Mackenzie Phillips shocked people when her bestselling memoir "High on Arrival" came out in 2011 with her tales of a decades-long incestuous affair with her father, Mamas and the Papas founder "Papa" John Phillips. Phillips who starred in "One Day at a Time" in the ‘70s and later the Disney Channel show "So Weird," is now an addiction specialist and happily sober. She has a new book out called "Hopeful Healing" that offers heartfelt essays on managing recovery and surviving addiction. The 57-year-old mother of one spoke to Fox News about her life now and her rocky past.
Fox News: How did this book come about?
Mackenzie Phillips: After I wrote "High on Arrival," the backlash was stunning. I guess I was naïve. I didn't expect that, so I was gun shy. I thought about writing another book and now it's seven years later, and I went back to school and became a counselor, and I work at a treatment center in West Hollywood, and I thought, “Wow I not only have a lot of experience but I also have the schooling to back it up and I'm doing it on a daily basis. Maybe I should write a book on how to manage your recovery and survive your addiction.” Like a tangible, hold it in your hand tool for people in recovery or people curious about recovery. That's why I wrote the book.
Fox News: You say that you didn't expect backlash from your book [because it] is blaming the victim.
Phillips: It is kind of stunning isn't it? I just didn't expect the s--t storm, pardon me, that occurred. But it's been a long time since that storm and things are different now.
Fox News: You mention in the book that there are family members who still haven't forgiven you.
Phillips: We are mending. Because we are mending, I'm not going to comment. I don't want to awaken something that is finally going away and as you know any media outlet is going to comb through a book and find the incendiary bits and make those the headlines and make it seem as if that's what the book is about when, in fact, that's not what the book is about. It's about how to handle stuff like that because it doesn't just go down in my life it goes down in many, many people's lives. Most people who are in recovery from addiction have a traumatic history and so when I was writing "Hopeful Healing" I was thinking how do I write this without dealing with my own trauma? And I realized I had to speak of it in more general terms but I couldn't overlook it because then the book would be disingenuous.
Fox News: You had a 10 year period of sobriety between bouts of addiction. It really is one day at a time.
Phillips: Sure. I think if you're taking care of yourself, and you're practicing radical self-care and you're working with others and managing your recovery, you won't relapse. That's kind of what the message of the book is. What you need to do, what one should consider doing to help ensure long-term recovery.
Fox News: You're hope for everyone who says they can never get clean.
Phillips: Absolutely. I hear it all the time, 'I'm not going to bother with that one, he or she's a hopeless junkie.' And I say where there's breath, there's hope. Never give up but don't enable. I was in rehab 10 or 11 times over a 30-year period.
Fox News: What do you do every day to ensure your sobriety?
Phillips: I have purpose. My life has meaning. I am engaged in a profession that I'm passionate about. I have some place to go every day. I'm expected. There's always a task at hand. I have beautiful relationships in my life. I have a beautiful home, I go to meetings. I work with others. I stay busy. If one can create a purposeful, meaningful life then there's no room for drugs or alcohol. It's not on the list anymore.
Fox News: Did Phillip Seymour Hoffman's drug overdose after more than 20 years of sobriety frighten you?
Phillips: Of course, it's frightening, of course, but if I was to sit around considering my fears I wouldn't leave the house. If I stay in action, I won't live in fear.
Fox News: What's the most valuable first step to sobriety?
Phillips: Ask for help. It's the most valuable and it's the hardest because it means we have to give up our coping mechanism, which is drugs and alcohol. If we ask for help it means change and change is scary.
Fox News: Do people recognize you at work?
Phillips: It comes up. With the younger people it's from the Disney Channel series "So Weird," and the older people it's "One Day at a Time." I handle it. I say, “Yes, isn't that funny? Seven billion people in the world and we've ended up on this day in this office together, isn't that interesting? But let's put the fact that I was on TV aside and talk about it another time.”