Martin Sheen was attending the CME Group’s Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples, Florida last night and spoke out about his son Charlie’s announcement on the TODAY show that he is HIV positive. He also talked about dealing with a family member’s substance abuse and addiction problems and offered advice to others who are working through the same issues.
The Naples Daily News reported on the event.
“He had been leading up to this sort of story for several months, and we kept encouraging him to do it. And he kept backing away and backing away because it was like going to his own execution, I guess. It was the most difficult thing he’d ever done. And he kind of sealed it when he called Matt Lauer last week and asked if he could go on.
“We didn’t know until he walked on the set this morning that he was going to do it. I saw him Saturday night, my wife and I went to see him, to make sure he knew we were behind him, and if he wanted me to go, I would have canceled this event. He said, no, this was his and his alone. I can’t speak for him of course.”
Sheen then reportedly got choked up. But then continued:
“Sorry. As a father, I dare say that if I were to ask, just a general question in this room, how many of you have children or spouses or nieces, nephews, uncles, clients, who are dealing with drugs or alcohol. I dare say that there isn’t a person in here that wouldn’t raise their hand. When someone comes to them-self, they have the moment of clarity, and they reveal their secrets — which all of us have — in public, it is a great sense of relief. It is a miraculous occasion.
“This morning, as I watched him alone, reveal his deepest, darkest secret, I couldn’t believe the level of courage I was witnessing, and that it was my son. I left him a message, and I said that if I had that much courage, I would change the world. This afternoon, I was still unable to reach him, and I left another message, that my favorite quote from Robert Kennedy was fulfilled with him today. Robert Kennedy once said, ‘One heart with courage is a majority.’ So, I just want to encourage all of you that have children, spouses, aunts, uncles, clients, that are involved in any form of addiction to realize that it’s a disease.
“And if it they had cancer, you wouldn’t think of them any differently. But most importantly, people, and I speak from my own personal experience, most people who become addicted are looking for a transcendent experience. They are looking for one, the other, God, whatever it is, and naturally they shortcut the journey because, the apparition.
“It belongs to the drug, of course, but the effort to find the transcendence in our humanity, our brokenness, to accept the brokenness and to rise with it, without the drug, is what we call recovery. And I hope that this day is the first day of the rest of Charlie’s life as a free man.”
Watch Charlie Sheen’s discussion with Matt Lauer HERE.