Addiction Expert: Another Relapse for Charlie Sheen Could Be 'The End'
All eyes have been on Charlie Sheen and his recent bizarre media blitz, and while much of it may seem like fun and games thanks to his wild quotes, according to addiction specialist Pax Prentiss, there is much more going on.
We all know Charlie has had his struggles with drugs and alcohol, so Celebuzz spoke with Pax, who founded Passages rehab center after battling substance abuse himself, who offered his thoughts on Sheen's increasingly troubling situation.
Read the full interview after below:
What are your thoughts in terms of the well-being of Charlie's children? Do you think that child services should be involved?
My belief is that Charlie Sheen's behavior is negatively affecting his children in many ways. Not just that he might not be able to care for them, but that everyone knows that their father is on the verge of possibly a breakdown and a severe drug addiction and runs around with porn stars. So, I can't say for sure whether or not he can or can't take care of his children, I don't know enough about the situation to make an observation there, but it has to affect the kids psychologically, [that this is happening to their dad] and I'm sure it's the topic in school. It's got to be embarrassing on some level.
What do you think of the women that Charlie is running around with? Do you think they're enabling him in a way?
Charlie, because of his star power and money, does not really have enablers in his life, he enables himself. The definition of an enabler is somebody who allows you or supports you in doing what you're doing. The porn stars obviously are participating, but he really supports and fuels his own habit. The porn stars are in the business of making money and selling sex for money and he's obviously paying them for that service.
What would be the next best step for Charlie and his eventual road to sobriety, if that's where this is going? What should he do next?
AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] has not worked for Charlie, he needs a different approach. What's missing is that no one has found out why he is using. In order to get him sober, you have to to go the root cause of the addiction. The belief of Passages is that addiction is not a disease, it's actually caused by underlying problems in your life. My opinion is that Charlie has some deep psychological pain somewhere in his life, whether it happened when he was a child or as an adult, he's troubled on some level. The drugs and alcohol is what he uses to deal with the pain or the loneliness or he could possibly even have low self-esteem, it's hard to say. You could say 'How does an actor have low self-esteem?' but it's possible. He doesn't have a girlfriend that he doesn't pay for, so that's an indication he could be dealing with identity issues, it's hard to say, but I do know there's something troubling Charlie and he needs to find out what it is so he can heal it. The best way to do that is through individual therapy. When he checks into these 12 step programs all they offer him is group meetings and they tell him 'You have a disease' and 'You're an addict,' and that approach has not worked for him over the last 22 years. He really needs to find out what's causing him to use and he needs a professional therapist.
How involved should Charlie's ex-spouses and the mother of his children (Denise Richards and Brooke Mueller) be with helping to get Charlie back on the right track?
I don't think they can help at this point. Charlie needs to come to terms with his situation on his own. I don't even think his dad or his brother or other family members can have an affect on him. I think he's going to have to come to the conclusion on his own, and I'm sure everyone has tried to help him, including his dad and that's not working. I think the best thing everyone can do at this time would be to withdraw and withdraw their support, withdraw their love, withdraw their concerns, and let Charlie go through this and see if he can come up with the correct conclusion on his own. The family has tried, it's not working. He's tried AA, it hasn't worked. What makes it so difficult is Charlie has so much power, that he's able to support himself, he doesn't need help from family, he doesn't need help from friends, he can get what he wants, when he wants it. It's hard to have an influence over someone who has that much power. He's really going to have to come to terms with this on his own. He may hit a bottom, and that may wake him up. If he has another relapse and he ends up in the hospital and maybe comes close to dying from an overdose of cocaine, that might wake him up.
Charlie was recently hospitalized, and that obviously didn't really do anything, and we know you can't speak for Charlie, but what do you think would be Charlie's rock bottom? Because he hasn't seemed to reach it yet.
He may not have a bottom, it's hard to say. His bottom may be time in jail, his bottom may be an overdose where he almost dies, or he may not have a bottom. Some people continue to use until they die, no matter how severe the consequences. The reason for that is because their underlying conditions have no been addressed. The four causes of addition are: chemical imbalance, events of the past that they have no reconciled, the third is current conditions they can't deal with and the fourth is things they believe that aren't true such as 'I'm an addict' or 'I have a disease.' So one of those four causes is present with Charlie and it's all about finding the cause in his addiction. There is a reason why he's doing this, and you've got to find out what that reason is. He needs a totally different approach [than a 12 step program] because what's happened at this point has not worked for him, and he's said that himself. He says that he's cured himself with his mind. I can respect that he believes that, but I'd like to see if he can maintain that stance. If he's still sober 12 months from now, that'd be great. But it's too early to see if that's accurate or not. He's only been sober for possibly three or four weeks, if that.
Charlie has been on this bizarre media tour, ranting and raving about every last thing, but has been passing drug tests and claims to be sober. Don't these crazy actions seem to be something that someone who is one drugs would do?
I do not think Charlie is high right now. I don't think he has been high in any of these interviews, I've watched them very closely. What you're seeing is effects of someone who has done a LOT of cocaine, and a lot of alcohol and a lot of cigarettes over many, many years. The amount of cocaine that Charlie does is incomprehensible because of vast amount of money. Charlie goes on these benders where he'll just do coke day, after day, after day. When you do that for years, it's going to have an affect on your brain and on your body. And that is what your seeing, someone who has just done pounds and pounds of cocaine, literally. He's struggling, he's hurt himself. He's hurt his brain, he's hurt his body. You can see he doesn't look like a 45-year-old man, he looks like a very unhealthy 55. The interesting thing is that he's actually still sharp, in a way. He's quick to answer, and he's still articulate and at moments you'll see glimpses of the old Charlie Sheen, the young, sharp, healthy Charlie, buried underneath the layers of drug use. If he stops now and stays stopped, he might be able to save himself. But if he has another relapse, I believe he's getting to close the end, I really do. He can't keep going on much longer the way he's been going on.