If Lindsay Lohan is “Pathetic,” Then So Am I: What It Feels Like for a Drug Addict

When Lindsay Lohan failed her drug test last week and tabloids began speculating about her potential return to jail and/or rehab, Gawker headlined the story “Lindsay Lohan Failed Her Drug Test, Is Possibly the Most Pathetic Person Alive.” The ensuing excerpt asked: “Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with this girl? If prison and rehab didn’t help, she’s doomed.”

“What the f*ck is wrong with this girl?”


Isn’t it becoming kind of obvious?

Drug addiction.

That’s what’s “wrong” with “this girl.”

Only an addict would take drugs despite knowing the repercussion would be a failed drug test that would land her back in jail. Only an addict would party the night away at the Beverly Hills Hotel directly after fessing up to fucking up. Because when you’re skating on thin ice, you may as well snort it.

Perhaps you’ve seen the 2o07 photos allegedly showing Lindsay shooting heroin that surfaced yesterday and maybe they gave you a feeling. Maybe you thought she looked “sick,” not “pathetic.” Even if the photos aren’t real, Lindsay has admitted that she has a drug problem. It’s not a secret.

The past week has provided an onslaught of Lindsay-related news as her post-rehab life has gradually fallen apart: Lohan was re-jailed and was facing 28 days imprisonment while awaiting the October 22nd hearing to address her failed drug test. After 14 hours in jail, she was let out on $300,000 bail with a SCRAM bracelet. She may or may not enter rehab voluntarily very soon, and so on.

Celebrity culture isn’t my thing so I hadn’t followed Lindsay Lohan’s trials & tribulations until now, when the cruelty became too great to ignore. Not because she’s “America’s favorite train wreck,” but because her train looks really familiar to me.

Does Lindsay really “want” to get better? I don’t know, nobody knows that but Lindsay, and certainly Perez Hilton doesn’t — although that doesn’t stop him from scrawling “LOST CAUSE” over a LiLo photograph.

We act like kicking a drug addiction is easy. It isn’t easy.

I know this, because I’ve been there.

My name is [redacted] and I am a drug addict and if Lindsay Lohan is the ‘most pathetic person alive’ then I must come in at a close second.

There are no DUI charges on my record, but I’ve been in and out of rehab four times during the last six years.

And although it feels strange to write anonymously on a website which prides itself on openness and honesty,  I have to because although Team Autostraddle accepts me — addictions and all — other employers aren’t generally so understanding. I’m not hiding my identity because I’m embarrassed or shameful. You should know — and maybe you already do — that drug addiction can happen to anyone, to people like you and me, and it requires compassion and understanding, not rejection and cruelty, and, this isn’t the first time we’ve suggested that you give Lohan a f*cking break.

It’s tempting to tell you that I was a drug addict. I’ve been hard-drugs-free for nearly a year now, but my dismal track record of sobriety encourages me to stick with present tense until I’m confident that I’ll never relapse again.

I don’t know the details of Lindsay’s story, but I empathize because I know how it feels to have people treat your addiction like it’s just your personality or lack of morality or rebellious streak that got you into this mess to begin with.

I know what it’s like to be told “get your act together” like it’s just a matter of deciding you’re ready and then doing it.

I know the pressure that accompanies the relief of accomplishing 30 days sobriety, after which everyone expects you to have overcome your illness and remain sober forever. And unlike Lindsay, I at least have the privacy to try and fail as many times as I need to. I don’t know how she lasted a single sober hour because if the first thing I saw upon departing rehab was paparazzi and my opportunistic father shouting his slanderous opinions about me from the media rooftops, you can bet that my very first stop would be my dealer’s house.

According to the media, Lindsay isn’t sick, she’s just a privileged brat who needs to take a long, hard look at herself in the mirror before doing lines from it. But it’s worth noting that Lindsay has been working all her life and made all the money she’s spending herself. She hasn’t even talked shit about anyone, let alone drunkenly ranted Anti-Semetic slurs like Mel Gibson or physically abused other people like drunk Charlie Sheen did. She’s not a “bad person.”

But it’s Lindsay who gets the worst treatment by the media. Internet commenters scream “this is the last straw!” and “I’m done with her!” as if she ever had our support to begin with.


Now before I go on I want to make it clear that I’m not condoning Lindsay drinking and driving. It’s unforgivable. She put the lives of others at risk and deserves whatever sentence the judicial system sees fit, whether that be 84 minutes or 84 years. That’s what the judicial system is there for, after all: it punishes criminals. Perhaps her sentence was unjustly lenient due to her celebrity, as many have suggested, but 5,000 misogynistic internet comments and 36 consecutive back-to-back derogatory headlines aren’t going to change her treatment in court — only political lobbying and activism (Look: it’s MAAD) can do that.

I’m not commenting on her treatment by the legal system, her friends or her employers. I’m commenting only on her abysmal treatment by the media which seems largely unconcerned with the DUI itself. If they were, they’d certainly find a more productive way to keep her off the highway than perpetuating a “ding-dong the witch is dead” attitude.

There’s so much information presently available to the public about the seriousness of drug & alcohol addiction, yet the media disregards this in favor of the cheap shot.


Many people have implied that Lindsay’s problems may have started with, or have been worsened by, her father Michael Lohan, who was arrested for drunk driving long before she was. Maybe it’s the highs and lows of fame, maybe it’s genetic, maybe she just partied out of control, maybe it was the only coping mechanism she knew of when times got tough. We can’t really know what the root of her addiction is, or when it started. It’s likely that she’s been avoiding discovering her “root” by using, after all.

I was 12 the first time I took drugs. My guardian had dealt me a swift boot in the ribs and, lacking medical attention or a trustworthy friend, I coped by gulping down cough syrup and prescription medication from my neighbor’s drug cabinet. It wasn’t easy. I was scared. I knew drugs were bad and stealing was bad and it took an hour to work up the courage to take that first pill. But as scary as that was, it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as the pain shooting through my little chest every breath I took.

When I woke up, I realized I’d found the answer to my problems: the pills. They’d taken away all the pain and sadness. Even at 12, I knew it was stupid to keep taking them but I did anyhow. Every new prescription bottle was a mystery: what was I ingesting? What affect would it have on me and for how long? All I knew was that any drug side effect wouldn’t be as frightening as a steel-capped boot connecting with my ribs or the way my chest nearly exploded when she’d tighten her belt around my neck or the way my skin split open when the leather cat o’ nine was brought down across my back.

My childhood was shit, and I’m not ashamed to admit I didn’t want to live it sober. The pills and their accordant blackouts and limb-numbing cloud-floating fuzzy-head tunnel vision side effects saved my life by granting me a few hours of uninterrupted peace that I couldn’t get anywhere else.

