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Former Child Star Advocates for More Funding for Addiction Treatment

Substance abusePeople who are battling substance abuse may have a hard time embracing the concept of getting help. That is why some of the best advocates for addiction treatment are those people who have suffered from addiction in the past and who are now counseling others who are going through similar troubles.

Meet Mackenzie Phillips.

Many Americans remember Phillips as the rebellious teen Julie Cooper in the late 70s/early 80s CBS sitcom “One Day At A Time” alongside Bonnie Franklin and Valerie Bertinelli. Younger people might recognize her as Molly Phillips, the rock star on the Disney Channel series “So Weird” from 1999 to 2001. She also starred in the 1973 film American Graffiti and recently appeared on ABC’s remake of “Battle of the Network Stars.”

Mackenzie Phillips‘ Addiction Struggle

However, Phillips is perhaps most opprobriously known for her long struggle with drug abuse and the fallout it had on her life and career. When she was just ten years old, her father (the Mamas & the Papas’ singer John Phillips) taught her how to roll a joint, and she first tried cocaine at the age of 11. In fact, the teen actor was eventually fired from “One Day At A Time” because her drug and alcohol abuse led her to arrive on set late and impaired.

Problems Exacerbated by Incest

Like many other addicts, Phillips’ problems were not limited to drugs. In fact, her father first molested her when she was 13 years old, and the incest continued on and off for the next decade. The relationship ended when Phillips became pregnant (the child’s father was never determined) and John Phillips reportedly paid for her abortion. As a result, Phillips was engulfed in shame that was so toxic that it corrupted her sexual identity and crushed her self-esteem.

Rehab and Recovery

Phillips first entered rehab in 1980 after being let go from “One Day At A Time” and surviving a couple of near-fatal overdoses. When she completed treatment in 1981, the producers of the sitcom invited her back for a second chance; but after relapsing with cocaine the following year, she was terminated from the show permanently. Phillips continued to struggle with addiction until she underwent treatment again in 1992. All in all, Phillips was in rehab at least ten different times over a three-decade period.

Vanquished Demons and Sobriety

Thankfully, her perseverance has paid off, and Phillips is now clean and sober. In 2011, she wrote a memoir entitled High on Arrival in which she first outlined the sexual abuse at the hands of her father. Phillips followed up that book with Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction which was released earlier this year. She has also completed her training as a certified drug counselor and now works as an addiction specialist in Los Angeles.

Recently, the 58-year old Phillips spoke at The LCADA Way Pearls of Wisdom recognition dinner in Avon, Ohio. The sold-out event raised funds to help those affected by addiction and substance abuse in the area. Speaking to attendees, Phillips called for more resources to battle the national opioid crisis in America. “What we need is immediate funding,” Phillips said. “What we need is immediate strategies, tips, and tricks, to stem the tide of people dropping like flies.”

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The Moral of Phillips’ Story

People who are addicted to alcohol or drugs can learn a lot from Phillips’ life and her tribulations and triumphs. For one thing, drug abuse often arises in response or addition to other substantial personal problems. Also, it often takes multiple attempts at rehab in order for a person to achieve permanent sobriety. Perhaps most importantly, addicts can find comfort knowing that if someone like Mackenzie Phillips can overcome her monumental challenges and defeat addiction, then they can as well.

You may not think it is possible, but you can defeat addiction. Contact us today and let us help.

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