Sorry Charlie

Last month, March 29, Charlie Sheen appeared on the Today Show and was interviewed by Matt Lauer.  Speaking from the position of one who has worked with chemically dependent individuals for the last 18 years, had Charlie been sitting in my office, as he presented himself on the show, I would have required him to complete a Urine Analysis to see what stimulant drug(s) he was on. He appeared to be under the influence of cocaine or meth and was definitely not in a normal mode of behavior.

Charlie was recently photographed at a Guns and Roses concert where he had been drinking.  Matt Lauer stated, “No addiction specialist would tell a guy in your position that it’s okay to drink.” 

Charlie replies, “I have a different theory on the whole thing.” 

Matt asked, “Are you comfortable having a drink from time to time and not being afraid you will slip back into a much darker place?”

Charlie stated, “Yeah, because I don’t believe that whole piece of mental fiction that you have an allegiance to.” 

Charlie is thinking what so many addicts and alcoholics believe . . . that they can recover from their addiction by themselves without the help and support of others; that they can control their use without it causing any more problems.  He has been in and out of rehab centers several times in his life and so far, his way has never worked and won’t work.  The message addicts/alcoholics project is:  “I don’t need your help or anyone else’s.  I can do this my way.”  If Charlie’s way were effective, he would not have lost his position as the highest paid actor on television and the loss of his role on the TV show.  If Charlie’s way was effective, he wouldn’t be in the mess he is in today or in and out of several rehabs.

True, there are those who have stopped drinking or using drugs on their own.  But this is not recovery.  Abstinence is only abstinence. 

But Charlie hasn’t even completed this task, as yet.  And as difficult as it is to remain abstinent, abstinence is the easy part.  Recovery takes a long time of learning how to live life on life’s terms and not on one’s own terms.  It requires learning how to deal with life’s unpleasant times in healthy ways and not to gloss over them or run from them by way of chemically induced substances.  Recovery requires establishing relationships that were harmed or destroyed with the important people in life as a result of drinking/using.

Unless Charlie gets professional help and support, he will soon find himself back in that dark place Matt spoke of because that is the nature of the beast.  Drinking and/or using just a little bit and thinking it is in control is like someone saying, “I’m just a little bit pregnant.”

Ironically, Charlie is now involved in a new sitcom for FX called, “Anger Management.”  The irony is, Charlie will be playing the role of a therapist.  He may, or may not, remain abstinent while working in this new show, but this will only be short lived.  He will still find himself unhappy and rely on drugs to provide what he thinks is happiness, but in reality, is only pleasure.

We have not seen the end to the Charlie Sheen drama.  There is still one scene left to be played:  When his heart finally gives out due to cocaine and other drugs, and everyone will say, “How could this have happened”. . .  remember Whitney, and Elvis, and Hendricks, and Janis, and Jimmy, and Belushi.

Chris Farley

Judy Garland

Bobby Hatfield

Margaux Hemingway

Billy Holiday

Charlie Parker

Howard Hughes

Michael Jackson

Heath Ledger

Billy Mays

Jim Morrison

Marilyn Munroe

Ike Turner

Amy Winehouse.

 They all did what true entertainers aspire to do . . . “leave your audience wanting more.”

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