Martin Sheen Hopes "This is the First Day of the Rest of Charlie Sheen's Life as a Free Man"

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Like most of us, Martin Sheen watched the Today show on Tuesday, November 17th, waiting for his son, Charlie to reveal that he was HIV-Positive.

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"He had been leading up to this sort of story for several months, and we kept encouraging him to do it," Martin Sheen told the audience Tuesday night at CME Group's Global Financial Leadership Conference, held at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, FL.

"And he kept backing away and backing away because it was like going to his own execution, I guess."

The elder Sheen, who has been sober since 1989, has stood by Charlie, along with his wife, Janet; they weren't sure at first if their son was going to end up making the announcement.

"We didn't know until he walked on the set this morning that he was going to do it," Sheen said, according to the Naples Daily News.

"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."

Sheen got a bit choked up recalling the interview with Matt Lauer.

"I can't speak for him of course. Sorry," he said.  "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."

Sheen's words made an impact on the audience as he talked about coping with and overcoming addiction, a battle Charlie has publicly struggled with.

"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," Sheen said.

"I hope that this day is the first day of the rest of Charlie's life as a free man."

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