I realize that at first glance, this may appear to contradict much of what I say on this blog, but if you bear with me you’ll see that it doesn’t:  Lindsay Lohan is a victim.  Now I don’t think she’s a victim of the disease of addiction, and I’m not saying that her choices aren’t her own responsibility.  She is perfectly capable of choosing to use or not use drugs excessively at any given time, and she can choose to fully comply with the demands of the legal system at any time.  I say she’s a victim because I believe she’s fallen into the traps of the disease theory and recovery culture which have been hoisted upon her by the very people charged with helping her, I think she’s been victimized by the press, and I think she’s been used as an example by the legal system as a means to flaunt their power.
I’ve resisted writing about Lohan for a long time.  Every day I search google news on addiction to inspire me to write a new blog post, and Lohan comes up over and over again, the news about her is almost inescapable.  Most disgusting is the constant stream of people, both celebrities and professionals, offering “advice” for Lindsay.  These people are usually making wild assumptions about her life, putting her down, telling her how to live, and talking about her as a way to get more press.  The most glaring example being Dr Drew’s advice to the Lohan’s that they should plant drugs on her and call the police so she’d have to go to jail and/or rehab.  Well I won’t be giving her advice, because I don’t know her true behavior, but that’s the point – I don’t think anyone knows except for her, yet everyone’s talking about her life and telling her what to do.

Dr Drew has assumed, as he would according to his beliefs, that Lohan must be abusing substances, without any proof.  He believes that once you’ve had an episode of substance abuse that you become a lifelong addict, that relapse is inevitable, and that moderate use is impossible.  Furthermore, he thinks a substance abuser must be controlled by external forces because their behavior is compulsive, and that only treatment can help – so he feels no shame in recommending that she be locked up under false pretenses, because it’s all for her own good!

The media has become obsessed with presenting the story of another child star going down in flames as a result of addiction.  They’ve hyped up her problems and we’ve all accepted the picture they’ve presented, waiting on the edge of our seats for her inevitable tragic death.  It doesn’t have to end that way, it’s not likely to end that way, and the real story may not even be close to following that pattern.

The Facts

It appears that Lohan has been behaving horribly for a long time when you watch the news, but when you really investigate the timeline you see a different story.  Back in 2007, she had 2 drunk driving incidents within a 3 month timeframe.  This resulted in 2 counts of DUI, 2 counts of driving with blood alcohol level over .08, 2 counts of being under the influence of cocaine, and 1 count of reckless driving.  That’s a total of 7 charges for 2 incidents.  That was 3 years ago.  She has not been charged with any crimes since.  She has not been accused of any crimes since.  She has not ended up in a hospital for overdose.  She’s done nothing which officially indicates that she is currently abusing substances and that it is currently interfering with her life – for 3 years now.  The only thing she has done wrong, is to struggle with compliance of the court’s excessive sentence.

Back in 2007, Lohan went to 3 separate inpatient treatment programs before, between, and after her 2 drunk driving incidents.  Then she went to court, where she was sentenced to:

  • 1 day in jail
  • 10 days of community service
  • 3 days in a county coroner program which involved talking to the families of drunk driving victims
  • 36 months probation
  • Several hundred dollars in fines
  • Completion of an inpatient drug treatment program
  • 18 months of weekly alcohol education classes

I’m sure she must have had her license revoked as well, and probably for a long time, although I haven’t been able to find the details on that.  Put all this together, and I judge it to be excessive punishment.  Nevertheless, Lindsay satisfied the court’s demands on every one of these conditions except for the 18 months of weekly alcohol education classes – and this is the only bad behavior she’s shown since 2007, this is the only reason she stays in the news, being presented as a reckless starlet on the verge of overdose.

