Kim Richards has a new lifestyle and she's feeling "amazing."
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star has had her share of ups and downs over the years, but now she's opening up about her recovery and staying sober in an exclusive interview with E! News. To help maintain her sobriety, Richards has turned to Skydog Ranch, a non-profit organization that provides a rescue home to at-risk mustang horses in America, providing sanctuary for horses that have wound up in kill pens, at auction, or being neglected, starved, or abused. Skydog gives volunteer opportunities to people who are in the process of recovery, like Richards.
Skydog's owner Clare Staples has even become Richards' mentor and sponsor since their initial meeting and has helped Richards on her road to recovery. In the interview below, Richards explains how going to Skydog has helped in her recovery process, reveals if her family has been to the ranch and more!
E! News: Tell us about your experience at Skydog and what it has done for you.
Kim Richards: When I'm here and when I leave here, I feel, I can't describe it. When I'm here, I'm in it. I feel amazing. The horses make me feel so good. I feel like I'm a part of something so huge and I know I'm making a difference. It's such a big picture of what's happening and the changes happening and how they (the animals here) make me feel. There are no words to describe how I feel when I'm with the horses. When I leave here, it's like I'm in another world. I get this incredible feeling and I can't wait to come back.
Clare Staples: It's not even just the volunteering that Kim is doing here, she's so invested into it that she will literally call me at 9 p.m. and be like, "I just thought of this idea to raise awareness or we could do this and that." And she's always so creative and enthusiastic. She's thought about making a western clothing line and I'm just like, "You're thinking about that at 9 p.m. at night?" She's always thinking of how to fundraise and ways to promote. She has a family and a new grandson and plenty of other things that she could be out doing instead of coming here and scooping up horse poop.
E! News: How has coming here helped you with your recovery process and staying sober?
KR: A lot. My recovery has been amazing and I love how I feel. This has been a huge part of it and has helped me a lot. The Sanctuary keeps me grounded and keeps me at peace and it's healthy for me. It's been amazing for me and me coming here has really been a major part of keeping me sober. I think the other part of it has been having my grandson this year. That's been a big part of my recovery process as well. Between working here with Clare and the horses and my family they've kept me grounded- how much healthier could I get?!
CS: I think those are the things you need to pick up in sobriety. There's a certain amount of replacement therapy. When you're changing your life to that extreme, you need to replace the addiction with somewhat of a new lifestyle. With Kim, she'll show up here first thing in the morning. I think knowing that she's coming here gives her a purpose and a reason to wake up every morning.
KR: This new lifestyle of mine does not fit in with the old lifestyle (laughs) and this new lifestyle is beautiful and this place has been a huge part of my sobriety and my recovery process. Honestly, my sobriety kind of came with it- with spending so much time here. It just happened naturally.
CS: I don't think that's coincidence either. The two things go hand and hand. You threw yourself into that and I don't think that it suddenly came along. This was definitely the right thing that came along at the right time for Kim. It feels to me that this place healed your soul.
KR: Yeah, I found something healthy and beautiful to put myself in to, which doesn't leave much room for the negative stuff. This has 100 percent been very therapeutic for me. Being here helps me get out of my head. When you're constantly hands-on with something so beautiful and you're so busy with it there really isn't any time for negativity and bullshit. I just come in everyday and ride my horse.
E! News: Has your family been supportive? Have your kids or sisters come to visit you during your time here?
KR: Well, my one daughter just had her baby and he'll be one next month. The kids haven't made it out here to the ranch, Kimberly has been here but Brooke and Whitney have not. They definitely will though. My daughter Kimberly and my son Chad have been here. My older girls have not and actually I'm working on a little something- I am planning a fundraiser here and planning to get my family involved. Let's just say someone in my family will be singing wink wink and someone else from the family will be planning it so the whole family will be there for that. Something big is happening!
E! News: How long have you been coming?
KR: A year and a half but Clare and I knew each other a little before that.
E! News: What kind of transformation have you seen in Kim since you've known her and she started coming to the Sanctuary?
CS: I think her energy has changed a lot. She's a lot quieter and calmer. Not that I ever saw Kim do anything crazy or like the sort of crazy stuff that the show highlighted. She'll get very excitable about things which is a really great quality, but when she comes here there's a sort of calmness and grace to her. She's doing something beautiful and it's really amazing to watch. She knows the horses and she feels confident around them. The way she can handle a horse kind of translates into her life because she was always running herself ragged for other people and in a way it's taught her to set boundaries. I think that she's definitely found her voice here. She speaks up a lot more. She's found herself and her values.
KR: I definitely think this has given me a sense of confidence that I didn't have.
E! News: Do you feel like you've found yourself?
KR: I do, you can't not find yourself here with the horses and the animals. There is something about it and it gives me self-confidence and self-worth because sometimes people lose themselves and coming here gives me that self-confidence and self-worth that for a long time I thought I lost. Going through sobriety and being a part of this gives you back a huge piece of who you are. I've been given back that piece and I am Kim now. It feels amazing. Honestly, seeing these horses transform and feel love and watching them feel safe and happy- there's not a feeling like it. To see the horses come in so scared and then months later see them be happy and feel loved and come over to me, there's no feeling in the world like it. Every day that I'm here and every time I see them, they come to me and they feel good and I feel good and there's just something between us and it makes me want to be here again and again and it makes me want to do more and help out more. It's just the most amazing feeling and I want to enlighten the world on it.
E! News: What specifically has helped you maintain your sobriety? Is there anything else that has helped you with your recovery?
KR: Being a part of Skydog and Clare coming into my life, oh my gosh I'm going to cry, has probably been one of the most amazing things. She's my best friend and I love her so much. She's really been so helpful through it all. And also I have four amazing kids and having my grandson come into my life this last year has changed by world. He has lit up my life. My kids- I still enjoy being a mother as much as I did the day they were born. I still have so much fun with my kids. My daughter is married as you know and each of my kids has a significant other that makes them very happy. To me, seeing my kids have these amazing people in their life, we just went on a family trip together and to see all my kids with somebody special in their life is so rewarding. It's so rewarding to see each of them with people who they love so much and having people love them back. Seeing my grandson and seeing all my kids with their significant other is so much fun. And for me to have this amazing life here with these horses, I feel complete. I really do. I have amazing friends, I have these amazing kids and their significant others and my grandson. I know that God has more out there for me but my life is so good today. It really is, I just want to share that last part about how I feel- life is good today. Between my children, my friends, my grandson, my life here, I just feel very blessed and very grateful.
CS: We are lucky to have people like Kim Richards come up to the Sanctuary, this is a side of Kim that people don't know.