Eventually drugs stopped being scary and started being necessary.

The next twelve years were dedicated to forgetting the first twelve: weed, pills, coke, speed, and at my worst, meth, crack and ice – you name it and I smoked, snorted and freebased it, with very little regard for the consequences.

It wasn’t that I wanted to die. I had dreams of better things: a normal, healthy life filled with love, friends and relationships. But I struggled in making peace with my past and couldn’t move forward. Rather than live or die, I created a state of suspended animation where I shot drugs through my heart & lungs & head and let them tranquilize every nerve, fiber and feeling in my body. Drugs helped me deal with the fact that the people who were supposed to love me and look after me simply abused and abandoned me before I’d even hit puberty or had a chance to disappoint them.

Like many addicts, I lied to everybody and had a misguided sense of morality. I convinced myself that I was a higher grade of addict because at least I didn’t cheat or steal to feed my habit. I didn’t break into cars or steal stereos for a dime-bag.

I was wrong, of course. Lying to people who believed in me made them feel worse than stealing from them would’ve.

I avoided building close friendships or telling people where I lived so that if I went on a bender or had a come-down nobody would miss me.

I could hide the addiction but I couldn’t ever give it up completely, no matter what the repercussions. Not when I was 14, living in a shelter and discovered my friend dead cold on the couch with a shoelace tied around his arm. Not when I was 17 and a friend died in my arms waiting for the ambulance to arrive. I saw worst case scenarios play out before my eyes but I didn’t slow down. If anything, I did MORE drugs to block out the pain of their deaths.

In retrospect, I’m shocked by how easily I separated my conception of these tragic losses from the addiction that caused them. But this is what we do. When Lindsay received her wake up calls – in the form of DUIs or possibly other events that we would no idea about – maybe she wasn’t ready either.

There’s more stories where those come from, stories that should’ve shocked me into sobriety but didn’t. But they’re not gonna shock you either. You’ve heard them all before.

Sometimes I think the only thing that’s actually unique about any junkie’s story isn’t the experiences we had while we were on drugs, but the experiences that made us want to give them up.


It’s hard to admit you’re an addict and it’s even harder to admit that you need help. There’s so much to lose. It’s not returning to an addict lifestyle that makes relapsing so hard, it’s the shame. Letting your loved ones down is the worst and scariest part of your addiction, even moreso when your loved one is a smokin’ hot DJ with a British accent. Every time you relapse, you show the people who love you and who’ve cared for you that you’re not as strong as they thought you were.

Like many addicts, the fear of losing friends and family was so strong that it prevented me from asking for help at all.

Although I’m presently one of those addicts that would be considered “moderate to high functioning,” I didn’t start out that way. If camera phones had existed during my spiral towards rock bottom then I’m sure there’d be plenty of grainy compromising party photos of me, too.

Eventually I learned how to pick my drugs and time my highs so I could hold down a job without raising any suspicion. I lied brilliantly and I “modeled through” jobs much like I imagine Lindsay Lohan has been able to do at least a handful of times; whether it was a guest spot at the MTV VMAs or a photoshoot or charity work. I approached eating and washing and paying bills with the same diligence as I approached sourcing my drug supply for the week.

The first time I became serious about kicking my habit was for a girl. I was lucky: I found someone who believed in me and was prepared to stand by me through my highs and lows and recovery. For the first few weeks that girl was okay with my habits. She didn’t want to change me and was looking for someone a little ‘rebellious’ anyway. Her stance didn’t last: it turns out a girl will only let you fuck her for so long before she asks you to FEEL something.

I didn’t want to lose her so I went to rehab. I talked to therapists and did art and it paid off with a few months of clean living. We were both satisfied and believed I was committed to cleaning myself up for the sake of our relationship. But it didn’t stick. Not really.

Maybe a girl changed Lindsay, too, temporarily. I’ve always thought she looked her happiest and healthiest when her and Samantha Ronson were photographed doing something totally mundane and domestic like pushing a shopping cart through a Whole Foods carpark.

Rehab helped. My habit became lighter as the years passed. But every time I aimed for complete sobriety it never lasted more than a few months. My head would clear and I’d be forced to deal with torturous memories and I couldn’t do it. On top of this I was working in an industry where I was surrounded by drugs and recreational drug users.  It was easy to convince myself that I could be one of them and control my intake this time.

Ultimately nobody can make you change. You have to change for yourself. It’s long and it’s hard and when Lindsay falls off her wagon and people call her “pathetic,” they aren’t helping her and they aren’t helping you or me, either. It’s devastating to hear people expect even less of you than you expect of yourself and it makes getting better really hard.

On this queer website, we try every day to share our own personal experiences in hopes that we can help someone — even just one person — feel less alone or more supported.

So if you’re that one person and you read these headlines about Lindsay Lohan and think nobody gives a fuck about your recovery, either, you’re wrong. If you think your friends and family don’t want to see you healthy, you’re wrong. If you expect everyone to turn their backs on you if you trip up, you’re wrong. I may be just as anonymous as many of you right now, but even at this distance I hope you know that you’re not alone.

And for those who prefer to call Lindsay names and celebrate her demise, I’d like to remind you that, in the paraphrased words of Cady Heron:

Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And rejoicing in the ruining of Lindsay Lohan’s life definitely won’t make you any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.

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    • I couldn’t read this entire dribble. A 12 year old in pain can go to a teacher or neighbor to get medical help. Guess what I was abused asakid too and I’m not a junkie. If you were dumb enough to think drugs took away problems, then you deserve what you get and I hope you die instead of being a parasite onto society.

  1. I disagree. I’m a recovering alcoholic. Lohan isn’t an addict. She is a substance abuser. She wants attention. Why else would she shoot heroin into a camera or pose for a photo with her SCRAM bracelet on ask for $10,000. I’ll tell you why. Lohan isn’t addicted to drugs. She is addicted to herself. Addiction is a physical thing. She had no withdrawal… if you didn’t either. I doubt you were/are and addict… you are in recovery still… but from substance abuse… not addiction. I’d figure someone who has been there would take time to learn the difference. Peace. Jack

    • “She had no withdrawal” — In a message full of absurd presumptions, this stuck out the most. Are you following her around 24/7, Jack? How could you possibly know whether she ‘had withdrawal’?

      I loved when you redefined the author’s life experiences for her as well. You get to say who you are and what’s happened to you, and you also get to say who everyone else is and what’s happened to them! It’s win-win in Assholeville, isn’t it, Jack?

