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On Addiction, Recovery & Achieving Happiness Through Service

By November 18, 2013May 24th, 201921 Comments

If you know my story, you know it involves a descent into alcoholism, followed by a hard fought battle to achieve and maintain sobriety. Recovery saved my life, straight up, no exaggeration.  To this day it remains — and will always remain — my number one priority.

I don’t talk it about it often on the podcast, but I think it’s an important subject to raise and discuss, particularly as we head into the holidays — an acutely perilous time for the millions who, alone, isolated and ashamed, privately battle these demons.

Meet Khalil Rafati, founder of Sunlife Organics— friend, fellow recovery warrior and amazing living example of the profound resiliency of the human body, mind and spirit.  Not only has Khalil overcome unimaginable obstacles to survive, he has defied all odds and miraculously repaired his life wholesale.  A soul now devoted to the service of others, his primary focus on giving back what was so freely given him.

Prepare to have your mind blown.

Khalil’s tale is nothing short of astounding.  From the depths of absolute despair, homeless & hopelessly gripped by heroin addiction, Khalil was hell bent on dying.  And yet somehow, by way of a grace outside himself, Khalil came out the other side.  Not just intact, but repaired.  He didn’t just find sobriety.  He found his true life purpose.

Today I am so proud to share my friend’s journey.  Behind all the raw intensity and earnest honesty and vulnerability, it is a story I think we can all celebrate.  A story of the impossible.  And at its heart, the story of true redemptive power of the human condition.

Open your mind and heart and let Khalil inspire you.  I can guarantee that after listening to this profound and at times extremely intense conversation, you will understand that all the illusory excuses that imprison and prevent you from growth, health and self-actualization will seem trivial.

For those that are suffering, this one’s for you.  Please know that all is not lost.  There is a solution. And there is hope.  Always hope.

NOTE: In addition to the extreme intensity of the subject matter discussed, this episode also contains a few instances of explicit language.  So if you’re listening with the wee ones or at work, pop in the ear buds.  Nothing to crazy, just a head’s up for the more sensitive members of the audience.

And should you find yourself in Los Angeles, do me a solid.  Drop by one of Khalil’s Sunlife Organics juice bars (on Pt. Dume in Malibu and in Thousand Oaks at The Lakes), order a green juice (or the Wolverine smoothie — my favorite) and give Khalil a high five.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the show.  I’m really proud of this one.


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Thanks for listening and thanks for the support!


  • Wendy LaPointe says:

    Finished up the podcast on my morning commute and you were right, mind blown. Khalil’s journey through such dark times and his ensuing recovery and success certainly read like a Hollywood story. But reduced to the message, I hear that he, too, is a man of service. Sure he is self-depreciating and honest in suggesting his motivations are not because he’s just a good guy, but he IS a good guy, a very good guy. He has so much gratitude for what he has and is “paying it forward.” I definitely had my spiritual/humanist (insert your word of choice) cup filled listening to Khalil. Thanks so much.

  • Rick says:

    There seems to be a delay in the podcasts going up on iTunes. Is that the case or is it just me?

  • richroll66 says:

    Hi Rick. A few people seem to be having issues with this. I have double-checked everything in my workflow and all is fine and loading properly on my itunes and podcast app. However, you are not alone. It seems the issue is that for some bizarre reason, a few of the latest episodes somehow have been incorrectly dated year 2000, so they are showing up at the bottom. Only solution I can currently find is to locate those episodes, delete them, then close / refresh / reboot your iTunes or podcast app and try to reload – this should work. All episodes coming up correctly on my end but I will continue to try to figure out where the problem is – let me know if this works (or doesn’t) as it will be helpful in my identifying the problem so I can make sure it gets properly resolved. Anyway, thanks for letting me know!

  • richroll66 says:

    If you go to the show’s direct url link on itunes, all the current shows do come up properly:

    And see attached screen grab. If anyone else out there is having issues locating the episode on iTunes please let me know. I will solve this problem!!

  • Ashton Hines says:

    Easily one of the best interviews yet. Your theory on food seems to play out in interviews as well. Unfiltered, unprocessed, raw people have the most value to add to my life. Thanks for seeking them out and in Khalil’s case letting him seek you.

  • Dave Ball says:

    I’ve listened to all of Rich’s podcasts over the last year or so, and I think this is one of the most powerful. Khalil has an amazing story, and Rich manages to expertly guide the conversation as well as ever. Rich – you should be justifiably proud of this podcast, and the movement you are helping to spearhead, and Khalil thank you for being so candid and inspiring.

  • richroll66 says:

    Apparently inspiring people on my podcast and helping countless other achieve sobriety isn’t enough for Khalil. Yesterday he just had to go foil a bank robbery. Now you’re just making us all look bad Khalil!

  • mpurcell24 says:

    Great podcast, I am almost done listening, very powerful stuff!!

  • mpurcell24 says:

    the power…when you think that is about it, God will double it, I need some of his mojo….thx for the update

  • mpurcell24 says:

    fyi, the Sunlife Organics link doesn’t work

  • JasonRH says:

    That’s incredible, amazing guy. Another very inspiring podcast episode. Did Khalil have a copy of ‘Finding Ultra’ in his hand while he foiled the robbery?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Rich, I have trouble with your podcasts too. I haven’t been able to refresh your show since November 5. I just realized this week that you had new shows available when I went to the iTunes store and checked directly there. Your “station” is the only one I have trouble with. All other podcasts refresh and load new episodes with no problem. Maybe it’s not loading your new shows because of the date issue you mentioned above. I have it set to load only new episodes (because I’ve already listed to every other show :). Just wanted to let you know. BTW, I absolutely loved your interviews with Chef AJ (I could listen to her talk all day) and Khalil. So inspiring! I really enjoyed your holiday talk with Julie too. Thanks for all you do.

  • Sayed Khwaja says:

    Thank you Rich! You’ve outdone yourself again. Was listening while training outdoors in the cold and was so awestruck by Khalil’s moment of inspiration I was gasping for air and my eyes welled up with tears. It reminded me of my own moment of deep spiritual unveiling during my Hajj journey last month. I am not very religious but feel very spiritually connected. I feel God is everywhere and no matter if you follow a religion or not I believe he answers if you reach out with sincerity and ask for guidance. Thank you again for the numerous valuable pearls imbedded in each one of your podcasts.

  • Sean says:

    One of your best podcast episodes so far! Great stuff

  • Monique says:

    Oh my gosh, SUCH an inspiring story. Amazing! Rich, it was worth chasing Khalil for many months to get this story on air. Thanks to you both for an amazing episode.

  • ronhines says:

    Great podcast Rich. Khalil, you are an amazing person and I can’t wait to read your book.

  • Zack Maddox says:

    Once again this podcast is proof that Rich Roll is the best interviewer in the business. Khalil Rafati is inspiring. I’d love to hear him, John Joseph, and Mishka Shubaly together on the RRP.

  • staceys says:

    yes. I agree on all accounts. that would be epic.

  • Ginette Smiler Sear says:

    Really inspiring. Can relate to a lot here. Every second of every day provides us with a chance to improve our lives and of those around us. No matter how far we fall, there’s always a way back up! 🙂

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