May 22, 2013
Written by Joe Pisani
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 14:13
Every family has a Lindsay Lohan in the closet.
Somewhere behind the suits and skirts, crouching in the dark with a bottle or a joint, there’s someone with a drinking problem, a cocaine addiction or a fondness for prescription drugs — which turns everyone’s life into a living hell.
Lohan’s torturous story is a familiar one that would make good bedtime reading to teach youngsters a simple lesson: Substance abuse can destroy anyone no matter how talented, even the star of The Parent Trap.
A tabloid darling known for her misdeeds, Lohan is a uniquely American phenomenon, who could be a poster child for DUI arrests and court appearances, revolving-door visits to rehab and self-destructive behavior in the cause of “fun.”
She and the other party princesses like Paris Hilton are negative powers of example for a generation that already drinks too much. Walk the streets of any college town on Friday night, and you’ll see ample evidence that America suffers an epidemic of binge drinking.
In her short life, Lohan has already shown us in agonizing detail all the misery that one person can inflict on herself and her family, however troubled they may already be.
She’s proof, too, that substance abuse afflicts the rich and the poor, the celebrity and the common man, the saint and the sinner, the CEO and the mailroom clerk. It’s a democratic disease of denial, which means its victims don’t think there’s a problem even though their lives are falling apart all around them.
As a society, we’re fascinated by troubled celebrities, and we put them under the microscope like insects. It’s easy to play armchair psychiatrist and suggest Lohan’s problems are the result of bad genes, bad judgment, and the lifestyles of the rich and famous, not to mention her parents, who could use a few months of intense psychotherapy.
In large ways and small, all of us suffer from the “blame your parents” syndrome. I blamed my parents for everything that went wrong in my life, until I became a parent.
And while it’s a fact of life that children of addicts and alcoholics often become addicts and alcoholics, the first step in getting clean and sober is to take personal responsibility for your behavior and stop the blame game.
If Lohan wants to live past 30, she has to get serious about changing her life because substance abuse is a progressive disease that only leads to misery, despair and premature death.
Help is there if she wants it. As an old-timer in Alcoholics Anonymous once told my father, who didn’t admit he was powerless over booze until he was 50: “You have to want to want it.” Apparently, he wanted it because he lived the last 25 years of his life sober.
The formula for success is simple: You have to want to be clean and sober more than you want to drink and do drugs.
Lohan doesn’t have to take the elevator to the basement. She just has to want to want a better life.
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