Monday, February 28, 2011

The five percent

I heard an interview with Charlie Sheen in which he bashed Alcoholics Anonymous and their "5 percent success rate."  He said that he has his own rehab program at his home, calling it Sober Valley Lodge. He said that he doesn't want AA to have anything to do with it, as if AA were going to come knocking and asking to be part of Sober Valley Lodge.

Evidently,  Sheen has cured his own addiction by closing his eyes and making it so with his mind.  He said that he had to unload 22 years of fiction from AA and thought that the Big Book was "a silly book written by a broken-down fool who is a plagiarist."

I was thinking what it would like if the 95% who were still a mess would move on to Sober Valley Lodge and work a recovery program Sheen's way.  That would mean that AA would be filled with those who really have recovery-- a "stick with the winners" group.

I wonder how many alcoholics/addicts really think that Sheen has the answers.  He professes to be so "successful" because he has a super brain, tiger blood, Adonis DNA, and is a "freakin rock star from Mars".  Those who relapse, as he has, are "trolls".

I wish him the best with his recovery.  Maybe his mind and tiger blood and Adonis DNA will be all that he needs.  I wonder if he thinks about what those around him, his family in particular, are thinking.  His father said "We have to love that much more. We have to be that much more present." But sometimes the love becomes worn down and being present becomes more difficult.

I think that if love and being present could help those who have substance abuse problems,  there would be a lot more sober people.  I tried and tried with love and being present, but it didn't make any difference until the alcoholic was ready to admit being powerless over alcohol.  It also meant that I had to admit that I was ready to surrender and needed help with my own insanity.

Fully accepting Step One is the hardest step for so many of us.  It means giving up control over others. I think that is vital for the five percent who have recovered.  Maybe Charlie Sheen will be one of those who gets it.


  1. I will yeh he cured himself with his mind.BS!

  2. That interview was painful to watch. I am not an AA'er- but I hate to see someone bash any program that works for even one person just as much as I hate to be bashed for not using it.
    There was so much wrong with that interview. At eight months sober I saw so many things wrong. Thank God I no longer have a mindset even close to what he has. I would like to say he won't be ok until he does A,B,C...but honesty- who knows what it will take for him.
    I prefer a quote from Robert Downey Jr- " And I reached out for help, and I ran with it.... You can reach out for help in kind of a half-assed way, and you'll get it, and you won't take advantage of it. It's not that difficult to overcome these seemingly ghastly problems...what's hard is to decide to actually do it."

  3. I'm glad you wrote about this. I've been following Charlie Sheen's seemingly never ending comments (he's still talking!!?!). Can't seem to divert my eyes. It's hard to watch. I hardly know what to say about it.

    I did think about his dad. How hard it must be for him to witness this. I seemed to recall that Martin talked in past interviews (years before this last episode) about being in AA himself. Martin seemed the very soul of AA: humble, grateful.

    For me, loving and being present never helped the alcoholics in my life, but it did help me.

    The only thing I could do for my alcoholics was to love them where they were, turn them over to God and get out of God's way.

    I pray for Charlie and Martin, and everyone affected by this sad, sad disease.

  4. Sounds like Charlie has reached that unfortunate place of beginning to believe his own publicity. Tiger blood, eh? That's a new one. When a person begins to demean anyone who doesn't do things their way, I consider it "criticism of one another," and I tune out.

  5. Adonis DNA gotta laugh at this statement. Hope his program works out.

  6. I saw a short clip of an interview with him and if the anger and the raging, blaming, behavior that I saw was what he received from his "recovery" I would rather go without...thank you very much. :o( Sad stuff.

  7. Charlie Sheen is very ill and deluded. I find it so painful to follow his outbursts and rants because they remind me of my own sobering up lunacy. For two months after I stopped drinking I was in withdrawal and raged at family and friends and talked grandiose nonsense. Only AA kept me centred and little by little the fog cleared. I hope he gets help sooner rather than later.

  8. I know who this guy is and have even seen some of his work but tell me again why I am supposed to care one whit about his narcissism?

  9. I hope he can find something that works before the disease kills him. It must be really difficult hitting bottom for someone who is a celebrity and in the public eye at every move. Many of us would become defensive (just like Charlie). That's the nature of the disease.

  10. Syd - - - I choose to not dignify space on a piece of paper or via mouth with comments about this poor pitiful creature. Only a fool can cure or defend himself!

    Anonymous #1

  11. Thank you, Syd, for your balanced response. It is so hard to watch Charlie Sheen rant as I have witnessed similar rants by those I've loved....your reminder about the first step was a help to me. Have a good day!

  12. I also wish Mr. Sheen all the very best in his recovery.

  13. The Charlie Sheen story cannot end well. I am certain that hundreds of thousands of active addicts are cheering him on, because loud denial is motivational.

    Millions of people in recovery can hear their own hopelessness in his denial, and be reminded, as you rightly say, that Step One is the most important step.

