Like many addicts, Charlie is currently in full flight from reality. As an addictions specialist, I cannot help but see how out of control his life has become. The addicts ego has a very real tendency toward grandiosity, especially cocaine addicts. Initially, like most others, I had my laughs at his antics. They were genuinely entertaining. The other side of my perception of his situation set in soon thereafter though as my professional eye really caught subtleties of what is happening to Charlie. He is being made famous or the word “winning” right now, but in fact, he is losing to the disease of addiction. Unfortunately he is not alone in this either. I have watched the interviews of his father and brother as well and have seen the pain that has been caused by his disease and I can now only be saddened and concerned by the fact that we are watching this disease take someone’s life in public. All of this comes just as Mike Starr of Alice in Chains has passed away and reminds us that people lose the battle with their addictions every day. It is really the the dedicated person who recovers from this illness. Those who see themselves as above “the work” have grave consequences.
Over the years I have worked with a great many addicts who have recovered completely. It would have been deeply tragic for them to have hit bottom, or worse yet, deteriorate into death, on national television. The ones who lost to this disease would have left a legacy that had nothing to do with who their authentic self was. The ones who lived would have enormous obstacles and shame to overcome. I do hope that a truly meaningful experience will move Charlie and enable him to get the help he needs. He will need to learn fantastic humility to make it through the wreckage he is creating. I pray he doesn’t “lose” his battle with addiction.