Michael Lohan, father of actress Lindsay and a magnet for celebrity gossip himself, lectured groups of about 20 teenage girls and 15 teen boys at Fort Lauderdale’s Inspirations Teen Rehab this afternoon. The young men and women, all of whom are enrolled in the organization’s substance abuse program, listened to a heartfelt speech from Lohan, a former alcoholic who claims to have been sober since 2004.
Dressed in a salmon button-down and worn jeans, Lohan arrived looking not unlike the teens he would hope to inspire over his approximately 30-minute talk – which was exactly his intention. “I’m no different than you are,” he told the group of boys. He said all he had on them was life experience, but that the situations that led him to drink – and also propelled him to stop – were, and could be, exactly like their own. “What’s bad only gets badder, and what’s good only brings good,” he said.
Lohan’s checkered past and subsequent rehabilitation made for his most compelling argument to kick negative habits. A former Master of the Universe on Wall Street, Lohan’s seemingly perfect life belied violent tendencies, which, combined with his penchant for the drink, lead to a number of deadly accidents. He told the teens that he drove a Ferrari off a cliff and drove another car into a telephone pole at 80 mph. The latter accident left him legally dead for a short time, until he was successfully revived by heart pumps.
He has served five years in various prisons where, in his own words, he was “treated like an animal,” partly because of his celebrity pedigree. Lohan will be the first to tell you that, while he is rehabilitated, he is not perfect; even as late as last year, he has been alleged to have assaulted his newly engaged partner, Kate Major.
He has survived all of his hardships, he told the teens, because of a belated acceptance of God. He believes God is the reason he survived the fatal car crash, and he worked to become a minister while he was serving his time. “All I did in prison was eat, pray and work out,” he said.
Most of the teens seemed to be engaged by Lohan’s speech, and Lohan singled out a boy who wasn’t by addressing him directly and telling him to “never give up.”
“[The teens] are very excited about having Michael here,” said Inspirations cofounder Chris Walsh.
Lohan had nothing but glowing reviews of the Inspirations staff, telling them, “I admire you and I wish I had done what you’re doing a long time ago, but I was too busy trying to make money.”
Located at 24 SW 10th St. in Fort Lauderdale, Inspirations Teen Rehab is a treatment facility dedicated to nurturing, educating and therapeutically treating its young residents. For information, visit the group’s website or call 888/757-6237.