Help Keep Me Not Sober!

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Lindsay Lohan can get a lot of help abusing alcohol and/or drugs. Enablers seem to come with being a major celebrity.

The point at which an alcoholic or drug addict may throw up their hands, throw down the towel and seek help varies widely, but here are some common “bottoms” that addicts reach: Ran out of money. Can’t hold down a job. Spouse wants a divorce. Looming incarceration. But what’s the chances the addict will reach the point of giving up the disease cycle if someone is there to make sure there are few consequences, or that the consequences aren’t too severe?

Enter: the enabler!

In terms of substance abuse, an enabler can be defined as a person or organization whose actions or active tolerance makes it in some way easier for an addict to procure and/or use their substance of choice. And, as the drug of choice reassures the addicted mind that things are fine, the enabler may be there to reassure the addict they don’t have a problem, or that the real problem is other people or things.

We’ve already heard about so many people who may have been involved in Michael Jackson’s drug issues, it’s hard to keep count. Last summer, a Huffington Post article pointed out the issues celebrities face due to enabling doctors.It’s not hard to imagine how the people surrounding a celebrity might have a vested interest in keeping that individual vulnerable, easy to manipulate, acquiescent due to shame or fear or depression and, above all, working and earning regardless of their emotional, mental or physical state.

If an addict wants to drink or drug, they’ll find a way—no one can stop them. Perhaps just as assuredly, they will also find some help from others. But how much more is such help likely to be available when fame and fortune are involved?

Enabling Works Like Magic

One avenue to make it look like it’s all better--whether or not it is -- that’s uniquely available to the celebrity was described in a March 2008 New York Times article, discussing the potential for using magazine cover shots to redeem celebrity careers. Following Lohan’s third trip to rehab, but predating her fourth this August, it announces, “Lindsay Lohan wants you to know that she’s all right.” They go on to say that Lohan’s cover shot in Bazaar “makes her look as if she had spent the last 12 months thriving on yoga and a diet of sprouts.” If you can look like you’re doing well, and everyone else thinks so too, where’s the motivation for change?

AP Entertainment writer Anthony McCartney reported on August 25 that Lohan’s been ordered to attend 67 additional days of therapy and 12-step meetings and submit to drug and alcohol testing. That’s a new judge’s ruling. In so doing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox lightened up on previous judicial orders for three months each of jail and rehab. Lohan was released from jail after 14 days and from rehab after 23. If she successfully gets through the next couple of months, probation is done and Lohan will be free to move out of state-- something she plans to do, her mother reported in an interview with Matt Lauer less than two weeks ago. Machete is ready to open September 3, and Lohan’s next film, portraying Linda Lovelace, is a signed deal.

It Was All a Big Mistake

It can get even better. What if you could find someone to determine that you are not an addict after all! It’s now been reported that doctors at UCLA determined that Adderall, prescribed to Lohan for misdiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, caused her to balance out the side effects by taking additional prescription meds, and that this has been the cause of her problems all along—not addiction to alcohol or cocaine. It’s not an addiction, just bad medicine. Huh? Ya gotta love the spin...

Perhaps celebrities are particularly susceptible to the dangers of enabling. But it’s a real threat to any addict’s recovery. There’s a difference between a committed effort to change and just doing what you must to get back into “the scene.” But only the addict can summon the self-honesty necessary to change their life for the better.

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