Lindsay Lohan Gets Normal: So Can You with the Life Process Program

Stanton Peele By: Dr. Stanton Peele

Posted on November 11th, 2022 - Last updated: October 6th, 2023
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There are two ways of viewing how people emerge from addiction: the “recovery” route, where people fight an “illness” forever, versus the natural, developmental one. In the latter case, the person progresses naturally by maturing and gaining a sound grounding in life.


Lindsay Lohan illustrates these alternative views. Lohan was once regarded as the most incorrigible of young actress alcoholic-addicts gone wrong. I described this view of her in 2021, based on her problems through her twenties: 

Then came the troubled Lindsay, who—still making films and music—took over managing her life from her troubled parents. Self-management didn’t work well for Lohan, and she was hospitalized in 2006, aged 20, for “exhaustion” while filming, leading to her being deemed unreliable by Hollywood producers. This crescendoed into a series of drunken episodes and traffic arrests, court involvements and repeated rehab stays.

Thus Lohan entered a period when she was regarded, and regarded herself, as alcoholic, including attending AA. Oprah Winfrey interviewed Lohan in 2013 after a recent stint in rehab and elicited a somewhat hesitant acknowledgement from Lohan that she was an “addict.” In 2014 Oprah produced an eight-episode docuseries, Lindsay, in which Lohan did not appear altogether self-possessed, with repeated reports that she had been partying and drinking.

But, from the start, in the Wall Street Journal in 2007, I have described an alternative path for her:

Ms. Lohan needs to grow up, realize her talents and find ways to fill her time that aren’t self-destructive. Coming to see herself as an adult, accepting responsibility, and developing pride in her skills are difficult but time-tested therapeutic techniques. These are things Ms. Lohan won’t learn in standard treatment programs.

By 2021, as I showed in “The Reassuringly Normal Recovery of Lindsay Lohan,” this path had come to fruition:

As people age, accept adult responsibilities, and assume age-appropriate maturity, which can be sooner or later in the context of different lives, most grow out of addiction. Whether or not they are in a program or drink is not the primary source of their wellbeing. Having a purposeful life is. And this is the true recovery story.

People were suspicious about whether this had occurred for Lindsay. Now Cosmopolitan has published a day-in-the-life piece titled: “Eight Hours With Lindsay Lohan.”

In which the icon—and new Cosmo cover star—digs into her first Netflix project, surviving early-2000s paparazzi, her friendship with Al Pacino, married life in Dubai, and what comes next.

Lindsay is finally being accepted as a regular human being, a personhood to which even those with the worst addictions can aspire.

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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