    • I would like you to clarify your statement… explain where and why you draw the line between substance abuser and addict. because I would say that one is a form of the other, but that’s just me. and I am very inclusive when it comes to addictions,having had an eating disorder that was classified as an addiction myself. (that’s long gone, btw)

      also, your point about attention doesn’t convince me, because attention is a major part of addictions. they live on that, and a method to fight addictions or free oneself from co-dependency is to withdraw attention.

      • I know I just commented but I thought you might be interested… In my mum’s rehab, biscuits were banned. Why? Because it’s not all that uncommon for addicts to pick up another addiction whilst giving up their original one – binge eating, bulimia, anorexia etc are all very real risks. I’m sure you already know, but you would be by no means the only one who counted your ED as an addiction.

        (Congrats on your recovery btw – even if it was a long time ago, it must’ve been a hell of a struggle so I still feel the need to say it!)

    • You probably don’t want to hear this… but most of an addiction is psychological. My mum is a recovering alcoholic too and she agrees – that’s the reason why people at rehab sometimes test you to see if you’re likely to cross over into another addiction. Some people are just more prone to addiction than others, especially if they’ve had awful things happen to them which they feel they need to self-medicate for. Physical addiction sucks and sucks majorly but withdrawal is only the half of it. Besides, even if it was most of it, the writer talks about herself taking heroin and meth – there’s definitely a significant period of withdrawal for both.

      I hope you continue to recover and I wish you all the best but drawing lines between different types of addictions is not going to make anyone feel better.

      To the author of this article – respect. I really hope you stay on track and feel proud of yourself for being this open about your substance abuse and the reasons for it. If only everyone could be this honest with their employers, eh? Just another reason to love Autostraddle!

    • How insensitive and arrogant can you be???? How dare you dismiss this person’s story like that?

    • I’m both and alcoholic and a drug addict and one thing that is clear to me is that the only person who can decide who is and isn’t addicted is said person. It’s a personal acceptance and discovery, and your harshness about the subject, and black and white thinking (typing, really) are both closed-minded and inappropriate.

  2. I was just thinking the same thing in my car earlier, like why are people so quick to judge her? After losing my father to a heroin overdose, I know first hand how serious drug addiction is. This is one of those, cases where if the media can’t say anything constructive, then the media should shut the fuck up.

    • I agree Deidre.

      I mean, I understand (though I don’t relate or agree) why someone could argue that it is beneficial or positive for friends, family, or co-workers to take a hard line towards addiction when dealing with Lindsay.

      But the way that the media treats Lindsay — there’s really no responsible defense for that. I don’t really see how anyone could defend bashing a stranger in the media in good conscious.

  3. thanks. been there too. i feel pretty weird about it, because i kicked a habit, but i sometimes think i’m too harsh on other addicts.

    i don’t think addiction is a sickness. i strongly feel it’s a behavior, and one that we chose to do, over and over again. sometimes we choose it because we aren’t aware that any other choices exist, but by my experience, that turns out not to matter much.

    i think if i approached my addiction as a sickness, i never would have stopped. the only way i could stop was to approach it with honesty, and for me, that meant owning up to the fact that it was NOT an illness – it was a choice i repeated again and again. i was a drug addict because i chose to become one. that’s hard for non-addicts to understand, because it doesn’t makes no sense whatsoever, there’s really no logical reason behind it, and wouldn’t it be nicer if we could just explain it by saying it’s biological? there may be some biological element, but who cares? drug addiction is one of the few things that really has only one solution: the addict must choose to stop. since this is true, biology, past history, living conditions, etc. matter shockingly little. these things may help others understand how a person got into this situation, but they don’t mean shit in terms of a solution. harsh, but there it is.

    and even though our insane actions might be understandable to people who know the whole picture. people can’t and shouldn’t tolerate our shit. they SHOULD leave us when we lie, cheat, steal, etc. even when we don’t know how to do any different, they should still do this. doing anything else would be insane, and in some situations, downright dangerous.

    anyway, enough pontificating from me. an awesome article, no doubt, and everyone who has been there will get it. i’m not into pop culture, tv, etc., don’t know who most celebrities are, but i still get your points about this person.

    as for your own situation, i can’t think of any words of encouragement that don’t sound corny, but if you knew me, trust . . . if i can change, it shows change is possible for even the biggest assholes. keep trying, that’s all i can say.

    • “and even though our insane actions might be understandable to people who know the whole picture. people can’t and shouldn’t tolerate our shit. they SHOULD leave us when we lie, cheat, steal, etc. even when we don’t know how to do any different, they should still do this. doing anything else would be insane, and in some situations, downright dangerous.”

      ….and I should have read your comment first. ;) well said.

  4. I completely agree with you..Living in LA you see all sorts of things that you would just think are fabrications or cries of help from these people. BUT guess what? They are in fact real people with real feelings just like the rest of us. I know worse drug addicts that don’t get caught because they aren’t in the public eye. Yes, she has made mistakes. Haven’t we all? Everyone seems to still be interested in what she is doing so she must be doing something right. I have met her a few times and she was seemingly a good, smart, down to earth person.

    We are all going through constant struggles of life.. she is no exception.. and dont believe all that the media says.. I MEAN COME ON. :)

  5. Hmmm. I’m getting tired of this whole addict martyrdom, if you don’t want to become a drug addict then don’t take drugs, it’s really not that hard, you chose your path.

    • Right? I mean, the author chose to have abusive guardians, what did she expect? I’m so glad I chose better people to be born to. The feeling of moral superiority is the only high I need!

      • Very true. When I read all that I started thinking about privilege and how love, care and solidarity is also an area which can carry many inequalities.

        Its true that we all make our own choices and have to be responsible for them but I’d bet its a lot easier to make good ones when you’ve got loving supporting parents or guardians instead of abusive ones.

      • if everybody who had abusive, gardians/parents most of the world would be on hard drugs. If I’m “morally superior” for having common sense then I am morally superior.

    • What. Re-read this.

      I was 12 the first time I took drugs. My guardian had dealt me a swift boot in the ribs and, lacking medical attention or a trustworthy friend, I coped by gulping down cough syrup and prescription medication from my neighbor’s drug cabinet.

      But as scary as that was, it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as the pain shooting through my little chest every breath I took.

      • I wasn’t referring to the writer of this article, but rather the majority of drug addicts, most addicts don’t start with prescription medication, they start with harder, recreational drugs, let’s be real here.

        And lol @ “moral superiority”, I prefer to call it common sense, Cassandra.

    • hell of a thing to say, but it’s true. i’m glad it is, too. i sure as hell don’t have the answers to every bad thing that i experienced or did in my life, so the only way i could work my situation (read my comments above) was to approach from the angle Reality Check describes.

      now if you want to JUDGE a drug addict, good fuckin luck . . .

      and by the way, my way isn’t the “right” way. whatever gets you out of the addiction hole, hey, more power to ya.

