Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Charlie Sheen, Drug Addiction and Class

I have tried very hard to ignore the media stories about Charlie Sheen and his drug and alcohol induced antics.  Because of his history of violence against women, and outright misogyny, I must admit that I little to no interest with anything to do with this man.  Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I have been inundated with news about his antics.  This morning, I learned about some things he had to say when he called into the Ever Sporty Dan Patrick Radio Show, that I believe are worth discussing.
"I'm a man of my word, I have a contract. They said get your act together and I did, and…I think maybe it's a timing thing, they didn't think it was going to happen this fast."
"I heal really quickly, but I also unravel really quickly, so get me right now, guys," he said. "Get. Me. Right. Now." Well, that's an assurance if ever we heard one.
Sheen reportedly told Patrick that he does not believe in AA.  I think by reading the above statement, what we can see, is that he is clearly a man that is out of control and is holding onto sobriety by the merest thread.  The fact that he said "get me now", indicates that he believes he cannot maintain sobriety for a long time.

Reportedly, Sheen made a "nice donation" to UCLA.  When he went to the school, he was asked to make a small speech. In the interview he revealed what he said:
Make it quick and then just run. And then I realized what props I was holding—a bottle of chocolate milk, rumors that I've had a problem with, you know, crack. It just came out of me. It was like poetry."
And about that take-home message for the kids…

"I said stay away from the crack. Which I think is good advice. Unless you can manage it socially. Because if you can manage it socially, go for it, but not a lot of people can, you know."

Oh, we know. And Sheen clearly does, too, because he said that, for a while, that was his M.O.
"Yeah, yeah, but that kind of blew up in my face. Like an exploding crack pipe."
Only an addict could believe that crack can be used in a recreational fashion. He is literally suggesting that there is something specific about him that allows him to resist the trap that has ended in death for so many. Many celebrity drug addicts have checked into alcohol and drug addiction rehab facilities for treatment, with mixed results however, all Sheen is interested in doing is justifying his behaviour. T

I believe that all of the aforementioned commentary on what Sheen has done basically falls under the category of common sense. Sheen has a history of messing up, but he has thus far been largely protected by his class and his wealth.  Unlike many addicts, he doesn't have to worry that he will lose his home, or his job.  His class privielge and fame, have allowed him to have multiple opportunities that the average addict would not have. Even though people know that he has clearly gone over the edge, they continue to enable his behavior, while being occasionally critical, because he makes them money. As much as I despise 2 1/2 Men, if the show were forced to be canceled, because Sheen could not perform, it would put a lot of people out of work.  Surely Sheen must be aware of this, but because he will land on his feet financially, he is able to put this concern out of his mind.

We tolerate and excuse behavior from celebrities and the wealthy all of the time, while the poor are constantly assaulted for attempting to survive.  Reading his story, I thought about the many times I have been chastised for giving money to homeless people.  I have been told that this will crush their ambition to find work, or that they will only spend the money on booze.  People don't want to support the drug or alcohol habit of anyone else, because they believe it makes them unproductive citizens, and yet Charlie Sheen is supported, though he is hardly productive. His show is on hiatus, as a result of his addiction.  He may not be begging for a few bucks on a corner, but his behaviour is dangerous, because he glamorizes addiction.  The many chances offered to him, sends the message, that under the right circumstances, society will tolerate and support anything.

Sheen needs to hit rock bottom and those closest to him need to stop enabling.  I know that a large part of the problem, is that there is a significant amount of money at stake, but is money worth more than a man - even a man who is a notorious douche?  I personally will not be surprised to wake up one day and find that Sheen has died of an over dose, or died in a car accident due to alcohol/drugs. His name will be added to the long list of celebrities like, Chris Farley, Michael Jackson, John Belushi, River Phoenix, Judy Garland, Dorothy Dandridge, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Billy Holiday, Corey Haim, etc,. How many people have to die, before we decide that wealth and celebrity do not stop someone from being held accountable?  Excusing behaviour leads to death, and we have seen this repeatedly.