"I tried to mask my problems with alcohol, cocaine and mind-altering substances," the actress, 23, tells the British newspaper The Sun. "Now I'm in a place where I don't need to use anything and I can feel emotions because I choose to."
Lohan gives a blow-by-blow account of 2007, her annus horribilis, when she was arrested for drunk driving twice and cocaine possession and went to rehab three times. The underlying cause of her erratic behavior, she says now, was her father Michael's airing the family's dirty laundry in public.
"That's when I hit rock bottom," she says. "I abused substances too much, and it wasn't the answer to my problems. People need to know that."
Tub OverflowedLohan first checked into rehab in January 2007, after taking the sleeping pill Ambien and passing out while running a bath at a hotel. She woke up to find the tub overflowing on her. "I was so scared," she says. "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.' "
She was arrested that May for drunk driving in an incident she now calls "stupid and childish," and again in July, when police discovered cocaine in her purse. "I was only aware of cocaine because of my dad," Lohan says. "I was terrified of it. But I tried it because I was stubborn, stupid, and wanted to see what it was like."
After each of those incidents, she did another stint in rehab.
Therapist VisitsThese days, she says she sees a therapist every two weeks and attends weekly alcohol education lessons. "I'm allowed to drink now but I know my limits," she maintains.
She hopes her story will resonate with other young people. "I learned from my mistakes, and I'm now healthy and happier," she says. "I've made some dreadful mistakes but learned from them – that has probably saved my life."