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Sheen, addiction and domestic violence

Posted Mar 04 2011 3:25pm

There’s been a lot of buzz about Charlie Sheen’s sad and all too public descent into addiction-induced madness.

I tend not to comment on these kinds of stories, but I saw a couple other things I wanted to highlight.

First, in some corners, there is a strange romanticisation of his “honesty” about his drug use and lifestyle and their pleasures. I put honesty in quotes because, while there is a certain kind of honesty in it, it’s difficult to characterize something so grandiose as honest. What undergirds this admiration? Why do some aspects of it  feel familiar ?

Second, a Spanish University just published findings about the prevalence of domestic violence among addicted men —”six out of ten male drug-abusers direct some type of violence against their intimate partners.” This and a post by Ta-Nehisi Coates serve as a reminder that his story is just as much a story of domestic violence .

The relationship between addiction and domestic violence is an important recovery issue that is too often overlooked. Dawn Farm has been outspoken on this issue for more than 10 years and has partnered with our local batterer intervention program because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s our experience that failing to address the matter reduces the batterer’s chances of achieving and maintaining long term recovery. Why? Exercising power and control over people is incompatible with recovery and undermines the kind of humility and accountability that are foundational for most people’s recovery.

I have no idea if this played a role in his relapse, but I wonder.

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