I do not normally comment on the lives of celebrities, mostly because there is little to learn. Upon reading about Sheen’s rant on the radio, however, I was compelled to say something.
No one but Sheen’s doctor knows for sure why he has descended into an apparent state of manic ranting. We may think his comments revolting and his behavior bizarre, but deep down I think all of us know something has gone wrong in Charlie’s mind.
People who allow drugs and alcohol to enter into their lives do so at considerable risk. It took me until the age of 43 to get that lesson. Fortunately, I made it through intact, but the experience taught me something valuable–it is a lot easier to have a problem than you think.
We all have a tipping point. Our tendency to fool ourselves lets bad habits grow stronger. We say that we don’t drink “that much” or that we just do it “socially.” Some people make it for years that way, living fairly well. Some even make it for a lifetime, never completely succumbing to alcoholism. Then there are the Charlies.
When we pass that tipping point, we lose our grip on reality. I managed to lie to myself so convincingly that in retrospect, it was downright eerie. How can someone so dedicated to the truth be so badly fooled?
It’s not that we are not each responsible for getting to that point. We are. Yet when I see someone like Charlie Sheen, I stop for a moment before getting all high and mighty. I remember that it took just the right message at just the right time for me to open my eyes. The only reason I listened was that it was delivered without a hint of judgment or condemnation. Every year I write a short e-mail thanking the man who threw me that lifeline.
Like a swimmer who underestimates the current, Charlie has swum out too far. He will not get back without help. When someone is drowning, we save the lesson for the safety of the beach.