The actor has stayed out of the limelight for six years while working on his sobriety and raising his 14-year-old twins. Now he's ready for his comeback — and apologizing for the "alien" version of himself
After years of struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, Charlie Sheen is feeling pretty good about his life these days. And it looks completely different from when he was publicly ranting about having "tiger blood," or being a "fricken rock star from Mars."
"Next month I'll be six years sober," he tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I have a very consistent lifestyle now. It's all about single dad stuff, and raising my 14-year-old twin boys Max and Bob." (Their mom, his ex-wife Brooke Mueller, has been dealing with her own addiction struggles.)
"Now I wake up early, around 4:30 or 5 a.m., get an early jump on the news, work out, answer emails," he says about how he spends his mornings.
"Then I get the kids up and help them with their morning routine — if you can call it a routine," he says with a laugh.
It's a far cry from when Sheen's mornings revolved around drinking. "I loved drinking in the morning," he says of his past. "Loved some scotch in the coffee." But it was exactly one of those drunken mornings in 2017 that prompted him to reevaluate his life and make some major changes.
"One morning I'd forgotten my daughter had an appointment I'd promised to drive her to, and I'd already had a couple of pops that day," he says, referring to the girls, Sami, 19; and Lola, 18; that he had with his ex-wife Denise Richards.
"So had to call my friend Tony to take us. We got her there on time, but it broke my heart because she was in the backseat and I could just tell she was thinking, 'Why isn't dad driving?' So I got home and sat with that for the rest of the day. And the next morning I just stopped."
He quit drinking cold turkey — he says he'd already stopped doing drugs prior to that — and he hasn't looked back since.
"I think the first month I was like, I'm going to have give it a month, just see if I feel any better, and if my interactions with those that are closest to me improve," he says. "And they did. And I'm like, all right, I'm going to go another month. And then it got traction. I had momentum."
He adds, "There was just instant evidence that this was the side I needed to be on. I couldn't be in denial about it anymore."
Now Sheen is taking some baby steps back into the spotlight, testing the waters to see if the public is ready for his comeback. He currently guest starred as himself on Chuck Lorre's new dark dramedy Bookie, which stars Sebastian Maniscalco and is streaming on Max, and says he's looking forward to making people happy again through acting.
"For the longest time, I had the best work reputation," he says. "I was the first to arrive, last to leave, when in doubt, I would over prepare. I would just check every box. And then that went away. So I was really excited about being that guy again."
Sheen adds that he's happier than ever these days, even is it'a a different kind of life.
"I'm proud of the choices that I've made and the changes I've made to live a life today that will never look like that mess," he says of his former sloppy ways. "That was some alien version of myself."
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