  6. Thank you.

    That was illuminating, poignant, and probably the most sensible thing anyone will ever write about Lindsay Lohan.

    I’ve no first-hand experience with drug addiction, but a few things you mentioned put me in mind of a documentary I saw, Diary of a Heroin Addict.

    I think your words expressed it perfectly, but for anyone for whom the visual resonates more strongly, I implore you to watch all that documentary, and defy you not to be moved.

  7. “Ultimately nobody can make you change. You have to change for yourself.”


    and just to clarify something – even if a person has an addiction/disorder/whatsoever, it does explain a lot but it doesn’t excuse bad behavior. it doesn’t give another person a free pass on bullshit. you can ask that person to live up to their responsibilities and if they don’t, you may walk away. you might not, because you are a human being with a heart and feelings and good morals, but you would be allowed to if you wanted to and if anything happens to the person while you’re away you are not the one to blame.
    this sounds harsh, and it has to, because addictions are harsh.

    don’t judge people, but remind them that they are people who have responsibilities.
    and I think a lot of people with addictions/disorders know this or they learn it and even though they oftentimes disappoint everyone who means anything to them, they care and they hurt.
    [I for my part did and it still hurts sometimes.]

  8. I think that even though this was written anonymously, the fact that it was written HONESTLY is more important. The fact that these words are being said, IMHO, overrides the actual specifics of just WHO is writing this. And every time someone’s honest about their actual experience – especially when, for example, in the case of drug addicts/users, a certain group of people are stereotyped in a certain way that often depicts them as unintelligent, unaware and incoherent – it widens what we can see as the ACTUAL experience of a person, and a group of people sharing that trait.

    I don’t want to condone hard-drug use at all. But shit happens, and people go through shit, and some shit that people have to go through is considerably less socially acceptable/understood than other shit.

    So I guess what I want say is: well-written, and anonymous, you’re fucking brave for being able to put this into words. I know there’s things in my life I’d have difficulty doing the same with, even anonymously.

  9. Finally! Someone who understands what Lindsay is going through, my family has a long history of addiction and substance abuse, my cousin died in a car crash due to being drunk and not wearing her seatbelt, my mother’s brother had a crippling heroin addiction that sent him down a path of destruction and he died before I was born, my grandmother became an alcoholic after a traffic accident when I was younger, so i’m all too familar with the behavior of addicts. It’s painful to watch someone you love get consumed by their addictions, and I can only imagine how horrible it is for Lindsay’s siblings to watch her name get dragged through the mud by the media every single day while she struggle’s with her addiction. It’s really easy for people to look down upon Lindsay while judging and insulting her, but doing that dosen’t automatically make you a better person then she is, if anything it makes you worse. Also Lindsay isn’t insulting or trying to hurt anybody unlike Mel Gibson (whom i’ve lost a great deal of respect for after hearing about his domestic abuse) Yes she did a stupid thing by driving drunk twice no doubt, but i’m not so sure i’d say it’s unforgiveable, my cousin killed herself driving drunk, but she wasn’t doing it for cheap thrills, she did it because her boyfriend broke up with her and she didn’t handle it very well, i’m not trying to defend her actions, just saying I can understand why she did it. While Lindsay probably was trying for cheap thrills by driving drunk(though her parents certainly did her no favors like you said, they never tried to stop her from partying all night long or told her to stay away from horrible role models like Hilton and they seem to enjoy exploiting her problems as long as it gets them paid), you can’t the say the same thing about her relapsing, I heard she relapsed because Ronson left to celebrate with Nicole Ritchie in Mexico without telling her, which caused her to go crazy trying to find out where she was, and whether it was out of fear, anger, desperation, or all of the above, she ended up relapsing, sounds pretty similar to what my cousin went through, don’t you think? I’m not trying to justify or defend her using again, just saying I can understand why she did it. Anyways she does seem committed to getting better now, I hope and pray that someday she will be able to overcome her addiction once and for all.

  10. Didn;t read this I am over lindsay. She is not just fucked up she is dumb. And I have no tolerance for stupid people with everything. I do like her hair in the last picture though.

    • You are entitled to your opinion to her, but i do think the article is really well written you should give it a shot even if you hate Lindsay.

        • Oh, I didn’t think you were. I just thought you might get something out of the article. I also don’t really have much of a connection to Lohan, but the article to me personally was still pretty effective.

        • The article wasn’t even really about LiLo; it was a personal story. I really think you (and everyone else) should take the five minutes to actually read it.

  11. i wish there was a way lindsay could read this. this was incredibly well written, poignant, and authentic. it is truly a shame that popular culture is so interested in seeing others fail and transposing false motives onto their actions for the sake of higher hits to their website, more magazine sales, or a simple vindictive nature. kudos to autostraddle for permitting a legitimate and heartfelt viewpoint to be heard–one which ought to receive much greater attention.

  12. This is a perspective that we don’t get to see often enough. & it’s wonderfully stated.

    I’m not an addict – hopefully never will be – but I have loved more than my fair share of addicts in various stages of addiction and recovery, and while I’m certain that holds little weight against being the addict, it’s an incredibly tough road to voluntarily (if love is voluntary) walk on. For as often as you want to walk away, thinking it would be easier that way, it is so fucking hard to take those steps — just as, I have no doubt, it is to quell or cease an addiction.

    Thank you for this.

  13. Celebrity gossip is so damaging to so many people. Not just to the celebrities, but the people who buy the mags and buy into the ideas being fed them. It’s horrible it’s even allowed to exist. Celebrities are people too for fuck’s sake. They’re no better than us just like we’re no better than them when they fall.

    This article was beautiful and brave. I hope you all the best and am sending my love. This world needs more compassion. For everybody.

  14. Having lost a family friend after the long-term, downward spiral of alcoholism, this article gave me a lot of feelings.
    This type of thing is never as cut and dry as the media/society make it out to be. It takes a longgg time for someone to make a lasting change.. and that’s assuming they’re even ready and wanting to.
    To the author: this was beautifully written, and a side of the story we rarely see. Keep fighting your fight- we’re all behind you.

  15. HOW DOES THIS ONLY HAVE 25 TWEETS JESUS CHRIST. i am so thankful to work for a place that published this, and this gives me so many feelings i can’t even. thank you.

  16. It’s worth remembering too that celebrity culture isn’t exactly real. To judge Lindsay harshly is like judging the caricature of someone we actually know nothing about. How much of our opinion of her is based on paparazzi shots and gossip?

