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Addiction, Wellness & How To Get 1% Better Every Day with Khalil Rafati

Khalil Rafati on Addiction, Wellness & How To Get 1% Better Every Day

Just SO excited for my friend Khalil to be on the blog today.

He is fun, witty, thoughtful ( recently gifted me the most amazing crystal I’d been wanting ), SO generous, & one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. His story is out of this world.

He was 33 years old, weighed 109 pounds, & was living homeless on the streets of Skid Row in Downtown LA. He was addicted to heroin & cocaine and was literally on the brink of death. Before his addiction took over, Khalil was very well connected. He worked for the estate of Elizabeth Taylor & had connections with some of Hollywood’s most elite including Guns & Roses & Anthony Keidis.

Now, Khalil is completely sober, looks like a completely different person & is the founder & owner of the wildly popular fresh juice, food, & clean living franchise Sunlife Organics, Riviera Recovery, & Malibu Beach Yoga. Plus, he is the author of 2 books, I Forgot to Die &  Remembering to Live

But like, you guys HAVE to listen to his podcast episodes. His story is incredible. He has been on the podcast 3 times. If you haven’t listened, be sure to here, here & here.  He has the most incredible story & has literally crawled out of hell to become the most amazing man, friend, & entrepreneur. Since he moved to Austin we’ve gotten to see him a lot more & he has become one of my & Michael’s best friends.

With that, let’s welcome Khalil to the blog.

Addiction, Wellness & How To Get 1% Better Every Day with Khalil Rafati

Introduce yourself to The Skinny Confidential audience. We want to know everything!

Khalil Rafati: My name is Khalil Rafati. I am the founder of Sunlife Organics, the founder of Riviera Recovery, & the founder of Malibu Beach Yoga. I’m also the author of the best selling novel I Forgot to Die, & my newest book Remembering to Live. I have two cats named Krishna & Nietzsche. I’m a recovered drug addict turned health fanatic. I am really into fitness & health & wellness alike. I do my best to stay present, be here now, live my life one day at a time, & stay focused on the moment that I am.

What does 1% better every day mean?

KR: I borrowed the 1% better ideology from the Japanese philosophy of kaizen, which simply means “improvement.” 1% better is essentially the act of making tiny, incremental changes consistently on a daily basis & then practicing those changes over a sustained period of time, bringing about monumental results.

I started practicing getting 1% better every day in the very beginning of my journey to recovery 18 years ago. The idea of never drinking or getting high again seemed like an insurmountable task. The very thought of it made me feel dread. I just couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life without drinking or doing drugs. I thought my life was going to suck; And I thought my life was going to be boring. Boy was I fucking wrong.

Khalil Rafati Sunlife Organics

How do you structure your mornings?

KR: I stay consistent. I get up really early, like 5:30 am. My body wakes up without an alarm clock. This habit is ingrained in me so deeply that even if I go to bed later, which I rarely do, my eyes still open up right around 5:30am. Starting out that early takes any pressure off of me in terms of what I want to get done in the morning. This means that I can go for a nice long walk, hit the sauna &/or ice tub in my backyard, meditate, & practice an assortment of bio-hacking activities. Or, I can just piddle around the house & waste a bunch of time on social media although I really try to shy away from doing that.

The point is when you get up that early in the morning you can do a combination of all of those things & still have enough time in your day to get everything else done.

How do you structure your evenings?

KR: I’m very selfish about my time. Since I often give my time away freely throughout the day, once 5 pm hits, I pretty much say “no” to anything other than alone time or time spent with my girlfriend. I love to watch documentaries but I also love to watch mind-numbing, ridiculous TV shows like The Real Housewives of New Jersey; I like watching shit that I can just totally not have to think about & just laugh & not be so consumed with all of my tasks & dreams & goals & aspirations. Then I usually go to bed around 9 pm, or 9:30 pm at the latest.

What are some tools you used to overcome addiction?

KR: Exercise & nutrition would be the top two tools that I utilize the most on a daily basis. Doing a walking gratitude list is really really effective. I pray a lot. I pray throughout the day & usually before each meal as well. And I surround myself with people who are awesome; & I’m not just saying this because it’s on Lauryn’s blog, but Lauryn is one of my best friends & we talk & text a lot, most times daily.

We go on hikes together & we support one another. It’s people like Lauryn & Michael, who I have a separate relationship with, that I hold close to my vest. These are the people that are going to be there for me no matter what, not just during the great times but also when shit hits the fan. When I was going through some personal shit two years ago & my mother was dying, Lauryn & Michael were the first people to call me & offer assistance of any kind. They were both so supportive in their own unique way.

Michael is a guy; it’s important for me to have guy friends in my life so we can talk about guy stuff. And Lauryn is a woman. She’s maternal. She’s a goddess. I love joking with her & flirting with her & complimenting her. Michael is incredibly understanding of my infatuation with his wife. Not only does he just accept it but he actually encourages it. It’s a pretty fucking amazing feeling to be surrounded by such incredible, successful, & confident people. So yeah, I surround myself with great people, I read a lot of positive & spiritually uplifting literature, & I keep my head in the clouds & my feet on the ground.

