Why Sober People Love Charlie Sheen

He's pure, selfish, raging id ... just like the good old days.
Publish date:
March 15, 2011
addiction, sobriety, charlie sheen

I know a lot of you are getting tired of Charlie's one-man show of bottomless ego and illogic and compulsion, but you know who's not at all? People in recovery. I mean, sober people like me and a lot of my friends, who are more likely to be found in a diner sipping a Diet Coke than brandishing a machete on a rooftop. People who say things like "My worst day sober is better than my best day drinking." The kind of people Sheen regularly puts down in his rants, calling us "sissies" and "trolls."

Basically, the kind of people you might expect to look at Sheen's drug-and/or-dementia-fueled antics and shake our heads sadly while saying things like, "He's just really in his disease."

But bring up Charlie (Charlie! the women swoon) around a bunch of ex-addicts and drunks and you'll find instead of sympathetic disapproval, a sort of unbridled glee. "Did you hear the quote about how he "just didn't feel like himself sober?" we'll relate. "He cured his addicton with his own mind!" someone else will add. We're on a first-name basis with Charlie. We're not making fun of him or his spectacular downward spiral. We're feeling him. We wanna party with Charlie!

Even though most of us thought our lives were over when we were forced by the cruel God of Buzzkill to quit drinking, being sober is awesome. It really is! But compared to the reckless party lifestyles we used to lead, it can be a little bit boring. Which is good! Boring doesn't get DUIs or wet the bed or wake up from blackouts in weird parts of Brooklyn you didn't know existed, because since when is there an Avenue U anyway?

But boring is still boring. And living through Charlie, relating to Charlie ... It might be the most fun some of us have had in years. When we talk Charlie, what we're really saying is, "I used to be fun, damnit!"

We get to dip a toe back into the addict's funhouse mirror world of no consequences, to remember the high without the crashing lows. Because we do know what's on the other side of that manic smile, and it keeps us from following Charlie through Hollywood like a bunch of ex-crackhead Pied Piper rats.

"But it is really sad, though" some ex-drunk who feels guilty for taking so much pleasure in a public flame-out that is quite possibly going to end in a tragic death. Even though we are enjoying reveling in the pull of Charlie's world, all of us at one point chose to leave it behind and enter the land of the living, where responsibilities are tended to and relationships formed and blood and DNA are normal human varities.

But it doesn't keep us from hanging on his every word. And, Charlie, if you want to hang out, CALL ME. I'll bring the Diet Coke.