, this bespoke mocktail created by Giraffe restaurant is as flavoursome as it is sure not to result in a next-day headache.

BREAKFASTEANI

Ingredients:

Dilmah Ceylon Breakfast Tea
A squeeze of half lime
A dash of elderflower syrup
A splash of apple juice
A dash of rose water

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, stir then strain in a martini glass
  2. Serve straight up

Photo / Doug Sherring

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