Today on the blog we have Tara Mackey. She’s here to tell us about her road to recovery after being prescribed TONS of Rx drugs from the age of 12.
And not only that, she’s here to talk about her new book WILD Habits that teaches people how to find and build healthy habits that work for you and replace the bad habits you’re currently stuck in, for good. It’s full of simple tools to tackle procrastination, depression, anxiety, loneliness, grief and more that work long-term to help you become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
Let’s get into it with Tara.
How to Reclaim Your Life After Addiction
♡ Introduce yourself to The Skinny Confidential audience.
Tara Mackey: Hey! My name is Tara Mackey. I’m a bestselling author, musician, speaker, activist and the CEO of Genetix Organic, a popular skincare company that is normalizing breast care. I’m here to help.
♡ You’ve gone through a lot of adversity. Can you share your story & how you overcame it?
TM: I was prescribed my first Rx drug at the age of 12 for depression after my mom, who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, relapsed in front of me. By the time I was 24, I was on 14 different Rx drugs and constantly in the hospital with chronic infections that, of course, required more drugs. I was prescribed drugs to treat everything from anxiety to depression to fibromyalgia, and I really didn’t know what life looked like without them.
In March of 2011, I came off 14 pharmaceutical drugs – some of which I’d been on for 11 years! Within a few weeks after coming off my meds, I got horrible withdrawal symptoms. I couldn’t even sit up. And I deleted all of my social media accounts and did an internet detox for a year in order to let myself heal.
I began replacing the prescription drugs I was on with natural alternatives, like herbs, supplements, food, movement, meditation and exercise.
At the end of 2011, I moved from New York to California to pursue acting, music and wellness. My blog The Organic Life was a space for me to write about my road trip across the country, my newly gained knowledge and my meditations, which got me through the hardest parts of my withdrawal. Soon, other people started to resonate with a lot of the messages I was touching on. Pretty soon, I watched it start to change other people’s lives.
Keep in mind I did this without any encouragement from doctors or help from my family.
If you decide to come off your Rx drugs – and I do not recommend it alone – there is no health protocol for you other than the stories of those of us who have done it. At that time, there were no resources for me.
I was working as a scientist and then I was working random jobs and on food stamps for the majority of this journey. And I didn’t come off food stamps until 2012, when I was 25. I think that because I could do this, with so few resources and so little knowledge and no traditional support, it was showing others that they could find alternatives to their health that worked for them too.
In 2014 I was contacted by my publishing company, who had found my blog and were intrigued by my story, and offered a book deal. That’s how my first book, Cured by Nature, was born. It was published in 2016 and it allowed me to share my journey of what got me on medication and also what allowed me to come off it all and how I reclaimed my life and my health.
From there, the book resonated with a lot of people, and everything truly took off. It has given me an opportunity to speak, teach, sing, and travel all around the world to help people. My blog has turned into two books, a podcast, an EP, a breast-care company, an organic skincare company, the ability to give back, share my motherhood journey and so much more.
♡ What do you recommend for someone struggling with addiction?
TM: I think the #1 thing that creates the cycle of addiction is hopelessness. We give our power away. We think someone or something else has the power to make us feel good, so we get addicted. Whether it’s prescription drugs or a relationship or alcohol or social media or stress, these are all forms of forgetting who we truly are and giving the power we have inside away to something or someone else.
Practice taking your power back, and simultaneously take the emphasis off of yourself. Be of service. Volunteer your time or attention. Always try to reach deep down and be the best version of yourself, and only surround yourself with people who support your best interest. You don’t need all the noise.
♡ What do you recommend to someone who is sober curious?
TM: Take it one day at a time. Set a goal for yourself and try to stick to it as much as you can without guilt or shame. You don’t have to completely abstain from anything forever, but it’s good to have periods where you can see if you can. Try hanging out with sober or other sober curious people. For instance, almost none of my good girlfriends drink alcohol and that’s had an incredible effect on my life. Very few of the close people in my life take any Rx drugs at all. That has definitely helped my journey tremendously.
To know I can stay up until 2 am, dance, party, laugh, connect and have a LOT of fun without a drink or drugs has been life changing for me (and my mornings!). To know I can trust my friends (because they’re not, for instance, trying to steal pills from me) has been eye opening. Sober nights with my girlfriends have been some of the best nights of my life.
Be open to other people’s lifestyles and curious about what’s worked for them.
♡ Do you have a morning routine that sets you up for success?
My morning routine may sound simple but it’s made all the difference.
+ Skincare is a must. The very first thing I do in the morning is moisturize my face. Think of sleep as just one big period of dehydration, where you’re not drinking, eating or absorbing anything. I have my serums on my bedside table next to my bed, and they’re the first thing I reach for in the morning. My skincare company, Genetix Organic, has created an amazing morning Glow Brightening Serum that contains all the ingredients I’ve been using on my face in the morning for ten years. It makes all the difference in my skin.
