(Topic: Addiction) From the ages of 14 to 22, Mollie Birney battled a vicious eating disorder. Growing up in Los Angeles, she was affected by the constant barrage of messages and learned the tricks of purging, compulsive exercising and the language of calories. Her celebrity mother, who starred in the hit TV show, "Family Ties," constantly struggled with food and weight issues and later with alcoholism, and Mollie's own eating disorder spun out of control. She sunk into depression before seeking treatment for her addiction. Now eight years in recovery, Mollie is a counselor in the addiction recovery field and speaks throughout America to schools and treatment center groups.
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"The Ties That Bind: Overcoming Addiction". From the ages of 14 to 22, Mollie Birney battled a vicious eating disorder. Growing up in Los Angeles with parents who were well known in the film and television industry, she was affected by the constant barrage of messages about feminine identity, body image, and sexuality that are such a staple of Hollywood culture. The expectations in her image-oriented family were no less demanding. She witnessed her mother's constant struggle with food and weight and later with alcoholism, and Mollie's own body was often the subject of her father's mocking comments. While attending a competitive all-girls school, Mollie was taught the daily tricks of purging, compulsive exercise, and obsessive language of calories. Mollie's life was organized entirely around the obsession of "fixing" her body. By the time she went to college, she was obsessed with "fixing" her body. She was studying vocal performance and choral conducting, but when she lost her voice as a result of her bulimia she stopped attending classes completely. As her eating disorder spun out of control, she sunk into depression before finally seeking treatment. Mollie's personal process was deeply influenced by her mother's recovery from alcoholism. She credits her strong foundation in 12-step culture with her willingness to dive into her own program of Overeaters Anonymous in 2007.
Now eight years in recovery, Mollie is an eating disorder coach and counselor in the addiction recovery field. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, and is the Operations Manager for the eating disorder program at Breathe Life Healing Center in West Hollywood, CA. She is a frequent speaker and panelist for high schools, colleges, and treatment center populations.
Mollie has a B.A. degree in Music from Tufts University and a master's degree in Choral Conducting from Cal State LA.