When she was a teen and even into her young adult years, Mackenzie Phillips not only suffered from a heroin and cocaine addiction but was also constantly sexually abused by her own father!
As she wrote in her memoir, years before her addiction, Philips’ childhood was “rife with traumas that rocked by worldview.”
“One was neglect by my parents, and the other was being raped by a stranger,” the actress wrote 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 of her parents were addicts, leading to a “free-range” lifestyle.
Among the many irresponsible things her parents did when she was just a child, one of them is the fact that they sent her to film 1973 classic American Graffiti in San Francisco by herself, when she was only 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.’”
Kurtz took her into his home and became her legal guardian for the duration of filming since she was not allowed to live by herself as a minor.
“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.
After her “humiliating” 2008 arrest on drug possession charges, Phillips finally managed to find lasting sobriety, but not because she worked out her childhood traumas.
“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.”
Leaving the Hollywood lifestyle behind, Phillips now works as a recovery counselor in Los Angeles.