"One thing about getting healthy and sober is you are so much more grounded and focused. I never realized that," Richey said.
Her assistant focused on the strongest songs, the ones she thought Richey should finish, songs of survival, songs about life and love and failed relationships.
Richey said they work both on a record level and during her live show, which she said is quite different in its energy.
"You should really see me play live," she said.
Richey's new lifestyle allows time to just enjoy being home, and it gives her time to give back a bit. She is a certified life coach, using skills she learned during her journey to sobriety to help others find the life they want. She often tells clients, "If I can get it together against the odds, so can you."
"I can honestly say I will never drink again. I will never smoke a cigarette again. This is poison," she said.
She also teaches guitar, something she's done almost since she picked up a guitar at 15.
"I had a passion for helping people learn," she said. That is interesting because she struggled in school.
"I wasn't a traditional student. I had dyslexia and they didn't know what to do about that - I had to learn to function outside the box. It served me well for being an entrepreneur."
Richey said her adoptive mother, a classically trained pianist, put her in front of a piano as a toddler.
"As soon as I could touch the keys, I could play by ear. But I couldn't function with sheet music."
And so began frustration that teachers - whether her mom or in school - had with Richey.
"I was accused of being dumb. Then I had an IQ test and I was accused of being lazy. By the time I was a teen, I was mad - and determined," she said. Music became her outlet.
"The ironic thing is my mother was a schoolteacher, so it's not like I was neglected," she added.
After all those years on the road, Richey appreciates home life more than ever.
"I don't leave my house unless I have a gig," she said. "It's almost embarrassing. But I have great coffee. I've got a hot tub. I've got a gym in my basement. I can video Skype out of my home studio. I teach an online guitar course. I'm really a homebody."
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.
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