    I think it would be an incredibly shallow approach to hate on someone for their addiction when we know nothing of the true reasons or circumstances behind their addiction.

    • That may be the case, but tbh I am really damn tired of hearing about Lindsay Lohan. She’s gotten too many breaks and if she was either working class or of color, her behind would have been UNDER the jail by now…I have no sympathy for her.

      • “She’s gotten too many breaks and if she was either working class or of color, her behind would have been UNDER the jail by now…”

        tough to deny that point, for sure.

        • absolutely. which is why we should focus on doing everything we can to change a racist, classist and fundamentally unjust legal system. that’s where we should direct our anger, activism and outrage — not at Lindsay freaking Lohan.

  17. Exactly this. Exactly.

    Lindsay’s treatment by the press and public so offends me because it is so inappropriately an attack on her personally and also so abusively an attack on addicts and addiction.

    Addiction manifests in so many different ways so differently in so many people, and not all addictions look similar to this, to the way Lindsay’s looks from the outside, but a lot of people and experiences and lives are also being attacked when Lindsay is attacked. And addiction is mother-fucking hard. So it needs to stop. It all needs to stop.

    This is amazing. You are amazing, anon. And so exactly right about this. xx.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you the best of luck in your recovery and hope that everything goes well in your life from this point onwards.

  19. This is beautiful. I’ve never struggled with drug addiction, but I have had to deal with eating disorders and self injury, which I, like an above poster, definitely consider addictions in their own right. So many people think it’s as simple as, “Just don’t do it.” or “Just eat more” or “Stop eating so much”. Addictions are hard, there’s so much more going on than just willpower and being a “good person”.

    I think that every person ever should read this before making judgments about someone else.

  20. My father was an alcoholic. I remember sitting in his truck when I was 16 and begging him to stop drinking. I told him that if he really loved me he would quit. He started to cry and said, “I really love you but I can’t quit.” At the time, I did believe that he loved me but also believed he was making a choice. Now, as a parent myself with the awareness of how I feel about my children, I know that it wasn’t a choice.

    Thanks for sharing your story anon.

  21. It took me 15 years to quit smoking. I was 25 – so you can do the math. I was the only 7th grader in the high school smoking area. I STILL crave it. I still fail sometimes.

    I can’t imagine how a person could ever successfully cope alone in a situation like yours. Being so young and being failed so miserably by those that were supposed to love and protect you. I commend you for sharing what I’m sure is a very private and personal journey ~ anon or not. Thank you.

    We all make our own choices in this life, it’s true. Many of us are currently living with the results of those choices and (as you pointed out) most of us are able to cope and maneuver privately to solid ground. Something a lot of people in the public eye can’t do.

    When I see pictures of Lindsay I just feel extremely sad. But then I think of Drew Barrymore and I realize that there’s hope.

    Everyone should be allowed hope.

    What else is there in life besides a hope for happiness?
    I don’t think anyone should ever crush another person for trying to navigate their path in life towards that.

    Especially since we’re all traveling different terrain… “may the wind be at your back.”

  22. I read this at an interesting time. I have started seeing this girl, and she revealed something to me last week oh-so-casually. She used to be a ‘druggie, a drug dealer’ and when she had just given up dealing drugs but needed a large sum of money, she became a call girl – this in spite of her abuse at the hands of her stepfather and subsequent misandry. I’ve been struggling with this and trying to figure out how I feel about it, if I can be ok with this.

    Although she did all of these things at a time when your ability to make logical judgments was dismal at best – those teenage years when every emotion was heightened and a breakup could mean the end of the world or a life – I still am processing this information. I have been researching what drives a person to both of these avenues, trying to understand it. This article has helped me to comprehend some of what happened to her, and how much choice actually played a part.

  23. I seriously question the addiction claims. I think drug abuse is one of her ways of coping and self-medicating but I don’t know how extensive it is. She cuts for sure, her mother admitted it. She expressed that she has a tough time being alone. When the court appointed psychiatrists to review her they recommended a psych ward at UCLA, not traditional rehab. The psych ward took her out of inpatient rehab but TMZ made up a story of what UCLA found yet UCLA never commented on what they found. All we know is she was released after 23 days. She was ordered by a judge to do 6 meetings of psychotherapy and 5 meetings on drug abuse. She really only failed one drug test but she’s been testing since May 24 for drugs, that’s months of testing clean. I think the drugs are only a part of Lindsay’s self-destructive behavioral patterns. She has a prescription for zoloft, a very strong anti-depressant. She may be seriously clinically depressed or have a personality disorder such as histrionic or borderline personality disorder. That’s what I think her underlying problem is, and drug abuse is part of that problem. I don’t think it ends at substance addiction at all, that’s a symptom.

      • It can, it’s dual-diagnosis. That’s what was recommended for Lindsay. The thing is, Lindsay can get clean and sober for awhile, but if she doesn’t work on her underlying issue then she’ll still behave erratically at times in a self-destructive manner, and likely end up back abusing substances. The media only focusing on the drug part is harmful when people have dual-diagnosis. It’s much more than getting clean and sober, it’s really about learning life-coping skills due to being hard-wired differently when sober and managing that.

        • I see your point. I also can’t imagine that constantly relapsing into drug abuse isn’t great for her mental health either, though. Seems (from what little I know) like it needs a double-barreled approach…

  24. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so important for stories like yours to be heard so that there can ultimately be that much more understanding, and less judgement surrounding addiction in the world.

    Like many others, this article gave me a lot of feelings. While I am not an addict myself, my sister has been struggling with an opiate addiction for the past seven years. Just yesterday I received some difficult news about her current situation w/r/t her addiction, so I cannot even begin to explain how grateful I am for the timing of this piece.

    I don’t know very many people who have loved ones who are addicts, so it’s rare that I have the space to talk about addiction with others who are in it themselves, and have had similar experiences to my own. To those of you with family, friends and loved ones who are addicts; where have you found support for yourself? Do you go to meetings? Something else? What has helped you?

    Thank you, Autostraddle, for creating a space for so many important issues. xo

    • to me, the meetings are for the birds. as stated above, i was an addict, but i’ve also been the friend, and i’ve been the family member. meetings = “i am powerless over my addiction,” a death knell if ever i heard one. go to the same people you usually go to for support.

      love your sister, but don’t put up with her shit, and don’t take what she’s doing personally. addicts don’t think about shit like being a good person, or who feels what way. they think about getting high. it really is that simple.

      good luck with all of it. sometimes “progress” doesn’t look like much. even when i was laid out on the ground, i was still hopeful and planning my escape.

      • I’m not sure that the statement “addicts don’t think about shit like being a good person” is true for everyone. I care very much about being a good person.

