I immediately judged Charlie along with most of the world: He’s lost his mind, he’s clinically insane, he’s gone over to the dark side and he needs help! In fact, my masseuse suggested to a friend she and Charlie had in common that I could help him. “Erin, why did you do that?” “Because I really think you have the depth and insight to wake him up.” I thought about it. I did have some really good tools at my disposal, but I did not have a lot of confidence that I had the skill to help with what appeared to be full-blown psychosis. Well, I didn’t have to worry about finding a way to ‘fix’ him. Their mutual friend blew her off, ”Charlie thinks he’s fine, he doesn’t want anyone’s help.” We shook our heads. Misguided, drug-addicted fool! We wondered about his poor children who would never have a present father, his failed marriages, his career that was quickly emptying down the proverbial toilet bowl, what a waste.
A couple of days later, I was with a close friend of mine and she mentioned that she had just contacted Charlie to let him know that there was a clinic that could help him. I knew about Ibogaine treatment and I had a friend whose life was turned around by the process. Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance derived from plants that is offered to bottom of the barrel addicts for whom absolutely nothing else has worked. My friend Oran Canfield had been to countless rehabs and could not kick his heroin and crack habits. After he took Ibogaine, his compulsion never came back. Oren writes about his journey through the hell of addiction with both humor and depth in his compelling book, Long Past Stopping.
My friend showed me her texts and Charlie’s responses. It was chilling. “I have something that could help you, a short cut.”
“I don’t need your help, I don’t need anyone’s help. I’m fine. In fact, I’m great.” Then he went on a rant describing how he had an epiphany and had tasted the heart of the Prince of Darkness and he invited her to join him on his journey and that he loved her violently. “I have awakened! You have to believe me, this is about the light!” he wrote. His words sent a chill up my spine.
My friend texted him she couldn’t go with him, that it was too dangerous. She had her own run in with the dark side and the last thing she needed or wanted was to join him on his rollercoaster to hell!
But suddenly saw him in a different light, for a moment I suspended judgment. “He’s telling the truth! He’s right, this is about the light! He has made a choice and as sad as it seems to us, he has chosen to sacrifice himself to the dark side.” But ultimately, he is doing this in service of the light” I saw him as heroic in his misguided quest for redemption. He was having a love affair with the underbelly of our culture, with the Devil. He had tasted the heart of darkness. And, believe me, the heart of anything tastes like nectar. I saw him on a journey where his process of redeeming his own dark side was tied to a need to honor the dark side of life. It was through honoring all aspects of duality that he had found himself.
This does not let him off the hook for all his irresponsible and self-destructive behaviors but it allows me to see him in a larger context, in a context beyond conventional judgments and standards. It allowed me to see him a more noble light. His ‘goddesses’ are porn stars, strippers and he is placing them on an altar of respect. Everyone deserves that respect. In essence, he is raising up the outcasts of society. This is Charlie Sheen’s way of participating in the noble and holy act of redemption. Why it is deeply tragic is because of the amount of residual damage and loss and sacrifice that is involved. He has been paid millions of dollars to ‘sacrifice’ himself.
I flashed on the pagan kings of Britain, written about in the book The Mists Of Avalon, ‘the King Stags’ who fought ritual battles on behalf of their subjects. They were the willing sacrifice, so that the lives of their people would be spared. I see Charlie Sheen, in his most exalted, as a King Stag. He has chosen to go down taking with him as much darkness with him, so that we may be free to embrace more light. He believes he is providing a service to humanity.
I wish I could let him know that there was another way, a less violent way to love life. The path of light that I would invite him to follow would not sacrifice his children, his career, his health both mental and physical, or hold his life hostage.