The National Catholic Review
A friend of mine who works with priests with serious addictions tells me that the first thing you have to know when working with addicts who are right out of rehab is that they are going to lie to you. They are going to try and charm you.  

To me, it sounded a little harsh. 30, 60, 90 days or more in rehab -- He's done his time.  Give the guy a chance.  

And that, he explained to me, is the problem. Rehab isn't the same as jail.  It's not about punishment.  It's about coming face to face with a black hole inside you that you simply cannot fill.  Some people get there in rehab; they get out and continue to work their program, continue to admit that dark hunger and their powerlessness over it and seek help.  

Others get out and the old patterns begin again, just in new forms.  Seduce those around you, now perhaps with your contrition.   And try to fill, rather than face, the void.   

I was put in mind of those words when I watched Tiger Woods’ press conference this morning.   He was tightly scripted, as these affairs always are, but I don't doubt his emotions one bit. He has undoubtedly come face to face with an avalanche of new awareness about the consequences of his actions. It would be harrowing and devastating for anyone, let alone someone so fully in the public eye.

But as he hinted at getting back into golf at some point, maybe before the end of the year; as he noted -- in what seemed almost a momentary glimpse of the old Tiger talking about "yesterday's round" -- that he had taken a good step; and as he begged people to “find room in your heart to one day believe in me again”, much as I felt for him, somewhere within me those alarm bells rang.  

On the face of it, the desires are certainly good, and I wish him well. But for the sake of everyone involved I wish him a lot more time to face his demons first. I hope he takes it.  

Jim McDermott, SJ

Comments

Beth Cioffoletti | 2/21/2010 - 10:25am
My dear Maria, You are correct that there are many kinds of sins, and we all sin.  Each and every one of us.  Every day we find new pockets of falseness, absurdity and impropriety within ourselves. THere is a lie that is at work not only in this or that nation, this or that political party, but in all of us, everywhere.  But even in our blindness and apparent incapacity for God, God is still with us. 
Anonymous | 2/21/2010 - 2:32pm
Beth: Fornication and adultery are *sin*,not *disorder*. ND the Catechism. From fornication and adultery evolve all manner of disorder. To confuse sin with a psychiatric *disorder* robs an individual of the freedom to so name sin for what it is and thus obatain Mercy and forgiveness through confession and repentance. If fornication and adultery are nothing more than a *psychiatric disorder* then the individual is prey to the science of victimology, and not accorded the dignity of man's freedom, and the correlative abiltiy to choose, or not choose, sin.

As for drunkeness, the Catechism tells us it is sin. In fact, I would argue, that our liberation from all sin, drunkeness included, is predicated upon, and determined by, conversion and repentance. Any AA meeting, anywhere in the world, will attest to this fact. On this subject, I have forgotten more than most will ever know about drunkeness. I will leave it at that.
Beth Cioffoletti | 2/21/2010 - 1:43pm
Exactly, Maria.  Sin can become a serious disorder.  Just as you said in comment #3:
 
"Funny, how all *sin* has become *disorder*, in need of treatment, instead of conversion and penance."
 
I'm sorry, I thought that you were speaking tongue in cheek in that comment, and saying that addiction should be seen as a sin and that religious conversion and penance would fix it.
 
WIth my friend who died, she had such an "allergy" to alcohol that I don't know that she ever so called "sinned" with drinking, or ever consciously decided to get "drunk".  I would be hesitant to say that sin led to her disorder.
Anonymous | 2/20/2010 - 8:48pm
III. THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF SINS

1852 There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."127

Anonymous | 2/21/2010 - 12:07pm
Beth: Sin is not the disorder.It is disorder that grows out of sin. A different perspective. Peace, Maria
Beth Cioffoletti | 2/20/2010 - 4:10pm
I don't know if you have ever known any real alcoholics or not, Maria, but I can tell you that addiction is not a sin, but a serious disorder which, without treatment (and even with treatment), often ends in death.  I know, I lost a very wonderful friend last November.  Her disorder was not in any way due to "sin"; she was one of the most amazing women I have ever been blessed to know.
Anonymous | 2/19/2010 - 6:36pm
Funny, how all *sin* has become *disorder*, in need of treatment, instead of conversion and penance.
Michael Bindner | 2/19/2010 - 5:04pm
It is good he is going back to rehab. Maybe he'll learn what they have to tell him about humility within recovery and how press conferences are not a part of that. In prior days, the press would leave human tragedy like this out of the news, which was and is better for all concerned. Indeed, I have qualms about it being here.
Anonymous | 2/19/2010 - 2:40pm
There is no doubt that Tiger has successful experience in physical, emotional, and mental discipline that got him to the golf level he has. It would be well for him if he applies the spiritual discipline to the same level