Addiction in Society

Addiction—the thematic malady for our society—entails every type of psychological and societal problem

They Disregarded My Advice for Lindsay Lohan!

The bad advice Lindsay Lohan received in lieu of meaningful treatment

In August 2007, just after her 21st birthday, I wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal called "Bad Advice for Lindsay Lohan" (just Google "Peele-Lohan"). This was after she relapsed immediately upon leaving her first rehab stint at age 20.Lohan Court Manicure

Their plan? Why, force her back into the system she had just failed at!

That is, after all, the American treatment failsafe system!

Here were the four things I said she would learn there that would leave her unarmed for her future:

She should never drink again. You know, sending kids out with the simple advice - "Here's how you remain sober: just don't drink for the next sixty years" - just doesn't work. It didn't take for fifteen minutes the first time she was in treatment. You see, the problem is that people lead lives - and Lohan's I could tell was not going to be in a nunnery.

For Lohan, now 24, the abstinence preaching in lieu of treatment didn't have the intended effect. Of course, she might do what her father, Michael Lohan, did - keep getting drunk until he got into a serious car accident he was lucky to survive near the time Lindsay was first sent to treatment. But that represented another couple of decades of drunkenness for the elder Lohan. So maybe Lindsay could do the same in 20 years - if she survives.

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Whether or not she was drinking, Lohan was on a legal (they're discussed in her probation file) cocktail of prescription drugs (Adderall, Dilaudid, Zoloft, Trazadone) and had been on the same prescription drugs, she said, for as long as she could remember. But what else could she do, since she was told in treatment that she is a lifetime alcoholic-addict?

Of course, my point wasn't that Lohan should take prescriptions and drink. My point was that Lohan should be encouraged to grow up, which is most clearly the thing that hasn't happened (see her F____ U nail polish insignia in court).  Treatment succeeds when it encourages the motivation - and provides the tools - for such maturation.

The other two points of bad advice I knew Ms. Lohan would receive are that she would be told constantly to return to disease treatment - to which the court has again sentenced her! Why not?  Just because it has led to her repeated failures to get a grasp on adulthood?

And, lastly, I imagined she would be encouraged to stay clear of Hollywood. Lohan had recently appeared in the 2006 film, "The Prairie Home Companion," by the legendary director, Robert Altman (all right - he was also a legendary pothead), and co-starring Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin.

My advice instead was to stay engaged in work. There's nothing more therapeutic - at least compared with flitting about with a bunch of airheads doing F____-all.

And it's scary that so many adolescents and young people will be misdirected by the American treatment system, just the way Lindsay Lohan has been.

P.S.  I don't want to be sympathetic to this poor girl or anything, but HuffPo reported that LL was clean for drugs and alcohol during her last six screenings (but for one .03 BAL).  Thus, she is being jailed for three months, then sentenced to three months of rehab, for failing to attend alcohol education courses.  LL knows something about what happens in these eudcation courses and in rehab, and she clearly doesn't want to go to them.  Don't tell anyone I said this, but LL has a point about her sentencing violating her human rights.  Free Lindsay!

Stanton Peele, PhD, JD, is the author of Recover! and developer of the online Life Process Program. He has been a pioneer in the addiction field since publication of Love and Addiction in 1975.

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