Watching the recent interviews with Charlie Sheen have left me with many conflicted emotions. More than anything: But for the Grace of God there go I. I also feel sadness, disgust, and pity. I feel as though I am part of the problem – watching the interviews and ogling over the incredibly devastating car wreck unfolding before us. He doesn’t need people taking pictures of him in the car in flames, he needs help and few of the media exploits in the past week have been focused on that. Because our society sure loves it car wrecks! His struggles with drug addiction, gambling, and other unhealthy behaviors are legendary. We have been watching an addict kill himself slowly for two decades. And the media and his employers (aka CBS and Warner Bros.) have been great enablers for years.
What has struck me the most about the recent events is the word Mr. Sheen has used throughout his interviews: over and over again he talks about “winning.” In his mind, Mr. Sheen is “winning” and is a “winner.” Why does he say that? Because, in his own words: he is a genius actor who has singlehandedly kept CBS and Warner Brothers solvent, has the two ‘goddesses’ (one a “former” porn star and the other a model/marijuana advocate) living in his “Sober Valley Lodge,” the car he drives, and the money he makes. Sound familiar? Look back over the past century and you will see that this resume is not new for any man who has ever tried out for the job of Superman.
The evidence Sheen uses to make his case for why he is a “winner” with “tiger blood” and “Adonis DNA” are all the trappings that we have been told for decades will make us happy as men. We are told from very early we should fantasize about sex with two women, big fancy cars and homes, and, of course, fame and power. Mr. Sheen has all of this. I cannot say whether or not Mr. Sheen is happy; I can introduce him to hundreds of men who have tried that approach and not only found it empty and unfulfilling but many of them have almost died at the hands of that very seductive lover.
Is Sheen using? It is not clear. He passed a drug test for his interview with Radar online. Or perhaps, as many experts think, he is having an extremely manic episode. Irrespective, he does seem to be exhibiting the behaviors of someone who is having some sort of mental health breakdown. What is clear is that Mr. Sheen is speaking in a way that is beyond grandiose and I can only imagine the impact it is having on those who care about him the most, particularly his father.