7 Possible Reasons Charlie Sheen Hates Alcoholics Anonymous

In one of the myriad interviews he gave over the last week, Charlie Sheen said clearly that he hates AA. Here are a few possible reasons why he would hate AA so much:

1. He would have to admit he is powerless.
2. He would need to embrace Humility.
3. Deep tissue Change would be required.
4. He would have to be Anonymous!
5. His Higher Power could not be Charlie Sheen.
6. He couldn’t blame anyone else for his troubles.
7. He would need to learn to be Grateful.

A lot of people have trouble with Alcoholic Anonymous. AA is full of people and people can be messy and flawed.

The human train wreck formally known as Charlie Sheen is a common sight in the AA meeting halls. The only difference between Mr. Sheen and other self-absorbed, delusional, frantic addicts is the size of the audience to which they rant. These people do not last long in AA. They mock the Fellowship and the 12 Steps as too religious or simplistic. AA is beneath them.

People can get sober without AA. It is not necessarily for everyone, by any means. Even so, I have a deep respect for it.

For a few years after getting my B.A. and before going to graduate school, I was a substance abuse counselor at the Substance Abuse Center of Johnson County, close to Kansas City, Kansas. What I learned there was worth five Ph.D.s. Not being an alcoholic and because I thought it was important for me to know what it was I was prescribing to my clients, I attended a bunch of open AA meetings. The members made me feel welcome everywhere I went. One of my proudest possessions is my 30 day coin.

What did I learn? I learned that you can’t just go to one AA meeting and think you know AA. Every meeting, every location had its own kind of culture. There were the hard-core biker meetings, the white-collar professional meetings, the women’s meetings, huge open meetings, more intimate closed meetings…. you get the picture. There were also the religious meetings, yes, and the agnostic ones. I learned my higher power did not have to be God in the Judeo-Christian tradition, although a lot of people were comfortable with that. If I wanted my dog Snoopy to be my higher power I was encouraged to go for it, as long as I gave up my need to Control and give in to my higher power.

I learned that AA was a great leveler. Everyone was the same, the lawyer and the short order cook, the doctor and the housewife. Each equally brave, each deeply respected for the courage it took to just show up.

Sadly, all this Mr. Charlie Sheen, gripped by his illness, cannot comprehend. It must be terrifying for him to imagine a place where he would no longer be CHARLIE SHEEN.

He would just be Charlie.


  • I very much appreciate this post. As a woman who has embraced the 12 Steps of Recovery for (finally!) the majority of my adult life, I am saddened by CS’s inability to grab hold of the principles that could set him free. I’m not surprised, but sad nonetheless.

    I also want to tell you that it is refreshing for a professional (you) to be able to so clearly articulate the basis of 12-step recovery so clearly. Thank you.


    • Dear RJ, Yes, sadness is the emotion CS’s behavior invokes in me also. Plus a bit of anger at those who so clearly enabled him as long as he could stand up and produce for them. Not to say CS, as any addict, is ultimately responsible for himself. The fact remains that many addicts do not need to hit “rock bottom” to recover. Others will continue to use, lose their family, their marriage, even their children, but take away their job and suddenly it begins to sink in, they may have a problem.

      And what a considerate compliment you pay me! Thank you so much. It means a great deal. /Dr. A.

  • Funny and insightful post. I don’t know if you meant it to be funny, but the list made me laugh.

    • I’m so happy the post made you laugh. I am a great believer in using humor as a healing power. So yes, I did mean for it to be funny and true, too.


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