04/18/2007 at 04:00 PM EDT
Lindsay Lohan's adventures in Wonderland had a positive effect, she says, adding that she stayed at the West Hollywood rehab center earlier this year because she "felt safe" there.
Reflecting upon her month-long stint
in the addiction-treatment facility, Lohan, 20, tells Allure
for its May issue that she had awakened at home last Jan. 17
to a house surrounded both on the ground and in the air by paparazzi.
Her therapist suggested Wonderland, up in Laurel Canyon, and once Lohan was told that paparazzi were kept out she drove there with a friend who had "more problems than I did," she recalls.
She then checked out the place and found "a quiet room, all white, with parquet, and it was different! I just felt safe," she says. "I thought, 'I'm going to stay here tonight.' And I stayed there. For a month. It was great."
Still, she reflects with reluctance, "It's so weird that I went to rehab. I always said I would die before I went to rehab." And, despite attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for more than a year, she says, "I don't know that I'm necessarily an addict."
Instead, Lohan says she's motivated by other people's happiness – "to keep everyone around me happy."
Coming from a fractured family – parents Dina and Michael are divorced – the young star says she's cultivated the role as protector, especially to her three younger siblings: brother Michael, 19; sister Ali, 13; and brother Dakota, 10.
"I feel like a second parent in the sense that I helped raise my family," she says, admitting to a being especially watchful over Ali. "The fact that my sister is not here – I'm kind of angry with her. Because it freaks me out." (At the time of the interview, Ali is home with a headache, it is reported.)
"When my friends and family are around me, I feel like they're safe," Lohan says. "The craziest things can happen, but it's OK."
But Lohan also reveals that she has a sense of humor, especially when addressing those aspects of her life that are perpetual gossip fodder.
Responding to the rumor that she text-messaged pal Brody Jenner from rehab, saying that she couldn't wait to have "sex and McDonalds" again, Lohan laughs, then admits: "I'm a sexual person – everyone is, I think. And once a month I'm a McDonald's person. Everything in moderation."