        Rach – many people have told me that they’ve found family & friend support groups to be very helpful, that there’s comfort in talking through issues with people who can really understand what it’s like to have an addicted loved one. Maybe a good place to start would be to see if one of these websites have meetings in your area:

        • in that case, you’re a hell of a lot better person than i was! perhaps i was too heavy-handed with my statement. me personally? i seriously did not give one fuck about trying to do right.

          forgive my hardcore ass, all. i deal in the tangible facts on the ground, and yes, i’m aware that this sometimes makes me come off sounding like an ass. i’m workin’ on it!

  25. This was so well done and I’m glad it got posted.

    There were a lot of tremendously fucked reasons why I could and perhaps should have fallen prey to drugs or some other sort of life-ruining addiction when I was much younger, and I still struggle to understand how some of us manage to escape it and some of us don’t, or can’t.

    The older I get, the more I realize that the hows and whys don’t much matter, and as you point out so eloquently, Anon, it all begins because you have to survive somehow.

    For Lindsay, it seems like a lot of things must break before she can even fathom living clean. The media circus holds some of those things together for her with the sick fervor of mob mentality.

    Have you ever read those ridiculous horror novels where you can’t get why the idiot dummies in the book don’t just leave town or whatever, to get away from the monster at their heels? I’ve always suspected that Lindsay must feel like that’s her reality. Trapped in pages, trapped in a shit plot chosen for her, and struggling against it only makes her tired, despondent and sunk deeper in shame.

    I wish I knew – I wish someone knew – what logistics and tactical moves and medical savvy are needed to successfully rescue someone like Lindsay. When you’re a celebrity, how do you meet and trust the girl you don’t want to lose and go to rehab for? When your family is shit and you can’t trust them, who is left? When your friends clearly aren’t, who is left?

    CRAZY LESBIAN FANS, THAT’S WHO. We also have next to nothing to lose.

    Plus, I wonder if Gavin de Becker would be willing to lend his expertise to hide her away from the press and other abusive/enabling characters in her life to at least give her a running start. It’s lofty thinking, but it could save her life. She ought to consider it. Covert mobile rehab ops! Operation LiLo!

  26. This article definitely made my “things to be thankful for today” list. Raw and powerful; a basic truth that strikes home with every syllable written. Thank you anonymous for sharing such an incredible story.

  27. auch.. this made me cry :(
    i’m an alcoholic.. been drinking every night alone since i was 13, now 24….
    im at the best university in my country studying civil engineering and somehow even when showing up drunk at exams.. i still pass every class :/
    been in rehab a couple of times.. mostly cuz of my parents.. but never recovered.. i just hide it cuz of them..
    it feels so bad to make theem spend all that money in rehab when u know ure not gonna recover.
    and it just kills me every time they find an empty bottle on my room,… they just look so tired of trying….. SAD! :(

    • hang in there . . . i did something similar. don’t beat yourself up over it. things can get better.

  28. I’m not good with words, and I don’t know how to put what I think into a coherent sentence, but I do know I want to say thank you for writing this, for sharing your experience, and int eh process influencing the way I will forever see the world.

  29. also, let’s talk about queers and drug use. A friend who’s been using for years just got gay bashed. his eye is fucked, jaw is in the wrong spot, and his head has an actual dent in it. here we go down the spiral again . . .

    • Yes! I’ve been saying this all along. I can’t imagine being a queer girl in the public eye and in a really queer-unfriendly world is anything even remotely resembling easy.

  30. wow….Anon, this was a brilliantly written article and it really hit home. Thank you for your honesty.

    Like many others I have struggled with addiction and for myself it was pure escapism.
    I wanted that, I wanted not to care and I wanted to feel “better”. I wanted bad things to “go away” when really they were just lurking behind a corner.

    My heart goes out to Lindsay, even though I haven’t been following her story too much, the media grabs still “hurt” me.

    Thank you Anon.

  31. Posts like this are what I love about this big ball of connections called the internet — those intermittent perfectly-written insights into a bit of the world I didn’t know existed, a way of looking at things that had never occured to me, so I realise how much I take for granted and how much I don’t know. And then I am equipped to go out a be a little bit less of an asshole to the people society wants to condemn/pretend don’t exist.

    This was amazing, and like Nicole it has changed how I’m gonna look at drugs/addiction forever. Thanks Anon.

  32. dear author, yr story made me weep. as a long recovering addict and current girlfriend of an addict/abuser, i understand where you are coming from and more importantly, where Lindsay is coming from. i wish you luck and love for yr compassion and most of all, yr bravery. this stranger on the other side of the world believes in you. and i believe in lindsay too. i did it. that means you can too.

  33. THANK YOU. Addiction is fucking hard and American media is fucking stupid. It’s good to see that so many of these comments are supportive.

  34. I think that if you wouldn’t scream abuse at an addict in the street, then you should no way do it on the internet. And if you would scream abuse in the street, then there’s something wrong with you!

    Bravo to the author for having the guts to write this and I’m glad you’ve been free for the year.

  35. If someone fell into a frozen lake for dancing on it, would you boo and throw rocks at them?!

    What a sick sad world we live in where all the name calling distracts us from the fact that Lindsay’s STILL drowning. I’m not trying to raise money for a privileged white girl but good lord with all that at your disposal already and addiction still hasn’t been bested?! It’s amazing addicts and abusers ever recover but for that I am very thankful for. :)

    Amazing story Anon, keep on believing in yourself because once you best it once you know it’s not only possible but doable. I know some of us are challenged in ways that could end the best of us several times over. I have mad respect for anyone who can challenge those internal demons.

    Have our tabloids been taking notes from 4chan and Wesboro?

    Our society eats it up! I’m boycotting until the messages reflect our society at large but if this is “society at large” then I want nothing to do with it.

    Share love and respect with whoever you meet. I’ll step into hell to help a true friend in a heartbeat but even if you don’t have someone that close just hang in there, tell yourself it’s not impossible, and find an outlet of respect. Even Air Jordan sucked at basketball when he started.

    I’m not a Christian but I respect the hell out of Jesus (maybe that’s one way to heaven). One more seemingly cheesy line: Be the change you want to see in the world. ONE LOVE (hehe, okay, one more)

    • I would laugh, why? because no one but yourself went on top of that frozen lake to dance, knowing that the ice might break. Just like people who “try” drugs just for fun, knowing that there is a chance of getting addicted to it. Yeah some might go ahead and say “oh you don’t know their past, what they’re going through…” STILL NOT AN EXCUSE. sorry!

