Lindsay Lohan goes to court on Tuesday to turn herself in for a 90-day jail sentence. There has been a grand debate among addiction professionals as to what is in Lindsay’s best interest. Is jail a waste of time better spent on substance abuse treatment or does she need to pay her debt to society just like anyone else who broke the law?
Here’s my take: Addiction is a lifelong disease that is most successfully addressed by abstinence.
Even though we now know that there is a genetic/DNA component to this illness, the key to most successful programs is teaching personal responsibility.
No one else, not your parents, your spouse, your boss, your kids or your situation is to blame for your alcohol/drug abuse. Your sobriety depends on you, there are no reasons for relapse, just excuses.
I’ve treated hundreds of drug addicts, alcoholics and substance abusers and the ones who maintain sobriety are quite simply those that take full responsibility for their life and their actions.
An important corollary to taking charge is accepting that when you make a mistake you will be held accountable.
In the case of breaking the law that means jail time is possible. Jail is crucial in sending the distinct message that you are not above the law, you are required to obey the rules and when you don’t there will be consequences.
Lindsay has made a mockery of the legal system, repeatedly violated her probation and by all accounts continues to abuse alcohol and drugs.
The worst thing possible for her sobriety at this point would be to give her any special treatment or to let her actions go unpunished. Thus, jail now plays a hugely important role in treating Lindsay Lohan the addict and the person.
If Lindsay were my patient my advice would be short and to the point: Lindsay your sobriety is the most important thing in your life. More important than family, friends or career because without sobriety you will lose all of those and more.
Going to jail is the first step in turning your life around.
Use your time on the inside to dedicate yourself to honesty, integrity and sobriety and understand this: When you take responsibility for your own life a terrifying yet amazing thing happens…you have no one to blame.
Dr. Dale Archer is a psychiatrist and frequent guest on FoxNews.com's "The Strategy Room." For more, visit his website: Dr.DaleArcher.com.
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