“No one is beyond hope. No one.” Michael Lohan may be one of “those” or he may be one who helps those who have been written off. But he says it with conviction. So both may be true.
He now spends his professional life supporting addicts in recovery through the Aid in Recovery (AIR) Organization. Addiction runs deep in his family. He’s seen it in his father, himself, and his daughter. So his belief that no one is beyond hope is from one who at one point in his life has not felt that way.
Michael speaks of a passion to help those who have succumbed to addiction and may have experienced what he did as a child. His father was a hard working bricklayer who abused alcohol. Michael, the oldest, experienced verbal abuse and as a result felt like he was never good enough. He had support, from other family members, but it didn’t replace what he lacked from his father.
For proof that Michael Lohan made mistakes, there is evidence in his arrest records and legal troubles. He spent time in jail for insider trading, parole violations, and driving while under the influence. It’s a long and, for one of the charges, not-so-ancient history.
So does one with such a checkered past move past that to a better place? Michael believes that the answer is yes, and he is determined to bring others with him. For those who say he’s not qualified because of his past, he simply asks that results from those helped through AIR speak for what his is doing.
As for his personal life, Michael spoke respectfully of his family. Regarding his wife Dina, he described her as a terrific mother and wife while they were married. They were young when they started their lives together and had their daughter a year later. For 19 years they focused on work and family. As for his kids, he said “I will go the distance for my family and those I love. Lindsay is an amazing girl.” She has struggled and been brilliant, and I will always be supportive. A few years back, she was blaming others for her struggles and I was truthful about that, but she isn’t blaming others anymore. I am there for her as her father.
Michael has four children with Dina, a daughter fathered with Kristi Horn, and a baby boy, born in January 2013. When asked to reflect on parenthood, he responded that “I’ve learned so much and I am blessed to have experience and be more mature.” I have always wanted to parent the exact opposite of my Dad. I want them to have a good work ethic, but never feel criticized. My best memories with all my kids are when they say “I love you Daddy.” They need to feel accepted.
So what changed? We’ve seen the public meltdowns and mistakes. Michael says he started on his road to a path peaceful place in February 2005. He was involved in a single car accident while driving under the influence while on his way to the airport. He had received a call from Lindsay who was upset after being threatened. He downed three Irish coffees on his way to her defense and instead ended up crashing his car into a utility pole. He realized that night that he needed help. Instead of the possibility of taking a life in his daughter’s defense, he almost lost his own. And it was the wake-up call he needed.
“I spent 21 months in jail,” explains Michael. That was a huge sentence for someone with a first-time DUI offense. “But I accept where I went because I had murder in my heart.” While I was incarcerated, I was with correctional officers who were Christians. I received a letter from Pastor Barry and got involved with Teen Challenge.
His work today is centered on his belief that addiction stems from a trauma, which if left unresolved, will leave the addiction unresolved.
His advice to those afflicted with addiction? Don’t hold on. Let go of what keeps you stuck.
His advice to parents of teens? “Drugs have changed. They are more easily accessible. Talk to your kids and get educated.” Check out their stories and know the signs of addiction.
And if your child is having a problem, don’t talk down to them—go toe-to-toe. Let them know that even if they have a problem, you are there with them, not there to slam them.
And to parents? It’s sometimes harder to help your own. You both may need help.
Turning it all Around, is not just the title of Michael Lohan’s upcoming book, co-authored with Thomas Madden and due out next year, it’s his message that anyone can make a different choice and choose a different path. Those who are humble and not afraid to talk and make no excuses
By: Peggy Lee