      • i’m going to try to show you a different point about this.

        i used to work at a job with mentally disabled people. one person would repeatedly slam her head against the wall, floor, etc. she would coil up all the force she could muster, and just unload. it was insane, and i wondered why the hell a person would do this. she had major head injuries because of it. it must have hurt like hell. it was something she chose to do (yes, mentally disabled people can make choices).

        it dawned on me that this was just her version of self-destructive behavior – something we all engage in. people do this shit when they are scared, stressed, threatened, don’t have self-esteem, whatever. some people get drunk too much, starve, binge eat, get high, or whatever else. she smashed her head. not as “socially acceptable” as doing drugs or going on insane spending sprees, but it’s the same.

        realizing this humanized her to me. when people become addicts, they are doing something stupid that is their full responsibility. everyone in their right mind knows that. but people are human, and this shit happens. what shit do you do that you know is destructive? use that to understand others.

        i see your point of view, but if things were that simple . . .

  36. Thank you for sharing your story and for being so boldly honest.

    I don’t struggle with addiction but I do struggle with my mother in her alcoholism. This was something important to read. I wish there was a way for this to reach and touch everyone that needs it.

    Thank you, again.

  37. I wonder if everybody would be all understanding and defensive of Lindsay if while driving under the influence she had killed a perfectly innocent little child.

  38. thank you so much for this article! I have been dealing with depression for a long time and I can relate to so much of this. The “Why don’t you just snap out of it?”-question is so hard. Because, of course you want to feel better, but it doesn’t work that way.

  39. as long as the media continues to glamorize substances (yes, alcohol) addiction and substance abuse will continue to be misunderstood, and without education.

    it takes an incredibly strong person to admit their addiction for educations sake, and stay anonymous. good for you, and thank you.

  40. I find judgement over addiction such an interesting thing. People who have experienced addiction should come from a place of understanding and people who have no experience with addiction should come from a place of empathy because frankly, if you haven’t lived in someone else shoes, who are you to judge their actions?

    I’m so saddened by the fact that we have so many readers who aren’t willing to put aside their self-righteous, superior attitudes and see how brave it is for someone to write about an incredibly difficult past and an addiction which they strive to overcome. However, I’m also so touched by this article and its writers courage for sharing their story.

    On another note, we have become so obsessed with celebrity in this country that we feel like we can read an article or see an image of someone like Lohan and immediately we are allowed to judge them. If you are spending a lot of time hating people you don’t even know, its time to get a new hobby.

    • “If you are spending a lot of time hating people you don’t even know, its time to get a new hobby.”

      HEAR, HEAR!

    • this is a perfect, measured and adult response to so much blind, childish babbling.
      robin, you are the perfect human.

    • This comment was really heartening to read. Coming from a neuroscience background, I am always a bit amazed to hear the opinions that people harbour about addiction, mental illness etc. There have been a few on this page that have literally made me want to poke my eyes out. There is a very strong body of evidence and great amount of literature establishing real neurobiological mechanisms underlying the development of addiction and continued, compulsive drug seeking behaviours. I will avoid the science babble here, but drugs of abuse are well known to activate the same reward-based learning pathways that normally mediate our responses to motivational natural sitmuli, and to manifest real physical changes in the brain (such as synapse remodelling). Just type in “addiction and reward” into PubMed – there are over 1000 published papers on this topic. It is easy to quibble about the factors that influence people initially take drugs and to approach the whole subject from a judgemental point of view, but ultimately no one is helped by this attitude. It is admirable that the author was willing to share her story, and I only hope that people’s understanding of addiction will improve over time.

  41. hi i’m [name removed] and i’m an addict/alcoholic. my sobriety date is may 5, 2005.

    every time i see another celeb surface with an addiction problem, i cringe…because i know that pain.

    i’ve only had to change one thing to stay sober; that one little thing is EVERYTHING. even after putting together years, i know that my sobriety is a daily reprieve which is based on the maintenance of my spiritual condition. i work the 12 steps on the regular…with my sponsor. most importantly, i don’t take that first drink or drug.

    i had to get completely honest with myself and others.

    they told me when i got sober that the good news is that i’ll be able to feel again & that the bad news is that i’ll be able to feel again.

    if anyone is struggling with addiction & wants help check out http://www.aa.org

    • “the good news is that i’ll be able to feel again & that the bad news is that i’ll be able to feel again”


  42. Excellent article–that can’t have been easy to write, and it was beautifully done.

    I personally have had a ton of sympathy for Lohan–but I lost of lot of that when she faced a judge with the words “fuck you” etched into her nail polish. I don’t know if that’s evidence of a complete disconnect from how much legal trouble she’s in, or actually an attempt to get herself locked up since she’s getting no help managing her addiction on the outside, or something else entirely. I’d be really curious how that read to someone with more experience with/knowledge about addictive behavior.

  43. Thank you for writing this. This is invaluable perspective- I am glad to have autostraddle’s relevant and still emotionally overwhelming response to the recent Lilo events.
    Anon- thank you for writing this- because such honesty is true bravery. thank you for sharing your story- I think everyone here needed to hear it. I think EVERYONE needs to hear it. I wish you continued success in your recovery.

  44. You are the bravest, most humble, compassionate and most non-judgmental person I’ve ever known and I love you.

  45. Thank you so much for this well written, heartfelt piece filled with true insight. You are appreciated.

  46. Thank you for writing such an insightful & supportive piece. I hope Lindsay reads it.

    I often wonder what it must be like for Lohan to read so many negative comments (particularly from women) saying she’s a “lost cause” (and the rest).

    It disturbs the hell out of me that so many people think a young woman is ‘over’ at 24, because she’s going through tribulations. What kind of mentality are these people sending to their own kids – a few bumps in the road of life and you may as well end it?

    I’m glad Britney & Mariah didn’t listen, when the world told them they were finished.

  47. As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, reading this was refreshing. The idea that one is always a recovering addict- never a recovered addict- is something people who haven’t truly been there don’t understand. I tell people if it comes up in casual conversation, but I don’t go out of my way to let people know, and the response is always negative except for my best friend. But I won’t pretend I don’t have a problem as long as it doesn’t affect my work life. I’ve relapsed, and I want to change, but being where what made me go into that life hasn’t changed one bit, I’m finding it impossible.

    Sorry if this was rambling, just wanted to say; awesome article is awesome.

  48. “…it’s worth noting that Lindsay has been working all her life and made all the money she’s spending herself. She hasn’t even talked shit about anyone, let alone drunkenly ranted Anti-Semitic slurs like Mel Gibson or physically abused other people like drunk Charlie Sheen did. She’s not a “bad person.”
    But it’s Lindsay who gets the worst treatment by the media. Internet commenters scream “this is the last straw!” and “I’m done with her!” as if she ever had our support to begin with.”

