While the Associated Press recently named Tiger Woods Athlete of the Decade, I think he also might have the Addiction of the Decade.
Multiple adulterous affairs in such a short marriage are more common to the acts of a sex addict than they are of your common adulterer. People who misbehave at this level aren’t merely guilty of off course antics as described by the press; this is an addictive behavior.
While late-night TV is having fun with Tiger jokes, sexual addiction is no laughing matter. Like all addictions, it strikes people in all walks of life, from the skid-row pervert to the office manager.
It even strikes people of faith who do their best to follow the admonition of their faith. For Christians, it’s found in Galatians: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality . . . because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
Most of what I’ve learned about this subject, I’ve learned from the counseling of “God’s holy people.” As a chaplain, I’ve heard spouses promise before God that this would be their last time. I’ve heard them weep until they thought they’d squeezed every last ounce of sin from their soul, only to see the addiction return.
This especially is true for the sex addict whose mainline is Internet pornography. I’ve sat with spouses who’ve wept over their fears of inadequacy to their husband.
“Haven’t I offered him enough?” asked one especially beautiful wife.
“You absolutely have,” I assured her, “but this whole thing isn’t about sex. It’s not about you. It’s about his addiction.”
What makes this addiction particularly problematic is that there is no public support for the sex addict as there is for people who are addicted to food, alcohol, drugs or gambling. Most employers or family members will react in supportive ways when these addicts seek treatment.
So, forced into secret, sex addicts take the only way they know. They try the white knuckle or cold turkey cures. They apply all their willpower because they have to keep making a living. They lie to themselves promising that they will change. “This will be my last time!” they swear. But, alas, it’s not.
Thankfully, there are serious treatment solutions for this addiction. The treatment road starts with an assessment test. The Sexual Addiction Screening Test was created by the foremost expert on the subject, Dr. Patrick Carnes, to assist in the assessment of sexually compulsive behavior. You can find it at Carnes Web site, www.sexhelp.com.
If you have the addiction, however, treatment cannot begin without acknowledging the common adage: “Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.”
That’s why the most common treatment successes are found in self-help groups like Sexaholics Anonymous (sa.org) or Sex Addicts Anonymous (sexaa.org). Both groups practice the basic principles of recovery found in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Woods truly is a legendary golfer, but can you imagine how truly great he can be if he gets the treatment he needs to free his mind from this garbage and really play golf? I hope we don’t have to imagine too much longer.
Good luck to you, Tiger.