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 nine years in recovery, Mollie is a counselor in the addiction recovery field and speaks throughout America at conferences, treatment center groups and schools.
The Ties That Bind: Breaking The Cycle of Addiction and the Dark Side of Celebrity
The daughter of Meredith Baxter and David Birney, tells the story of her eating disorder, her plunge into depression and her eventual recovery through the 12-Step Program. Both informative and inspirational, Mollie has the insight of someone far older than her years, and the ability to relate to her own generation and those just approaching their teenage years.
“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 learned 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. In college, she studied 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.
Mollie holds a BA from Tufts University (2008), a Masters from Cal State LA, and a Masters in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Addiction from Antioch University (2014). After years in her own private practice as an Eating Disorder Coach, she received her certification in IE (2015) and continues to work in the addiction treatment field as an Eating Disorder Specialist and Recovery Consultant. She works with individuals and crisis-point families through a family systems lens. She is a frequent speaker and panelist for high schools, colleges, and treatment center populations. She has been in recovery since 2007.
Your speech was one of the most moving, courageous and genuine presentations I can remember
Mollie Birney served as a speaker on Youth Outreach Panels for Visions Treatment Centers. Addressing issues around stress and anxiety, peer pressure, family conflict, eating disorders and other addictive behaviors, Mollie always gained the students’ rapt attention by relating her personal struggles and recovery in ways that all listeners could identify with. She offers a fresh, relatable and inspiring perspective to the taboo issues she tackles.
Addressing issues and stress and anxiety, peer pressure, family conflict, eating disorders and other addictive behaviors, Mollie always gained the students’ rapt attention by relating her personal struggles and recovery in ways that all listeners could identify with. She offers a fresh, relatable and inspiring perspective to the taboo issues she tackles.
I loved hearing Mollie share her story. It was very compelling and the connection to addiction was unmistakable. I believe she has the ability to bring her message of hope to many more people.
Mollie Birney was an inspiring addition to our program at the 12th annual Women’s Journey Conference! Her sense of compassion and warmth for our at-risk girls came out in her presentation and her audience was captivated. The Women’s Journey team was impressed and the women and girls were powerfully inspired.