"They showed up in droves with banners and songs, all types of fanfare and celebration of, you know, what I think was a very public display of a mental health moment."
Charlie Sheen is revisiting the "unfortunate sequence of public and insane events" that dominated the media 10 years ago.
During an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, the actor, 55, recalled his public downward spiral that led to his firing from "Two and a Half Men" in 2011 and bizarre interviews where he popularized the terms "winning" and "tiger's blood."
"People have [said to] me, 'Hey, man, that was so cool, that was so fun to watch. That was so cool to be a part of and support and all that energy and, you know, we stuck it to the man,'" Sheen explained.
"My thought behind that is, 'Oh, yeah, great. I’m so glad that I traded early retirement for a f------ hashtag.'"
Ten years after CBS dropped him from the highest paid acting gig on TV, Sheen said he regrets not changing the narrative when he was given the chance.
"There's a moment when [former CBS CEO] Les Moonves and his top lawyer, Bruce, were at my house and they said, 'OK, the Warner jet is fueled up on the runway. Wheels up in an hour and going to rehab, right?' My first thought was sort of like really … there's some comedy value to what my first thought was," he began. "In that moment, when I said, 'Oh, damn, I finally get the Warner jet.' That's all I heard. But if I could go back in time to that moment, I would've gotten on the jet. And it was that giant left turn in that moment that led to, you know, a very unfortunate sequence of public and insane events."
"There was 55 different ways for me to handle that situation, and I chose number 56," he continued. "And so, you know, I think the growth for me post-meltdown or melt forward or melt somewhere -- however you want to label it -- it has to start with absolute ownership of my role in all of it. And it was desperately juvenile."
Sheen also revealed what he believes warranted such reckless behavior.
"I think it was drugs or the residual effects of drugs," he admitted. "And it was also an ocean of stress and a volcano of disdain. It was all self-generated, you know. All I had to do was take a step back and say, 'OK, let's make a list. Let's list, like, everything that's cool in my life that's going on right now. Let's make a list of what's not cool.' You know what I'm saying? And the cool list was really full. The not cool list was, like, two things that could've been easily dismissed."
"I was getting loaded and my brain wasn’t working right."
Even so, Sheen said the reaction to his conduct could have used more empathy rather than mockery.
"I was really a guy that needed someone to reach out to and say, 'Hey, man, obviously there's a ton of other s--- going on. How can we help?'" he explained. "And instead they showed up in droves with banners and songs, all types of fanfare and celebration of, you know, what I think was a very public display of a mental health moment."
"I had four children and went through two divorces in and around trying to navigate the landscape of being on the most popular show in the known universe, so it was a lot," he added. "And sometimes you pick a target, you need a scapegoat, you need someone to put it all on. You know? It can't be me, it's gotta be him or them or those folks. And that's just not the road best traveled."
The "Hot Shots" vet has come to terms with his decade-old antics still popping up on social media, but he has a plan to move forward.
"It's all right if it still means something to them and, you know, I was the delivery device for them, then that's fine. I just, I have absolute faith that the things I'm going to do professionally in Act 3 are going to put a muzzle on all that stuff and people can celebrate me again for what I actually do for a living."