Famous actor Charlie Sheen has been in the news much in the last several years. Unfortunately, not for his acting. We see in the media a tumultuous personal life which appears to contain alcohol and drug addiction. Mr. Sheen just completed three weeks of substance abuse treatment, and yet still states “I find sobriety boring.”

Life Lessons: Whether a celebrity or an average everyday person we can take a step back and learn life lessons from other’s experiences. This allows us to learn from other’s mistakes and we can use these situations to either examine ourselves. We can also talk about these experiences with our friends and families as “life lessons” to ask why this can happen to us and how to prevent it. Often people that struggle with addictions have unresolved hurts.

Fight or Flight: When someone is hurting we have two choices: Fight or Flight.

  1. Fight means to face the hurt and use appropriate coping skills to resolve it!
  2. Flight means to fly away as far as we can from the pain or hurt.  We can run from our hurts with aggression, alcohol, substances, addictions, overeating, quitting, or anger.

Effects of Addictions: When people struggling with hurt choose to escape or run from their feelings with addiction it can cause:

  1. Unpredictable swings in personality
  2. A significant increase in risky behavior
  3. Judgement is impaired
  4. Erratic unpredictable behavior.
  5. Risk of accidents increase greatly (car accidents from driving while impaired, or home accidents from either falling or cutting oneself)
  6. Tumultuous personal lives
  7. Marriages end in divorce
  8. Romance and friendships are erratic and often neglected.

Life Lessons from those Struggling with Addictions?

1.) Addiction destroys lives; if you are addicited to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, etc., there is help available. Please seek help before your physical self is damaged beyond recovery, and before relationships are severed permanently.

2.) Domestic Violence is not tolerable and is the number one cause of death for women in the United States. Being drunk or stoned is not a pass for physical violence.

3.) What we do affects others – we do not live in a vaccuum. While we are free to makes our own choices, our choices impact our family, friends and community. Will we make choices which build up our family? Or tear them down? Parents with addictions scar their children, distance their spouses, and estrange their families. What we choose matters. If you have having trouble choosing positive, healthy alternatives, please seek professional assistance.

If you have having physiological craving and withdrawl, it may be extremely difficult for you to stop your addiction on your own. Look up intensive outpatient or detox programs in your area. In a program, you usually have a medical doctor, nursing staff, and counselor overseeing you/your case. Going to a program also helps prevent relapse during the most critical period of recovery.

NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.