The world is full of “Lindsay Lohans.” They keep people working — like attorneys, judges, law enforcement, correctional officers and me. I have been working in mental health for 20 years and addiction, chaos, and the law have all been a prevalent theme surrounded by depression and anxiety.
The judge might order the standard — go to a Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers Panel, Fines, Community Service, 6 or 9 months of a drug and alcohol court approved program, and weekly multiple AA meetings — only to find the offender back in court after issuing a warrant for lack of completion.
Having witnessed hundreds of people navigate the system some things are very clear to me.
- The system of immediate consequences does not exist.
- People are too often set-up to fail because they really don’t completely understand the expectations
- More often than not, when gathered, they focus on how to “work” or “beat” the system.
The truth is that everybody beats the system for awhile. Eventually, the judge gets ticked off like parents who can’t control a wild child and jail becomes the only option. Jail, like losing privileges while growing up, is always…unfair to the lawbreaker and they frequently view themselves as a victim!
Nobody Wants to go to Treatment
Rarely, does anyone go to treatment because they feel they need it and realize it on their own. They go to treatment so it will look better when they go to court. Or, because their parents won’t continue to support them unless they get help. Or, their marriage or job is on the line. Sometimes, like in Lindsay’s case, the judge orders someone to treatment. The other option is to ask for treatment in order get an early release or reduced sentence.
Do you have a “Lindsay?”
It gets more complicated when you add another layer of enabling family that continues to try to “rescue” the alcoholic/addict from natural the consequences of their behavior. No one wants their son or daughter to have a criminal record. No one wants to tell their friends that their husband isn’t going to make Christmas dinner because he is in jail for a DUI. No one wants to admit the mate they chose is an addict or alcoholic. So people try to protect out of love, sometimes embarrassment and because it feels better to do something rather than nothing.
Getting professional help is important whether you are a “Lindsay Lohan” or a parent of one. Getting an understanding of what is really in the best interest of someone who struggles with addiction and an attraction to bad behavior is helpful. Learning how to set boundaries and understand manipulation is crucial along with developing coping strategies for change. That’s why professional mental health providers with experience can help you navigate through change.
Here are a couple of tips to share if you, or someone you know, is in legal trouble due to alcohol and drug use.
- Check for warrants via the Internet on the first of each month.
- Clarify dates and times of appearances, enrollments, community service and payments.
- Use a calendar and set an alarm on you phone prior to leaving court so you don’t miss court appearances.
- Be proactive so you clearly understand what is expected of you.
- Seek Professional Mental Health is great for perspective and strategies.
- Remember- late for anything can equal a warrant. The system can be difficult to navigate and it is a long drawn out process.
If you need help call 714-318-5030.