Charlie Sheen returns to work Tuesday as production resumes on his CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. But even after the most dramatic and public fracture yet in Sheen’s employment on the series, one must ask: Has anything really changed?
Sheen took a month off, and seemingly sobered up, but the initial promise of entering into a bona fide addiction treatment facility was replaced by watching the Super Bowl and sending occasional missives to the media (call it Celebrity Rehab: Home Edition).
Judging by Sheen’s statements, the party has merely been put on hold until the media spotlight finds something else to look at. Though he told an interview program he’s “supremely grateful” that “Viacom showed up” and ordered him to straighten out, most of Sheen’s comments were more along the lines of saying he was “bored out of a tree” when he spent five years sober, boasting that he’s “never been high on the set” and advising fans to “stay away from the crack … unless you can manage it socially, then go for it.”
Below, celebrity addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky takes our Charlie Sheen questions and gives a concerned appraisal of the star’s future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: At home rehab. Does that work?
DR. DREW: That question is more complicated than you might imagine, and I’m going to try to keep it simple. The term “rehab” has been so badly bastardized in the press. Back in the day it meant inpatient hospitalization. Then it started referring to any form of structured chemical dependency treatment, from outpatient programs to inpatient care down in Malibu. No one has ever applied the term “rehab” to a doctor treating a patient … which is what I assume they’re talking about. I’ve never seen it work. I’ve never seen that kind of single one-on-one intervention work for a patient as sick as this. He’s sort of announced he’s controlling his cocaine use and clearly he isn’t. He’s far advanced in his disease. He’s had sustained sobriety, then relapsed, and that category is the most difficult to treat. Is it likely to be successful? No. If I were treating this patient, it would be one to three months in an immersive environment with a group [of people].
His comments: “I’ve never been high in the set … Stay away from the crack unless you can manage it socially.” I’m no addiction specialist, but that’s denial, right?
Yeah, that’s denial. That’s what we call stinking thinking. For the male addict, the workplace is the last place that’s affected. In his case, he’s managed to not have it affect his work. Thank god he’s not an airline pilot – in that case we would have seen it impact his work. When it does impact his work [on Men], then you know he’s on his last legs.
Do you think its appropriate that Sheen is going back to work?
The employer only has so much control to intervene. He’s an independent contractor. I feel bad for them.
So what’s a network and studio to do in this unusual situation?
You’re asking a legal question. I don’t know the answer. I would be more interested in talking to his managers and agents and asking why they don’t use the leverage they have. The employer, they don’t have a lot of power short of canceling the show, and I can understand why they wouldn’t want to do that – many other people are affected by that and would lose their jobs too.
Have you seen anything [in the media coverage of Sheen] that would indicate to you that his behavior is going to change?
What they achieved at home is they detoxed him. We have not heard the last of this. It’s just a question of when it happens again and will he survive.
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