Having trouble complying with 18 months of weekly alcohol education classes is not the same thing as having a substance abuse problem, nor is it an indication that one is abusing substances.  18 months of these classes makes for a total of 78 classes!  Lindsay has attended many, and she has missed many, and she’s been in and out of court over it – and this is not rare.  If you spend a day in an average county courthouse you will quite likely see many people struggling with the same exact thing, but they may not all have such an excessive amount of classes to attend.  What could you possibly be taught as a drunk driver that takes 78 classes to teach?  For some perspective, an average college course in neuropsychology takes only 10-12 sessions – so you can learn the inner workings of the human brain in only 12 weekly classes, but to learn to not drink and drive takes 78 weekly classes?  The repetition must be absolutely torturous.  I’ve now finally realized we should definitely do away with waterboarding and simply send terrorists to drug courts!

I know too many people who have been to these classes and been put through the wringer by the administration of these programs, and still haven’t been able to get their licenses back, or graduate the class, or move on in any way which satisfies the powers controlling their fate – yet for having these same troubles, we consider Lindsay Lohan’s life to be a disaster, and her to be on the verge of overdose.  It’s ridiculous.  By the way, the classes she must attend are in one location in LA.  What if she has to work.  This is often a problem for people who work average jobs (it causes many to lose their jobs), but imagine how much more complicated it becomes when your job is to be an actress?  I know we’re not supposed to feel sympathy for her because she’s rich, but let’s consider the reality.  Movies and television shows are little self-contained businesses which set up shop for a short time in a specific location with a tight schedule.  You must be able to be there when it works for the whole production, or you can’t be there at all.  So if a movie is shooting in Arizona for 3 months, and you land a role in it, you have to go to Arizona for those 3 months, and you work around the clock pulling 12-16 hour days.  You don’t get somebody to fill in for you so you can go do something else – your life is on hold for those 3 months while you stay ready to be on set whenever needed.  This is her situation, she has to travel, she has to deal with often unpredictable and tight schedules – it is unreasonable to expect her to take every friday off for 78 consecutive weeks to fly to LA to go to a ridiculous class which doesn’t help anyone, and most likely repeats everything she’s heard in her several treatment stints ad nauseum.

And this is it.  This is all that’s really going on.  She’s simply having trouble completing this one part of her extremely excessive sentence for 2 drunk driving incidents which happened within 3 months of each other 3 darn years ago.  Nothing has really happened since – she’s just dealing with this nonsense and constantly being dragged into court over it.  With that said, she should buck up and deal with it and get it done, but it’s not easy, and it’s not unusual to get trapped in this system – it happens to millions of young people every year, she just happens to be an extremely visible case.  Lindsay Lohan is a victim of the legal system and a victim of the treatment system.  Because of a brief period of questionable behavior, her life is now wrapped up in dealing with treatment programs and courts for 3 years now – and it looks like her mess will continue even longer.

In May, the court ordered her to wear a SCRAM, which is an ankle bracelet that detects blood alcohol content.  Shortly thereafter, it detected a BAC level of .03.  To give you an idea of what this means I went online to the BAC calculator website and entered in 1 red bull & vodka for a 105 pound female – and this brings back an estimate of a BAC of .043 – so 3 years after her drunk driving offenses she gets dragged into court again and harassed for the equivalent of having less than one drink in her system!  The .03 BAC is only news if you think that moderation is impossible, or if you believe that a one time drunk driver should never be allowed to drink again, but if you’re reasonable, you know that people drink safely throughout this country, people can change and learn how to drink without driving, and that moderation is the normal outcome for people who were once alcohol dependent.  But don’t take my word on that last point – take the word of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).  A massive study of the national population that they released in 2005 showed that 75% of people once diagnosed as alcohol dependent are now no longer dependent, 3/4 of them never received even the slightest bit of professional help – and only 18% of them end up abstinent.  The rest of them continue drinking, but at much lower levels.  Moderation is the norm, self-change is also the norm.  Do you hear that Dr Drew Pinhead?

This post is continued, because the whole situation really brings up a lot of issues,  Click here for Part 2 of this post
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