As a teen and young adult, Mackenzie Phillips suffered from a debilitating heroin and cocaine addiction, in addition to constant sexual abuse by her famous father. But years before the drugs, the One Day at a Time actress survived a childhood "rife with traumas that rocked by worldview," she claims in her new memoir.
"One was neglect by my parents, and the other was being raped by a stranger," the acting icon writes in Hopeful Healing, which also serves as a self-help book for recovering addicts. "Both caused profound pain — pain that I sought to numb."
Both parents were addicts, she claims, leading to a "free-range" lifestyle.
In one example, Phillips, now 57, says she recently learned that her parents sent her to film 1973 classic American Graffiti in San Francisco by herself — as a 12 year old!
"We came to pick you up at the airport, and you got off the plane with a little suitcase...all by yourself," she says the drama's producer Gary Kurtz told her during a recent screening. "We said, 'Wait, where's your legal guardian?' And you said, 'I don't know. My mom just put me on a plane.'"
Since she couldn't legally live alone as a minor, Kurtz took her into his home and became her legal guardian for the duration of filming.
"My inability to remember the situation is a good indicator of how unsafe I must have felt getting on that plane and going alone into the world at the age of 12," she writes.
The "chronic trauma" led to a life of debauchery, interrupted with brief stints of drug abstinence.
After her "humiliating" 2008 arrest on drug possession charges, Phillips finally found lasting sobriety, in no small part by working through her childhood pain.
"The deep work was hard and complex," she admits, adding that even today at times the trauma still feels "as heavy as a herd of elephants."
While Philips' Mamas and the Papas singer father, John, died in 2001 after years of addiction, her mother Susan Adams just passed away last year. The mother/daughter pair shared a great relationship during Adams' older years, which both women experienced sober.
Leaving the Hollywood lifestyle behind, Phillips now works as a recovery counselor in Los Angeles.
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