I have a soft spot for tales of redemption. But today’s version is like no other. An arc so surreal and cinematic, it will leave you believing that life indeed imitates art—and truly anything is possible.
Drug trafficker and kidnapper. Alcoholic and addict. Gang member. International criminal turned sober screen star.
Let’s just say Richie Stephens’ story is a real-life Barry situation.
Cutting an epic path of destruction in his wake, it’s a classic addiction yarn. A man who desperately tried to escape his problems (and himself) only to compound his demise with ever more violence, crime, drugs, and alcohol until he was broken utterly alone. A dead-end. Just him, his despair, and a loaded pistol, cocked to his temple.
But Richie didn’t take his life that day. Instead, he reached out for help. In so doing, he found more than just sobriety. He found community. He found purpose. He found himself. And what came next is almost as unbelievable as the tale that precedes it—a career as an actor in Hollywood.
In his new book, The Gangster’s Guide to Sobriety, Richie chronicles his descent into the abyss and the redemptive slog that followed. It’s a tale so absurd and darkly comic, it’s currently being developed for television by the creators of the hit show ‘Silicon Valley’.
Prepare for one helluva ride.
“No matter how bad things are, they can always be fixed. The help is there. You just have to raise your hand and take it.”
– RICHIE STEPHENS
Today we play ‘what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now’—in classic Irish brogue.
Throughout my own journey in sobriety, I’ve met my fair share of colorful characters and have enjoyed the privilege of seeing lives radically transformed. Richie happens to be one of those lives. Although our friendship has spanned a decade, even I could not have predicted the stunning, remarkable arc of this man’s journey.
I applaud the dedication Richie undertook to overhaul his life wholesale. His selfless commitment to service—he’s a man who anonymously helps some of the hardest, most discarded, down on their luck folks you can possibly imagine—and the raw honesty he demonstrates in this conversation.
Heads Up: This conversation is packed with expletives, profanity, and tales of violence. So just an alert that this episode is neither family-friendly nor workplace approved. So pop on the earbuds if you got kiddos in the backseat. And If you’re easily offended, perhaps this one isn’t your cup of tea.
Chock-a-block with wall-to-wall stories that will blow your hair back, this conversation will make you realize that if Richie could go from where he was to where he is today, truly anything is possible.
Peace + Plants,
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- Connect with Richie: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
- Book: The Gangster’s Guide to Sobriety
- IMDb: Richie Stephens
- Irish Mirror: Irish gangster turns life around and takes on Hollywood
- Variety: Irish Gangster Who Became an ‘NCIS’ Actor Is Adapting His Life Story for TV With ‘Silicon Valley’ Co-Creators
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