Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan recently told UK tabloid the Sun that she did drugs and became an alcoholic in an effort to mask her troubles. She says that her substance abuse was so bad that she had “hit rock bottom” and risked losing all she had worked for. Even her life. And you can probably guess who she put the blame on, even if this post’s headline didn’t blatantly state it.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun she tells how her problems got worse when her father Michael, a former drug addict and jailbird who beat up Lindsay’s mother DINA, started talking to the Press about his daughter in 2007. Lindsay, nicknamed Li-Lo, says: “When my father was going public, that’s when I hit rock bottom. I abused substances too much and it wasn’t the answer to my problems. People need to know that. I tried to mask my problems with alcohol, cocaine and mind-altering substances. Now I’m in a place where I don’t need to use anything and I can feel emotions because I choose to.

“I learnt from my mistakes and I’m now healthy and happier. I never want to be close to losing everything I worked for and aspired to have my whole life. Mind-altering substances are so dangerous. If I can teach others, especially teens, by sharing my experiences, then that’s what I will continue to do. I’ve made some dreadful mistakes but learned from them – that has probably saved my life.”

Lindsay sees a therapist fortnightly and attends weekly alcohol education lessons. She says the first time she sought help for her addiction was in 2007 after collapsing in her LA bathroom, waking surrounded by cascading water – and terrified.

She says: “I went to rehab three times. The first time I checked myself in because I had taken Ambien. It’s a sleeping aid but it makes you hallucinate. I’d run a bath and fallen asleep on the floor and the bath had overflowed. When I woke up I was so scared, I called my therapist and said, ‘Can I just go somewhere for a month? I’m around bad people and I need to take care of myself’. I was terrified, so I put myself in. There was a point when I didn’t know how to say ‘No’ and I was trying to please everyone. I was doing pop and making films. I was young and thought I could go out, have fun, then go on set and record. I ran myself down and I lost track of who I was.”

Talking of the first time she was caught with cocaine, following a car smash in May 2007, she confesses: “It was in a purse and I was with friends. I wasn’t trying to lie to police. I was only aware of cocaine because of my dad. I was terrified of it. But I tried it because I was stubborn, stupid, and wanted to see what it was like. It’s not something I ever want to do again. It made me feel like s***. It became uninteresting to me. I’m hyper anyway and I have that kind of personality so I don’t need something like that.”

Lindsay was a successful child actress but beneath the cute surface the youngster was struggling to deal with her emotions after years of violent rows between her parents. In 2005 she was taken to the hospital with kidney problems brought on by “stress”, and in 2006 needed medical help for being “overheated and dehydrated” while filming Georgia Rule with Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman and Jane Fonda. In a letter leaked to the Press, exasperated studio exec James G Robinson called Lindsay “irresponsible and unprofessional” and blamed her partying for absences from the set.

In January 2007 came the incident with Ambien which led her to check herself into the Wonderland Center clinic, in Los Angeles, for 30 days. Later that year she pulled out of one film and was dropped from another. In May came her arrest for drink-driving after hitting a tree. She says: “I wasn’t driving like a maniac. There were paparazzi and their flashes were going off into the window. I tried to turn, then I sped up because they sped up. That’s when I hit the tree. I just thank God everyone was OK. But it was scary. I had three drinks, at most. I’ve been stupid and childish and I wasn’t thinking.” Police then found the cocaine in her purse and Lindsay entered rehab for a second time, this time in Malibu, for six weeks.

On her release Lindsay had to wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet on her ankle. Yet just two weeks later, in July 2007, she was arrested for drink driving and cops again found cocaine, this time in her pocket. She went to rehab in Utah. In August 2007 she pleaded guilty to cocaine use and driving under the influence. She was jailed for a day and ordered to complete an alcohol education program.

Lindsay, who has spent much of the past week partying in London, where she also hosted a fundraiser for Haiti, says: “I’m allowed to drink now but I know my limits. There are certain situations where I have obligations. There’s no reason to (drink) because I don’t want to feel like s*** in the morning.

She says: “The thing is, at the times I was going out a lot and being seen everywhere, I would have been in college. My brother, who is 18, and his friends go out to bars and stuff till whatever time. That’s what you do in college. Mine was all in the public eye so it was magnified that much more. I’ve now learned my boundaries and I’ve been very good with cleaning house with people who I know didn’t have my best intentions at heart. A lot of people in LA are very self destructive. Partying so hard simply isn’t worth it. Life is worth living and there is so much to do and experience, it’s wonderful.”

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