Over the past few days, I’ve been saddened by Charlie Sheen’s decision not to accept treatment—and by his aggressive ranting about substance abuse and recovery. During a recent radio interview on the ‘Alex Jones Show,’ Sheen reportedly said he escaped the “troll hole” of AA, which he believes is “followed by stupid people.” He went on to say, “I have a disease? Bulls**t. I cured it right now with my mind.”
Despite Sheen’s denial, it’s clear from his outrageous statements that he does have a serious problem. When people with a history of abusing drugs suddenly can’t control their words or behavior, it’s a strong indication that they may, indeed be abusing drugs again. Why else would he go on air and call the co-creator of ‘Two and a Half Men’ a “contaminated little maggot”?
Addiction is a brain disease that leads individuals to behave in a way they wouldn’t without the drugs or alcohol. But this doesn’t absolve them of responsibility for their actions. Sheen now faces serious consequences for his ugly comments, as CBS and Warner Bros. have decided to halt production of ‘Two and a Half Men’ for the remainder of the season.
While this may be a setback for Sheen, I still believe there’s hope for his recovery. I have seen people in Sheen’s state or worse—friends who have destroyed their careers and families, and even lost their freedom—get well; the only difference is that Sheen is playing out his struggle in the public eye. His behavior is not evidence that he can’t get better, but an indicator of just how badly he needs help. Those of us who are in long-term recovery know that if a person commits themselves to treatment and to managing their chronic condition, it’s never too late to get your life back on track.
Deni Carise, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer, Phoenix House
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