Mackenzie Phillips Gives Recovery Advice in Latest Book 'Hopeful Healing'

By McCarton Ackerman 02/09/17

“Not only is the book valuable and useful for addicts and loved ones early in recovery, but it’s useful for experiential wisdom about life.”

Mackenzie Phillips

One Day at a Time actress Mackenzie Phillips is sharing her story of recovery and offering advice to others in her latest book.

Hopeful Healing, which went on sale this Tuesday (Feb. 7), touches on her upbringing and remarkable journey from chronic drug user to addictions counselor. However, the crux of the book is offering advice to addicts and their loved ones as they look to get well. Phillips says the book isn’t a memoir, but that her personal stories are “the connective tissue” that tie the essays together.

“I hope people who read Hopeful Healing learn to be gentler with themselves and the addict, learn how to ask for help, and learn that we recover as a community, we don't recover alone,” she said in an interview with USA Today. “Not only is [the book] really valuable and useful for addicts and loved ones in early recovery themselves, but it’s also just useful for experiential wisdom about life.”

The book is a much gentler follow-up to her 2009 memoir High on Arrival, which included gritty details of her drug use and revealed that she had an incestuous relationship with her father. 

Phillips went into treatment shortly after her 2008 arrest for heroin and cocaine possession and, after years of trying, found that sobriety finally clicked for her. She went back to school in her 50s and has spent the past four years working as an addictions counselor at Breathe Life Healing Centers in West Hollywood.

She declined to say how long she’s been sober for, saying that sobriety is far more than simply accumulating days.

“What I have found about time sober is that it doesn’t necessarily treat or heal addiction or alcoholism. It’s what you’re doing with the time that matters,” she said. “Even if I were to relapse, which I don’t foresee, it doesn’t make any of the information in the book any less germane to recovery or any less true.”

The former Hollywood star has become so involved with her work in recovery that she’s even put her acting career aside. Although Phillips loves both professions, she's found that she is more passionate about her current gig.

“I’m not actively pursuing acting work, but I did a cameo on the Netflix reimagining of One Day at a Time,” she said. “That was really fun ... but I'd be sitting in my dressing room going, 'God, I wonder what’s going on at Breathe? How can I get out of here and get back to my real job?'”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.