Charlie Sheen recently took his place at the head of the line of celebrities who have publicly discredited themselves, ruined their relationships, and damaged their careers by addictive and self-destructive behavior.
I’ve been reluctant to give even more attention to an essentially trashy story, but I see an important lesson in the way he continues to defend his unhealthy lifestyle with pride and claims that he is happy, living every man’s dream.
During a whirlwind of media interviews, he insists he’s overcome his alcohol and drug problems and that his polygamous life with his two “goddesses” proves his good fortune. He also claims this shows he’s a good father to the two toddlers who live with him, since his concubines help care for the children.
His gaunt and ravaged appearance suggests the harmful consequences of his lifestyle, but he insists he is happy despite contrary armchair diagnoses of mental health and addiction experts.
That’s where I became intrigued. Though I suspect the experts are right – that his behavior reflects deep problems most of us would associate with profound unhappiness – if he really truly thinks he is happy, he is happy, right? After all happiness is just a state of mind.
Perhaps he’s confusing pleasure with happiness, but it doesn’t really matter. His flamboyant spectacle of self-indulgence and obvious lack of self-awareness provide vivid proof that there’s a difference between a happy life and a good one.
I hope he eventually finds a way to a more healthy and fulfilling life, but, in the meantime, he is simply a reminder of the hollowness of a life without purpose or meaning.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.