In a recent interview at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta Georgia, Tiger Woods was asked, "What do you think some of your thoughts are going to be on Thursday, on the first tee?" He responded, "I won numerous times in the last few years but I wasn't having anywhere near the amount of fun. Why? Because look at what I was engaged in. When you live a life where you're lying all the time, life is no fun. And that's where I was. Now that's been stripped all away and here I am. And it feels fun again."
The foundation of every addiction is built upon lies. In the beginning the lies may simply be lies of omission. We tell part of the story and conceal the rest.
Like the addiction itself, the lies get worse. Many people who have survived an addiction will tell you the worst part is the constant lying to those we care about in order to protect our addictions. We lie about the addiction and then we lie about the lies. Just remembering what we lied about can become a full time job. The more we lie, the better we become at lying.
Addicts will look you in the eye and convince you that any story they tell is plausible. Those who love us and care about us want to believe us no matter how illogical our lies become. Our loved ones rely on the faith and trust that has developed over the years to explain the inconsistencies in our statements. It is for this reason that when the devastating effects of the addiction become known, it is the betrayal of that trust that becomes so difficult for our loved ones to cope with. It can take months and years to restore that trust. In some cases it will never happen.
Spouses of addicts not only have to deal with their own family issues but are often judged by others for failing to recognize the addiction itself. The statement is often made that surely they must have known. Surely they must have seen the signs. How could they not be aware that something was going on with the person they loved? The answer to those questions is simple. Addicts hide, convince, and lie.
There seem to be two distinct camps when it comes to Tiger Woods. Those who accept what he has gone through as an addiction and those who don't. Most people in the recovery community understand completely what he is saying. They hear it at their meetings every day. It makes perfect sense. To them, it is the only plausible explanation for what happened in his life. Hopefully, his story will be one that resonates with others who are struggling with their own addictions and inspire them to deal with their problems.
There are also those out there who just don't believe in addiction. They would suggest that we all make choices and some people just make bad choices. Many of these people have never been exposed to addictive behavior or if exposed they never witnessed a person successful in recovery. It is difficult to believe that some people can recover when the only reference a person has with addiction is failure.
What many non-addicts will never understand is that in the beginning our addictions are socially acceptable and work. It may take years for this conduct to develop into abnormal behavior. Over a period of time our behavior becomes riskier and as addicts we lose control and cross over a line from which there is no return. For most, like Tiger Woods, it can even take the "fun" out of life. That is what addiction does. In the end, addiction takes it all. This is not an excuse for our conduct but rather an explanation. It is rare to find a person in recovery who has not accepted full responsibility for his or her actions.
People who honestly deal with their addiction can have everything back. Families can be saved, careers can be reengaged. And even lost souls can be resurrected. Tiger, I wish you the best and I am very happy that golf "feels fun again."