Health

Former Heroin Addict Starts Million Dollar Juice Business (Photos)

| by Jonathan Constante

A former heroin addict who was living in Los Angeles' Skid Row is now a millionaire after starting a juice company.

Khalil Rafati, 46, was in a much different place 13 years ago. He was a heroin addict who weighed about 106 pounds, the Daily Mail reported. Today, he runs SunLife Organics, a millionaire dollar juice business that he says saved his life.

The Toledo, Ohio, native moved to Los Angeles and started selling sports cars, The New York Times reported. He was a victim of sexual abuse as a child and was looking to start a new life for himself.

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Rafati reportedly sold marijuana on the side and later upgraded to ecstasy and ketamine. One day, he tried heroin and became addicted.

In his memoir, "I Forgot To Die," Rafati said the high of heroin gave him the childhood he always dreamed of having.

Rafati almost died in 2001 after intentionally overdosing on IV heroin during a house party in Malibu. Paramedics were able to save his life.

The following year, Rafati almost lost his life again when armed intruders shot at the door he was hiding behind. He was in the bathroom shooting up drugs at the time.

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In 2003, Rafati said he “reached the bottom of all bottoms.”

“There was no more digging left to do, all of my shovels were broken,” he told The New York Times. “I was done.”

A friend introduced Rafati to “juicing and superfoods.” Rafati said that moment changed his life.

“The results were remarkable and instantaneous,” he told Sober Recovery.

Rafati started making his own juices at Riviera Recovery Center, a sober living house in Malibu he opened in 2007. It was there that he created a drink called the Wolverine, a banana and date concoction that would go on to become SunLife’s signature drink.

“It was meant to rejuvenate and strengthen the patients,” he said. “Lethargy in sobriety is pretty brutal, especially if you're coming off a long run with hard-core drugs.”

Word about Rafati’s juices was starting to spread all throughout Malibu.

“So many outsiders came to Riviera Recovery just to enjoy one of my smoothies,” he said. “It even became a bit embarrassing since many of these people were not part of the Riviera Recovery program.”

Rafati saw the impact his juice was having on patients at Riviera Recovery Center. That’s reportedly when he knew he had to open SunLife Organics.

Today, the SunLife Organics brand sells 32 different kinds of juices, smoothies, and protein shakes. They also sell coffee, sundaes and frozen yogurt. The juices include Himalayan Pink Salt, Dandelion Greens and Alkaline Water.

Rafati even hired people who were in the same place he was 13 years ago.

“Right from the start he was trying to better my life,” said employee Cache Coelho, who was addicted to oxycontin before moving to Los Angeles. “He pushes us very hard. In a father-like sense.”

Rafati said the mission for SunLife Organics is to “love, heal and inspire.”

“He gets very personal with us,” Coelho added. “Especially the ones he believes in.”

Sources: Daily Mail, The New York Times, Sober Recovery / Photo credit: SunLife Organics via Daily Mail, I Forgot to Die/Instagram, via Daily Mail, Khalil Rafati/Instagram via Daily Mail

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