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Addiction Portrait to Go on Sale to Help Others with Addiction


A portrait of actor Charlie Sheen is to go on sale to raise money for the charity Abstinence-Based Recovery Trust. The painting by artist Lincoln Townley is exactly what ‘the true face of addiction’ looks like, according to Sheen.

Sheen has struggled with alcohol and drug abuse for many years and has been through recovery many times before relapsing. His latest relapse famously played out in the public eye and resulted in him losing his job on Two and a Half Men, the popular American comedy drama.

Townley has previously sold a painting of comedian Russell Brand for the same charity, raising $20,000 in the process. Sheen said of the painting, “He has captured the essence of what it is to live with addiction and he is able to do this because he has his own story of addiction and recovery.”

Helping Other Addicts

Sheen is hoping that the money raised from the sale of the painting will help others who are struggling with substance and alcohol abuse; to try to raise even more money, he is flying Townley to LA to sign the painting before it is auctioned off.

Townley is also a recovering addict and he has written an autobiography about his alcohol and drug addiction, calling it The Hunger. The artist claims that writing the book helped him to get clean because the honesty of it was like a therapy. During his time as a nightclub manager during the late 2000s, Townley painted over 170 works based around what he saw on the Soho scene and is now painting a series of portraits of other addicts including Gary Oldman and Mickey Rourke, who have both personally requested that he paint them. Townley’s view of addiction is that it is something you live with forever. He said, “An addict is always an addict. You’re just a sober addict if you’re not on drugs.”

Recovering from Addiction

The first step to recovering from addiction is to admit that you have a problem. Many addicts are in denial or simply do not want to admit that they have a problem. If confronted, they will deny it or tell others that they can stop any time they want. It is usually only when they hit their rock bottom that they realise they need help.

Rock bottom is different for every addict. Some people with a drug or alcohol addiction will face a near death experience because of their addiction and it is this often spurs them into action. Others will realise how their addiction is having a serious negative effect on members of their family and this will make them get help. Some are forced to seek help when given an ultimatum by family members or friends and only when faced with the realisation that they are about to lose everything will they be encouraged to ask for help.

Recovery is Not Easy

Recovery is not easy and, as in the case of Charlie Sheen, relapse is common. Some people find it more difficult than others do but many organisations out there with excellent staff will do everything in their power to help anyone who asks for it.

Once an addict has admitted that there is a problem and has agreed to get help, the recovery process can begin. Often, the first place that addicts and their families will turn is their GP. GP’s will have information on where to get addiction help.

However, websites such as Addiction Helpline are also a great place to start. We have a team of expert counsellors who can offer advice on every type of addiction. Our team has been fully trained to offer advice and information on the various treatments available and can put you in touch with many of the top private rehabilitation organisations in the country.

Helping a Family Member with Addiction

Wanting to get better is half the battle and staying focused on the programme will make it easier. Family support is vital, as this will encourage the recovering addict to stick with the programme. There are a number of ways that families can offer support to recovering addicts, including:

  • Learning everything they can about the particular addiction and how the recovery process works. Addiction Helpline’s expert therapists and counsellors will provide support and information to family members to help them get through this process and to help them learn about how to offer the right support to their loved one. If family members know all about the addiction and the programme of recovery, they can be there for their loved one and will know the right things to say and do.
  • Provide a sober environment for their loved one. If the recovering addict lives at home with parents, the parents should ensure that there is no alcohol in the house. The same should be said of a spouse or partner living with a recovering addict. Making sure that the substance to which the recovering addict has a problem with is not readily available is very important.
  • Stay healthy and speak to counsellors about their own issues. Addiction can place a huge strain on family members so it is important that they learn to deal with their own stresses and troubles at the same time that the recovering addict is going through their programme. Many family members will feel some sort of resentment towards the addict, especially if they have had to deal with hardship because of the addiction. These feelings need to be discussed and dealt with so that everyone can move on.
  • Help the recovering loved one by offering support wherever it is needed. This may be by looking after children, attending meetings, or by providing transportation. Anything that a family member can do to make the rehabilitation process easier will be a great help and will improve chances of recovery.
  • Be there for the recovering family member no matter what happens. It is important to realise that, in many instances, relapse is common. It does not mean that the work put in up until that point was wasted. It just means that it will be necessary to begin the process again. However, the recovering addict will be able to use that experience and learn from it. They will be able to identify what triggered the relapse and then everyone can work together to make sure it does not happen again.

Staying Sober

Once an individual has completed a rehabilitation programme, he or she will have to work hard to stay sober. There is always going to be temptations around and stressful situations to deal with that would once have led them straight to the substance they were dependent on. However, rehabilitation teaches addicts how to deal with these situations and how to avoid temptation.

Many people in recovery will go on to help other addicts by sharing their experiences and helping them to get on the road to recovery and this can be a very rewarding role.

Another great way to stay sober is to learn a new skill or get a hobby, which will take the mind off any cravings and will keep the person occupied. Staying sober can be difficult but with continued support from family members and friends, it can be done.

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