MacKenzie Phillips recovery from addiction and abuse is a true story of a child star best known for her roles in American Graffiti and One Day at a Time. A young star and daughter of the famous John Phillips from The Mamas and the Papas was re-darted into the spotlight in 2009 with the release of her very personal memoirs entitled “High on Arrival”. The publication disclosed some shocking information, not alone related to Mackenzie’s battle with addiction but also her famous father. Mackenzie revealed that she had been involved in an incestuous relationship with her father for over ten years from the age of 13 to 23 years. Her story led to back lash from her father’s ex-wives and members of the public.
Phillips for many years was trying to overcome a tirade of addiction as well as the abusive relationship she had with her father. Over the years she has had 11 lapsed recovery attempts and in a recent speaking engagement was honest in admitting that she is still on a journey of recovery. Mackenzie as with many others in recovery understands that there is no final destination; the process is long, unpredictable and continuous.
“I’d been addicted to drugs before, and I’d overcome my addiction. That was fifteen years ago, so many long, mostly happy, entirely drug-free years. I never thought I would relapse. I’d been clean for so long that I thought I was fixed. But if the addiction was a cancer that had been carefully excised, well, I’d missed a spot. It had grown back, all the more fierce and malignant.” – High on Arrival; 2009
This excerpt is in reference to Ms. Phillips arrest in 2008 by Los Angeles Airport Police for drug possession. She has had a turbulent life and her recovery process have been no different. Considering the life she led from a very young age, this is no surprise. Her memoirs refer to the first time she tried cocaine at the shocking young age of 11 years. This was the start of what was to be a highly dysfunctional life, filled with drug abuse, addiction and a struggle to overcome her many demons. The incident in LA in 2008 was a turning point in Mackenzie’s addiction; this particular incident marked the being of a genuine recovery.
At a recent talk at The Palm Springs Library she was honest and forth coming about her past and her current journey. The talk was part of the opening of the library’s new addiction and recovery resource center. Ms. Phillips acknowledged the reality facing all addicts which is an uncertain and reflective journey. At present she is quite aware that she cannot predict the future and can only work through each day as it comes. This is possibly one of the most important steps in true recovery, an understanding that you do not have the ability to foresee the future, but that you do have control over your reactions to the many things that you will come to face. She has also had the added strain and pressure of recovering and relapsing repeatedly in the public eye. The scrutiny and judgment no doubt added to the already challenging task of overcoming both her addiction and abusive past.
On a human level Mackenzie is adequately qualified to advise those working to overcome addiction. She has suffered for several years at the hands of addiction and among her horrifying experiences are two near fatal drug overdoses. Her past has meant that she has spent much time in and out of rehabilitation services. However she is acutely aware that many addicts are not so fortunate and that there is a lack of treatment and support out there. She is now putting her energy into her role as an addiction recovery advocate at Pasadena Recovery Center. Mackenzie wishes to share her recovery with others in the hope that her story and experiences can inspire and educate others. She is also working to raise awareness around addiction in tackling misconceptions and stigma, as well as striving to enhance resources and ensure treatment is available to sufferers.
“People think it’s a moral issue. People don’t understand.” – Huffington Post; 2014
From her dark and destructive life Mackenzie Phillips has taken something powerful and something positive. She has taken her struggles and her experience to offer hope to others. Her honesty, strength and openness have been well received by many and for those who do not appreciate it, let us hope they find their own path.