My name is Mackenzie Phillips. I am Shane’s mom, I am a drug and alcohol counselor, I am a writer, singer, actress, but above all this: I am a woman in recovery from substance use disorder. Had I been asked to define myself a while back, this would not have been the way I would have answered. Addiction is a tricky thing, a shape-shifting monster, and it will twist all that is good and right and true about you to its own advantage. To the point where the answer could have been – my name is Mackenzie Phillips: I am heroin, I am cocaine, I am vodka. The beautiful thing about this is that I carry no shame in being who I am, and doing what I do to maintain this amazing state of recovery.
If genetics are any indicator of addiction, then I was destined to walk this path. I come from a long line of alcoholics and addicts, and, it’s safe to say, undiagnosed mental illness. Although, I have a 30-year old son, and it seems to have skipped a generation. Tricky, shape-shifting monsters sometimes do wildly unpredictable and delightful things like that.
They also do nasty and joy-stealing things like telling you you’re invincible, and nothing can touch you. Let’s face it: catastrophe doesn’t announce itself, it does not send out a warning signal, like for a tsunami or some such thing. No, hard times come, people die, shit gets real pretty quick, and almost always, without any warning. That’s precisely why recovery is a 24-hour job. When the proverbial “it” hits the fan, like it has for me several times, I/we need to be prepared to withstand the gale force winds of life on life’s terms. Does this sound like recovery is like hard labor, or some kind of life sentence of no fun? It’s not like that at all. Recovery is the best ride at Disneyland. Recovery is being present for all the precious moments you’ve let slip by. Recovery is everything drugs promised, and then some.