The dangers of Charlie Sheen's addiction denial

By Katie Herrera

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It's hard not to see actor Charlie Sheen these days. He has been talking about his problems with drugs, and more, to anyone who will listen. However, he said he is just someone who lives life to the fullest.

Some question whether his boasting is glamorizing drug abuse, and missing the point that drug addiction is a debilitating illness.

Gloria Howard, a drug abuse specialist at the Aletheia House in Birmingham said that in addition to glamorizing things, he is also trivializing a serious problem by acting like it's no big deal—that he can handle it on his own, and that the traditional recovery process is worthless.

But it's apparent to Howard, and most people, that Sheen isn't fooling anyone. He said he is not a drug addict, and is "clean" because he closed his eyes and made it so with the power of his mind.

"If my clients could close their eyes and rid themselves of that pain, they would. What he's not acknowledging is the pain that he is in as a result of this addiction," Howard said.

Addiction is a very painful, very chronic disease, Howard said. In her 20 years of counseling, she has seen people who have lost their homes, families, jobs, lives and freedom as a result of a compulsion to use a drug—and that's exactly what she sees happening with Sheen.

"The fact that he was willing to give up a lucrative career, that's another symptom of addiction, not it's just in your mind," she said.

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