My first blog entry coincides with the day that Lindsay Lohan embarked on the beginning of her prison term. I have many thoughts and feelings about this, and as I listened to Larry King Live and Entertainment Tonight this evening, I was completely appalled by what I was hearing.
Now, don’t get me wrong – having worked with addicted clients for over 20 years as an Addiction Therapist, I fully believe that consequences must be given and addicts must be held accountable in order for them to see what they stand to lose if they don’t make the choice to stop their addictive behaviors. But those consequences need to be appropriate, and in my opinion this consequence seems to be anything but appropriate.
From what I’m hearing, for her own protection Lindsay will be alone in her cell for 23 hours a day, and out for one hour while no one else is around. That in itself is cruel and unusual punishment for a crime of this nature. Add to that the fact that she will be allowed no TV or Internet. So she will basically have virtually no one to talk to and only books to keep her company for 23 hours a day! Can you imagine living that way for 90 days? Even if it’s true that she will only serve 14 of the 90 days, can you imagine living that way for even 14 days?
Now add to this scenario the fact that she will not be allowed to take the prescription drugs she has been addicted to while she is incarcerated. Unless she is weaned off these substances gradually under very close medical supervision, this means she will be in active withdrawal for much, if not all, of the time she is behind bars and alone in her cell for 23 out of 24 hours a day.
Yes, I’m sure there will be some medical assistance available, but anyone who has gone through withdrawal from prescription drug addiction (as I did many years ago) knows how severe and traumatic this kind of withdrawal can be. In my professional opinion, this would be the time when Lindsay would need to be monitored 24/7 rather than be kept isolated. Her symptoms could become very dangerous and potentially life-threatening; for example, she could easily develop seizures and go into convulsions, swallowing her tongue or hitting her head and body against concrete with no one finding her until it was too late.
Please understand, I’m not trying to be dramatic. When I was withdrawing from prescription medications while in a legitimate and well-monitored detox centre, this happened to me. Fortunately, other residents of the detox found me well before the staff did or I could have died. Keep in mind that Lindsay will be completely alone, without the benefit of any cellmates.
It takes a while for a person to completely withdraw from these kinds of drugs. My guess is that if Lindsay is in jail for only two weeks, by the time she is released she will do anything she can just to kill the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain she is in – and she will head right to her dealer. How can this be a good thing for her?
I really wonder whose bright idea this is, and I can’t help but think that she is getting a worse deal for being a celebrity; this does not seem like an easy ride to me, which is what most people are probably thinking about this situation, especially when they hear she will only serve a small part of her 90 days.
I know the judge wanted to consequence an addict who behaved recklessly, putting other people’s lives in jeopardy by driving under the influence of mind-altering substances. She wanted to send a message to others who think it’s appropriate to have “attitude” in the courtroom and think they can get away with that kind of behaviour. I am actually in agreement with the judge about this – Lindsay definitely needs the consequences, and without them she may never recover.
But what I am not in agreement with is the punishment that the judge is also meting out to this sick, addicted, young woman. In my opinion, the judge is behaving as recklessly with Lindsay’s life at this point as Lindsay was behaving when she was committing her DUI.
Where is the justice in that?