    Yup, yup, yup. Thanks for this. The media treatment of Lindsay Lohan has pissed me off so hard for so long. And the kicker is that the gay media is kicking at her too, with steel toed boots. It’s friggin’ appalling. Reading this actually made me feel like I wasn’t alone in being outraged. There’s a shitload of misogynist and homophobic undercurrents (hell… overtones) to all the coverage. What gets lost is that at the heart of all this is a human who is fighting a bunch of demons with a support network that is shaky at best (and in the case of her father, downright toxic).

  49. I completely agree with the fact that we should leave her alone, its the only way for her to get the help that she needs. I’ve been clean and free from an eating disorder for over a year and a half. It started off years before anyone noticed, they were willing to over look those early signs because i was a talented athlete and there were other problems in my family at the time(the reason i started in the first place). It took collapsing in the front of a classroom while overdosing followed by a forced detox, to shake me. My friends came to my house, i refused to see them. They called, i turned off my phone. All i wanted was to be left alone.
    I went in and out of rehab 3 times in that following year. The first time, i did it so i could get out. With no plans to stay sober. The 2nd time, i didnt even try. I went to as i like to call it an institute(white walls and it smelled like a hospital), and when i didnt try they didnt either. The 3rd time when i was actually committed it getting better. I had to find a place that worked, that i felt comfortable in. When that happened and i was devoted, it worked by encouraging me to work.
    For me it took withdrawing into a place where i felt safe and cutting contact with everyone in my old life. As the months went by and i got stronger, i slowly started to make contact with the people i felt safe with. My family, i couldn’t have done it without them and i dont know how Lindsay will be able to do it at all. Between constantly being chased by the paparazzi(they sit outside just waiting to get a shot, i cant imagine that) and a family that seems to be exploiting her every move, im sad to think that she really has no chance.
    Im all for freedom of press, but this is overkill. It’s putting this girls life in danger. So are the drugs. There both fueling a cycle that going to be impossible to stop while the other exists (omg its like harry potter and voldemort!!). But it seriously is, ones got to stop, and she has control over neither. Forcing her into rehab obviously isnt working, then maybe stopping the other will.

  50. It is so easy to lose our compassion and generosity when get caught up in celebrity media and listen to people who make their living being sensational, small, gossipy and shitty to other human beings. Thank you who ever you are for this. For reminding us all that none of us, at a basic human level, is better or worse than another. And that it is always better to have a generous and compassionate heart.

  51. Dear Anon,
    Thank you so much. These are the stories, the words, the experiences, the truths that need to be heard…over and over and over again.

    Thank you!

  52. I hope LiLo finds and reads this. This move her and let her know that people of different life stories still believe in her even with all the brain-washing articles that haters keep sending out. I’m pretty confident that this time, she can recover for good. Slowly but surely.

  53. Your article brought me to tears and I hope as a new generation of synthetic heroin addicts, in addition to the drugs we all are well aware of, I would love to see a light shed on the growing epidemic instead of a gross shadow that makes us ‘junkies’ hide our addictions from the people that love us most. Its one article but if it opens even one mind it was a gift to someone.

    Good luck with all your successions.

    -a junkie with hope

  54. Beautiful article.

    My dad abandoned us when i was 6 and then mom started beating me up when she was high on benzos until i was 14 and she couldn´t anymore. You seemed to have had it worse then me and anybody with any experience of that kind of pain would be right in bringing a world of pain on these self righteous scum.

    that´s my share of sharing for this year.

  55. Thank you. I’m really tired of listening to people talk about individuals dealing with drug addiction as if they’re just weak or lazy or “pathetic”.

    I was in and out of rehab, I was arrested and sent to jail 4 times in the course of 3 months, and that didn’t stop me. I tore open my own throat with a beer bottle and spent 2 months comatose in the hospital and that didn’t stop me either.

    It takes time, and support, and who knows how many eye-opening experiences for you to move on with your life, and even then it’s never certain.

  56. I have been down that road too.. its a difficult journey and you need strength… the people that blast her are the real demons.. they can’t throw out their hands to help her? We may not know where we are going, but as long as we try…..

    Check out http://www.hotrehab.com

    a rehab and recovery website.

  57. i’m all teary now. this essay is raw and real and it makes a difference. I cant’ even formulate what i want to say into words, but i’ll try.

    I have bipolar disorder. i’m 25 years old and in the last 7 years i’ve put myself in the psychiatric ward 6 times either for cutting or fearing so intensely that i would. Am I “recovered?” I don’t know. I still think about it. Any time i’m stressed i know that hurting myself will make the emotional pain go away. that I won’t have to deal with my homophobic brother in law, or the feelings that i’m not good enough for my girlfriend. I won’t have to face that i’m 25, intelligent and work in a warehouse because this illness has made it really fucking hard to finish college. I’ve astounded psychiatric professionals though, in the mere ability to hold down a full time job for almost two years and maintain a relatively healthy relationship. it was only 4 years ago that I applied for disability because neither I nor anyone else saw a future for me beyond living in a home and maybe having a part time job.

    We all have our ways to escape. For some of us, it’s the internet, video games, tv, movies, exercise. For others it’s drugs and alcohol. Why do we judge so harshly when someones escape is more dangerous than ours?

    Random(ish) thought. I HATE that it is way more scary for me to be out about having bipolar disorder than it is to be out as a lesbian.

  58. I’m really not sure how i’ve only just stumbled across this article… But i can say for the first time in my life i’ve felt normal. I got onto drugs at twelve as a result of abuse. I’ve been through rehab three times and i’m only 19. I’ve been off “hard” drugs for almost six weeks. The hardest part of rehab? Learning to live, feel and function again. Nothing hurts more than the look of hopelessness and disappointment from the people who love you the most because they don’t understand what the fuck you’re doing with your life when you have so much potential. An understanding person is a rare find.

  59. Great article and I whole-heartedly agree and understand. I myself am on day 3 clean after another relapse that nearly took my sanity and would eventually have taken my freedom and life. Just one thing I’m confused on- are not speed, meth, and ice the same thing? This part of the article has me wondering if you simply took whatever drugs were around without caring what the substance was or if you became particularly fond of crank long enough to know its many names. Meth (speed, crank, Tina, crystal) was my drug of choice, but the needle was my downfall from the beginning. I did heroin often simply to stall the inevitable loss of my sanity from shooting crank.

  60. I love this so much. I remember reading it a few years ago and have just been reminded of it through the big mental health post.

    I don’t know what to say other than that I really appreciate the attitudes/compassion Autostraddle demonstrates and always feel better about the world after reading any of these personal essays. What would we do without you.

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