Guideposts Editor-in-Chief Edward Grinnan talks about how even at our lowest points, anyone—even Charlie Sheen—can find the hope to incite positive change in their lives.
Thanks, Charlie Sheen. Thanks for everything...the denial, the grandiosity, the epic unmanageability and the full suite of character defects you so generously share. Thanks for sharing because you are keeping it green for a whole lot of us who have been exactly where you are now. Maybe not with the unfettered access to media and the global digital stage or the porn goddesses but we have been exactly where you are emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. And it is not a pretty place.
But we had to go there to get better and hopefully that's what you're doing too, Charlie Sheen. Bottoms are tough. Mine was hanging out of a twenty-first floor hotel window in Copenhagen, Denmark, a number of years ago, an incident I recount in my new book, The Promise of Hope, which is not strictly a recovery book or a memoir but it would not have been honest of me not to at least touch on my story in a larger discussion of human beings’ astonishing capacity for personal growth and transformation. Actually there are a lot better stories in the book than mine. I'm just a garden variety drunk and addict, like you. We all thought we had tiger blood.
Actually your dad, Martin Sheen, is a big reason I am at Guideposts. Twenty-four years ago when I was sitting in the lobby of the Guideposts offices waiting for my interview with then editor-in-chief Van Varner, knowing little about Guideposts but absolutely desperate for a job so I could maybe, by the grace of a God I was still trying to believe in, retrieve something of my life from the hell I had fallen into, I saw an issue of the magazine with your father on the cover. He told an incredibly inspiring and dramatic story recounting the near-fatal cardiac episode he had in the Philippines while filming Apocalypse Now. Your dad's story made such a powerful impression on me, the depth of his faith was so moving, that I knew I wanted to work for Guideposts for more than just a paycheck to keep body and soul together.
You are just as physically ill as your dad was that stormy night in the Philippines when his heart nearly stopped forever. Whether or not you accept the disease model of addiction, it is clear that the condition responds when treated like a medical issue.
When I was struggling to make it through rehab a long time ago when rehabs weren't what they are today and there was a lot of shame attached to landing in one, I had a sober family friend that would visit me and bring me little care packages of candy and magazines and cigarettes. One day I told him how much I appreciated what he was doing and that I wanted to get sober and straight for him as much as anything. He looked at me and said, "Edward, I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing this for me. I like you and I love your parents but this is to help me stay sober, not get you that way. Whether you get sober or drink yourself to death by the age of thirty, one way or the other it keeps it green for me, it helps me maintain my sobriety by the grace of God a day at a time. Really, it's not all that much about you."
So really, Charlie, this blog is not about you. I truly hope you get help and get better and become a great example. But this is about keeping it green for me and millions of others who have been where you are today and pray a day at a time that they never go back. Most of us are praying you find your way too.