Like many other people in the addiction field, I have been receiving media calls about Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen. I had to look up who Lindsay Lohan is (This is probably as good a moment as any to admit that I am neither young nor the owner of a television), and found I could at least say something positive, namely that she was sent by a judge to a real psychiatric care program and not a rehab resort.
It’s much harder to say anything insightful about Charlie Sheen that hasn’t already been said by people appropriately fulminating that he has again become intoxicated, been violent toward a woman, and gotten away with it. In the photos from outside the courtroom Sheen looks like he thinks he just won an award.
The only bit of potential illumination regarding Charlie Sheen I could offer is the suggestion to read Chris Lawford’s book Moments of Clarity. In it, Charlie’s father Martin gives one of the most painfully honest and vivid accounts of what drunken, violent fathers do to their sons. Charlie’s responsibility for his life now has got to be his own, and Hollywood culture plays a big role in enabling his rotten behavior, but Martin Sheen’s guilt that his parenting helped make Charlie what he is also has a rational basis
I credit Martin Sheen for coming clean in the book and for pulling his own life together. We give addicted people a million reasons why they should take steps to change their behavior and lives, but the Sheen family saga gives another one: Seek help now so that you don’t open up a newspaper one day and find out that you’ve raised a son who acts like Charlie Sheen.