Sunday, December 4, 2011
Tolson 4 TEARS Reviews "High On Arrival"
Imagine a child knocking on her parent’s door to get her father’s attention. He says, “Not now, darling, Daddy’s shooting up.” What does that tell the child about the pervasive self-absorption of drug addicts? Of course, the message to the child is that the drugs are more valuable than any child’s desire for love, affection, and attention.
Sexual assault, addiction, and suicide are unsolved social problems that carry stigmas. The stigmas cast a code of silence that do not solve problems. Mackenzie has shattered the silence in the most public of venues. She has endured the risk of rejection by her peers, the backlash of a celebrity community that protects its so-called legendary “heroes” like John Phillips, and the untoward questions of ignorant interviewers who ask her about father-daughter incest: “Did you enjoy it?” Furthermore, she has been publicly discredited by her own step-mother, Michelle, who was in a relationship with John Phillips since she was sixteen. Where were her morals? He was an (older) married man with two children. Where were his values? The burden is on the victim (Mackenzie) to relive, recover from, and revitalize a life that was traumatized in a hedonistic family lacking respect and responsibility.
If we read between the lines of a story about a rich and famous family, we will see Mackenzie’s insight: “… if real stories of love and incest and survival are kept behind the closed doors of therapists’ offices and judges’ chambers, then current and future victims are destined to do what I did: to weather it alone, to blame themselves, to hide behind drugs…” Incest does not just “happen” like a random fender-bender on the freeway. It is a calculated event of power and control and abuse of trust. These real stories are all too rampant in “ordinary” families that do not have the resources for rehabilitation.
Mackenzie Phillips wrote a memoir that is candid and cathartic. She makes public a story that is held private, and for that she is courageous. She received the Darkness to Light “Voice of Courage” award at the Circle of Light gala.
Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story