What are some wellness practices you swear by?

KR: I love HIIT training workouts, yoga, intermittent fasting, heavy supplementation with vitamins, minerals, superfoods, etc., staying hydrated, & doing my best not to put poison in my body. I avoid wheat & sugar like the fucking plague. I also indulge in daily walks or hikes, dips in my cold-tub, & time in my sauna.

What are some tools in your toolbox that you use to make you a better person?

KR: The number one tool in my toolbox is self-awareness. I know exactly who I am & what I am. I understand my strengths but more importantly I recognize & understand my weaknesses. Self-knowledge is paramount. Authenticity is paramount if one is going to live any type of successful life whatsoever.

Nobody really fools anybody anyway. There’s a lot of truth to that saying, “I can’t hear a word you’re saying because who you are is screaming so loudly.” Just be honest with people – don’t try to bullshit anyone. Give compliments with complete abandonment, but don’t flatter people.

Flattery is gross but compliments are highly, highly underrated & most people don’t do nearly enough complimenting. If you love somebody, tell them you love them. If someone is beautiful, tell them.

Khalil Rafati Sunlife Organics

You recently moved to Austin. What are some positive things you’ve experienced from moving?

KR: Just like the saying goes, you come to Austin for the taxes but you stay for the people. The people & the food are the best I’ve ever experienced in the country. There is so much community here it is almost unbelievable. I feel like I am in some fantastic movie that I never want to end. The changing of the seasons is really cool as well. I love the fall. I love watching all the leaves falling off the trees. It’s a great reminder that this life is transitory & brief.

In living in a place where it’s sunny all the time you begin to delude yourself into believing every day is another dress rehearsal, but it’s not. This is all going to end probably someday soon, or at least way sooner than we think, or want it to end. Watching the seasons change is a beautiful reminder of the impermanence of life as well as the subtle knowledge that life is also eternal at the same time.

What advice would you give someone who feels ‘stuck?’

KR: There’s really no such thing as being stuck. Stuck is really just a state of mind. I mean if you’re in prison, okay then you can convince me that you’re temporarily stuck, but unless you’ve been locked up & all your rights have been taken away from you, you aren’t really stuck. You are just in love with the idea of being stuck, which is just a story that you are telling yourself.

If you truly want to change then make big, giant, bold moves; jump first & ask questions later, & I promise you, you will love the results. The only real sin you can ever commit is living a life of mediocrity. Be fucking awesome. Do awesome shit. BECOME A FUCKING LEGEND. 

If someone out there is using drugs or alcohol to cope with their feelings, what are 3 things they can do right now to better themselves?

KR: They can start by waking up. Nothing great is ever going to come from being numb. I guess if someone close to you just died, or you just got dumped, then of course I encourage you to take some time to grieve. But if you are trying to eliminate the cognitive dissonance inside your head as a result of the delta between where you are & where you want to be, there ain’t no fucking drink or drug that’s going to fix that. Only consistent, small improvements practiced on a daily basis over a sustained period of time are going to give someone a life beyond their wildest dreams.

Drugs & alcohol are comfortable. I get it; I get it more than most. But comfort makes us fucking cowards. Most people stay comfortable their whole life & then they wake up one day & they feel that it is too late. They continue to live out the rest of their life in sad, quiet, broken desperation & regret. Not me man. I am never ever going to be that person.

What’s a book, podcast or resource you recommend? 

KR: I love The Skinny Confidential HIM & HER. I love Joe Rogan. And I really enjoy waking up with Bill Harris. As far as books go, my top five absolute must-reads are Siddhartha, The Alchemist, Think & Grow Rich, A Happy Death, & The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Where can everyone find you? Pimp yourself out! 

KR: People can find me at Sunlife Organics in Austin, TX. I’m there every day, 7 days a week. I’m fucking obsessed. And I’m constantly signing books, making new friends, & tinkering around with new recipes. Yeah, that’s about it. You can follow me on instagram too @khalilrafati

+ for more incredible stories on overcoming addiction, check out this section.

++ listen to Khalil on The Skinny Confidential HIM & HER podcast here.


  1. First off a huge thank you to Lauryn and a Michael for finding Khalil to interview way back on the HIM & HER podcast. Since that original podcast with Khalil I have been obsessed with idea that I too could crawl out of the self abusing addition I had got myself into and find a way to live a sober healthy life one day at a time. Through the years I have had many relapses to be transparent but one thing that has stayed consistent is my want for what Khalil has, a sober life with purpose. Today I am a little over 6 months sober, six full months of me telling myself daily “just one percent better” along with so many other tools that have been giving through the podcasts and the blog posts. Thank you Khalil for living your authentic truth and loving with all your heart. Thank you 💜🦄

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