I can’t help but wondering what Tiger Woods is going through. I never followed him or really watched him play golf. It is only recently that I caught wind of his story. I am sure, that he thought this private story would never come out. If people thought it would be displayed, they would do something to stop it. Maybe it is a sex addiction or maybe drug addiction. Should we be surprised?
I an not saying that in a bad tone here? I see it as a disease. He might have an illness, not a badness. If one know what addiction looks like it is easier to comprehend it. The world which puts people up on pedestals is totally amazed or scandalized when they fall into addiction.
Didn’t we just recently see what drug addiction to Michael Jackson? Earlier with Judy Garland, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. When one is this famous, it is hard to live without some ‘help’ in the form of a bottle, drug or secret behavior. It relieves the pressure to succeed. In a way, it is like choosing to do something bad, to balance out the good they feel or the pressure to “be good.”
After years of interviewing addicts, I haven’t really met one who doesn’t have this dichotomy going on. The minister who is hooked on opiates. The housewife/mother who also works as a professional counselor who drinks too much. The youth leader who looks at porn. The successful business man who struggles with compulsive gambling. The doctor who is hooked on drugs. The politician who has a sex addiction and smokes pot. Why is this? There is such imbalance. We expect too much of these people in some ways. It is great to achieve and make a difference, but we have to balance it with a weak side and work these things through vs. cover them up.
Are there addicts who don’t have as much “success” or pressure to be perfect? Maybe we just notice it more because of the dichotomy. I do believe that there is something else going on. I think that people who are addicts work harder to make a good impression. We call it, “impression management.”
Many times, they are so good with people we can’t believe that they are a user or have been so irresponsible in the addiction. But maybe there are compulsively “good.” They have to be good. They feel such shame. They struggle with people pleasing. For good recovery to occur, one has to let go of what people think.
They say in 12 step groups in a very colorful way, “You can’t save you face and your ass at the same time.” This is really true. One has to be absolutely honest to recover. In any addiction, one has been hiding, typically for years. The secret part needs to come out. Does it need to come out in the papers, talk shows and The Tonight Show? I don’t think so. It might have precipitated recovery for Mr. Woods, but it doesn’t help him in any other way.
Getting to a safe 12 step meeting where it is anonymous and there is a vow of confidentiality, in fact, greater that confidentiality in that it is anonymous. Anonymous, means that no one knows who you are. It will be challenging for famous golfers or actors or singers to get to a 12 step where people don’t know them, let alone become not become enamored by their talent or popularity.
In 12 steps they say, “we lead with our weakness.” This means we don’t bring our strengths to the meeting. We bring our weaknesses, that is the weakest moments we have had this last week. We share the moments where we wanted to use, or held a grudge or were stung by fear. The share their powerlessness and the fear that they won’t get better or the mess is too hard to clean up. In so doing, God meets them in their humility and the freedom begins.