Kim Richards is on the road to recovery and her sister Kyle hopes she stays that way.
"I spoke to Kim the other day and she was confident and strong," Kyle, 46, told People magazine about older sister Kim, 51, who entered rehab eight months ago for alcoholism. "I was like,'Yes! Let's keep you here.' There are no guarantees, but I'm excited and hopeful."
In 2009, the two sisters signed on to the cast of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," where Kim's alcohol abuse became a much-talked about storyline, even while Kyle struggled to keep it private.
"I didn't want to point out to the world what was going on," Kyle told People. "Even if I was angry or frustrated, she's still my sister. It was private. That's how my mom raised us."
But watching the first season helped Kyle, a mother of four, to see that this problem was much larger than what she could handle.
"I used to be very angry with Kim about her issues," said Kyle. "We had so many fights over the years. But seeing the show in season 1 opened my eyes a lot. People were like, 'Poor Kim,' and I was like, 'Wait, I thought we were the victims!' It made me realize, alcoholism is a disease and she can't help this. It taught me a lot."
Kim's addiction came between the two sisters, who were estranged for nearly a year. During that time, Kim, a former child star, was arrested for public intoxication at the Beverly Hills Hotel in April.
Earlier this fall, she reached a plea deal of three years probation, 30 days of community labor, 52 weeks of Alcoholics Anonymous sessions, while agreeing to stay away from the Beverly Hills Hotel,
"I was in shock," Kyle said of the arrest. "It was upsetting and I knew she would be beating herself up about it."
Now, Kyle is cautiously optimistic about her relationship with her older sister.
"There are no guarantees for someone who is an alcoholic. I'm always waiting for the end. 'When is this over? When can we put this away and start having fun?'" she said. "But we can't ever do that. And that's something I've had to learn."
Most of all, she hopes her sister can finally stay sober.
"I just hope Kim will be healthy, happy and sober for the rest of her life," Kyle said. "She's got four amazing kids, she's an incredible mom and she has a lot to look forward to."