+ I drink water, lemon water or lemonade AND tea. Yep. 3 beverages to start every morning. The dehydration is real.
+ I also have a protein and anti-oxidant rich smoothie every morning and have for many years. I love Sunlife Organics protein powder in a smoothie with banana, strawberries, raspberries, hemp or coconut milk, spinach, hyaluronic acid, Vital Proteins collagen.
+ Meditation is a must before I start any work. Just being still, counting my blessings, being grateful, connecting with a higher purpose and my son before I start my day.
♡ Do you have a nighttime routine that helps you wind down?
+ I love red light therapy at night, which helps with inflammation, and is great for your skin and sore muscles.
+ I use the Genetix Nighttime Cellular Recovery Serum. It has a hyaluronic acid, rosehip oil and Vitamin E for overnight skin protection. Plus, like all the Genetix serums, it’s scent free, so it won’t interfere with the vibe I’m trying to create. I don’t have to smell like a grapefruit or something before bed if I don’t want to.
+ I stop using my phone an hour or so before bed and put it on airplane mode, charging in another room. And I have at least one book on my bedside table at all times. Reading before I fall asleep has been a ritual since I was a kid. My bedroom never has and never will have a TV.
+ I put a little bit of lavender essential oil on my pillow every night. This is so relaxing and makes me feel like I’m at a spa.
♡ What are the tools that really helped your recovery?
TM: Books, books, books. You can gain so much from another’s knowledge, but you cannot gain another’s wisdom.
In other words, there is definitely WISDOM in making all your own mistakes, but why do you need that wisdom when you can get the knowledge to avoid those mistakes in the first place?
You can learn so much from other people’s stories instead of having to make your own mistakes. It will save you so much time.
♡ What are some wellness practices that helped you along in your journey?
TM: Mediation. It’s free and everyone can do it. This resonated with me a lot back when I was starting my journey on welfare. You don’t need a fancy retreat to learn how to do this. My favorite form of meditation is just sitting silently and connecting with my higher power. God, Source, the Universe, Spiderman – whatever you want to call that greater wisdom – doesn’t have office hours. It’s always available to you. I just sit silently and listen. It took a while to be able to hear, but I promise you, with enough practice you won’t be able to ignore the answers to the questions that you ask or the things you pray for.
Supplements are a must. I would never recommend people come off their Rx drugs cold turkey like I did. If they come off at all, I would recommend they supplement. That’s how I found the herbs, teas and vitamins that have TRULY helped me. Turmeric has done for me what oxycodone couldn’t do. GABA has done what Lithium couldn’t do. Valerian has done what Xanax couldn’t do.
Nature has a medicine cabinet – you just have to open it.
Try things earnestly with an open mind. I never go into an experience expecting anything other than the ideal outcome, but I also surrender to anything that may happen, knowing that I may not know what the ideal outcome truly is. Every experience has the ability to lead us to something greater. Our whole life is building upon itself. Everything is happening for you.
♡ Tell us about your new book & what the process of writing your book was like.
TM: My first book, Cured by Nature, is the WHY. Why I decided to change my life and the beginning steps I took to do so that were successful for me.
So many people who read the book were inspired by the journey, but interested in learning how I kept up the good habits that kept me healthy and sober for the last ten years. It’s easy to pick up a good habit short term, but how do we stick with that habit for a decade?
My newest book, WILD Habits, is the HOW. How you can find and build healthy habits that work for you that replace the bad habits you’re currently stuck in, for good. Simple tools to tackle procrastination, depression, anxiety, loneliness, grief and more that work long-term to help you become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
This book takes you through the step-by-step process of how to take your life into your own hands, with compelling scientific facts about mind-body connection and real stories of people who’ve changed for the better, which serve as powerful examples of easy ways that you can feel more in control of your life and release your true power.
♡ What’s a book, podcast or resource you recommend?
TM: I come back to Autobiography of a Yogi again and again.
Whatever book or podcast you’ve been putting off, read or listen to that one. Start your good habit today and just do it.
♡ Where can everyone find you? Pimp yourself out!
TM: You can find me at @taraamackey on Instagram. You can listen to my podcast, Bold + Brilliant, wherever podcasts play. It has so many tips and tools and inspiring stories from entrepreneurs, Forbes 30 Under 30 recipients, New York Times bestselling authors and so much more.
You can find my music on all streaming platforms and my music videos on Youtube. You can find my books on Amazon and at your local bookstore, and you can find my breastcare and skincare at GenetixOrganics.com. PHEW!
Be sure to stalk Tara on all her channels, and if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to prescribed drugs, be sure to grab her books.
xx, The Skinny Confidential team.
+ the benefits of meditation and how to get started.
++ stalk these tips for inner healing.