  14. OBviously, I don't know Charlie Sheen or his nature, or his problem. He sounds like someone high and deranged. But I very much appreciate the tack you take in this post: love and presence can't save people bent on self-destruction.

  15. I would love to see/ hear the interview
    I found only a 'recent' update.
    I hope he doesn't die from this disease.
    I hope very few are sidetracked in their search for a solution. Tough love, Grace and Mercy certainly have influenced my journey.

  16. Sounds delusional, to me.

  17. Lydia and I read this article yesterday at work and we loved: "I'm tired of pretending like I'm not special". I get it, Charlie. It just tells me that sobriety is more than physical. I'm grateful that I'm being given a mental sobriety that enables me to live in my humanness surrounded by other humans. I guess I found my tribe! :)

  18. i ? think about 5% of aa ppl are willing to 'completely follow this simple programme' and as a result stay sober indefinitely.
    i decided to stick with those 5% aa members and as a result i learned how to let go absolutely and surrender to win. so I agree with him on the 5% of very surrendered aa members who achieve long term sobriety. over here it seems to be about 5% anyway. but that is not a criticism of aa, but a reflection of the percentage who are willing to go to any lengths. thats all. all the others who adopt the half measures approach don't usually make year 10.
    as for other criticisms of aa, well ? who knows. there might be some truth in them. all i know is that i have benefitted in that ive managed to stay sober, but perhaps there are unhelpful aspects of the programme that I have not noticed?
    mainly he sounds full of ego which is always a very bad sign, so i would love him to stay sober and be well but i am very doubtful that he will achieve that long term. big egos and alcoholism go very !! badly together unfortunately.
    I do know that since he spoke up against 911 in that he publicly said he agreed with commentators who maintain the evidence suggests 911 was an inside job, that his drunken antics are given a high profile in the press.
    also I don't put celebrities on pedestals, but they can be fawned over in the states so if I were a celebrity I might not want to attends aa meetings in usa either for that reason.
    who knows. I hope he gets well and stays well. I haven't really followed his comments on aa, but there ? might be some valid criticisms. My success rate figures are different than his in that I have never seen anyone relapse who 'completely gave themselves to this simple program'. so my observed success rate is more like 100% :)

  19. He's so delusional. And obviously not really sober.

  20. I sincerely believe it is hard to do science with any form of recovery because of course, unlike any other aspect of nature, even the most "controlled" experimental design is foiled by human choice, AKA free will. All of the attempt to put numbers on AA's success rate.. or Sheen's for that matter... are going to be stymied by this plain fact: AT ANY TIME... the subjects of the study can decide to drop out, for any reason they please.

    And so, for me, I look at someone saying that any program has a 5 % percent success rate and ask, "show me the data that proves it!"

    In the meantime, I personally like being in that minority, patiently advancing towards the tipping point that creates lasting change....

  21. I think that often those who most need the help of AA, rail against it. Charlie and his family are from Dayton, Ohio, and we are very proud of his father, Martin. I cannot imagine what he is going through.

    Charlie is so clearly in the throes of addiction, but it is hard to help somebody with that much money. I'm not sure when, or if, Charlie will hit bottom.

    Like his father, I pray for his well being. I'm afraid that, besides addiction, there may a mental issue that needs treated in tandem with the addiction issues. I think the whole situation is pitiful.

  22. The disease is very powerful and the ego will lie everytime. Step one does break thru that denial. I hope and pray he finds his way and others suffering can find their way as well.


  23. wow, I didn't know he said all of those things. Sounds like his disease is alive and well, if not super-sized! very sad for him...

  24. Mr Sheen is in my humble opinion experiencing a psychotic break. The rants of mental illness should never be taken literally. If he told you he could blow up the world with his mind would you feel free to taunt him? I think NOT! Please...Mental illness is an illness, as Alcoholism is an illness. I know, you know, sometimes people self medicate, and sometimes the problems are deeper. Kindness, support, prayer...and patience.

  25. Its just painful to watch this in technicolor no matter who is doing it. Watching AA be pummeled in the media with no recourse other than to steadily and quietly stay the course suiting up and showing up.

    I pray that AA continues to stay strong through those public storms so that those who make big bold loud angry public statements and those who don't both have someplace to come if they choose to once that bright lights and grandiose stuff wears thin and they're alone and the darkness settles and realize they really are alone and hopeless that all their efforts and grandiosity got is lining for birdcages and cocktail parties. But their lifeforce...waning.

    I sure don't want that.

  26. Thank goodness AA does not count, nor care, for statistics. They readily admit that there are many ways for people to get sober ... some through Church, others on their own, or just "white knuckling it"...whatever, as long as it works. AA is the only thing that works for me.
    I feel sorry for his rage and his delusional thoughts but just pray that he doesn't take others down with him.

  27. We are our own worst enemy. I shutter to think what is in store for him to really get it. Big ego take bigger falls to get it. AA will be there if he ever changes his mind and they will welcome him. Big hearts.


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