I remember the days of smoking crack and the feeling of invincibility that went along with it, as well as laughing at people in recovery. I didn't think I needed any help. My delusions of grandeur were spectacular, much like Sheen's, even though I was smoking in a Las Vegas ghetto instead of in Hollywood. Excitedly talking about how amazing I was, and how I'd change the world and teach others how to get high without it negatively affecting their lives. Laughing at anyone who tried to say my behavior was out of control. As long as I was alive, I saw myself as in control.
The difference is that no one was hearing what I said except other addicts and my parents.
Unlike Charlie Sheen, I wasn't bragging about "banging 7-gram rocks" to the world. Young people weren't hearing my story and perhaps thinking that if this famous actor can get away with heavy drug use and be successful, maybe they can too.
Sheen's statement in reference to getting clean and sober -- "I closed my eyes and made it so with the power of my mind" -- makes a mockery of people who are truly struggling to achieve sobriety. It's true that 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are not for everyone, but for some people it's the way they change their lives and avoid prison or death.
In interviews, Sheen has expressed intense anger toward CBS and the executive producer of his hit show, "Two and a Half Men." Lashing out when forced to take accountability for one's actions is a classic addict move.
No one wants to be called out for his or her behavior, especially on the public stage, but it was the right thing to do. Turning heads and pretending that Charlie Sheen isn't in serious trouble would be tantamount to giving him permission to continue on his path of destruction. I agree that it's better to put the show on hold, despite the disappointment of fans, because his life is more important.
Using drugs and alcohol is a way to escape reality. It's nothing to be proud of, and nothing to brag about in front of the entire world. Like it or not, actors are role models, and belittling recovery from addiction is harmful.
I struggled from the depths of addiction to reclaim my life and deal with reality, and when I see Sheen's statements it brings me sadness. Smoking crack is lonely, even when you're in a roomful of people. It becomes the most important thing in the world. This is what we're seeing from Charlie Sheen.
Despite claiming sobriety from the results of a drug test, he isn't willing to admit that drugs are damaging his life. I'm certain that his family, friends and co-workers are worried for him, but worry can't make someone well.
Often, it takes losing nearly everything but your life in order to make a commitment to sobriety.