Tiger has hit a heavy rough patch
It seems almost every day now, we are hearing stories about various celebrities who are discovered to have issues with substances. Anna Nicole Smith seemed to start this spiral downhill, with Heath Ledger following her, although Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan and others had been quite obviously struggling for years before them. The list of famous celebrities who have been touched by this disease goes on and on. Sometimes it seems like almost everyone has a problem.
Might Tiger Woods suffer from this disease as well?
I awoke this morning to more news about substance abuse – this one involving Tiger Woods. Rumors are circulating after a witness reported that Woods may have had alcohol, Vicodin, and Ambien in his system on the evening of the famous tree/fire hydrant accident in front of his home. I suspected an Ambien black-out may have played a role in the accident after hearing reports that a witness heard Tiger “snoring” on the scene. Black-outs, specifically black-outs during which people drive or raid the refrigerator with no memory for the event later, are quite common with Ambien.
In the coming weeks, it will be interesting to notice how this story is handled. My only hope is that with an increase in these types of stories that there will also be an increase in awareness. Perhaps one day soon we will begin to chip-away at the stigma – to change the way we look at and treat addiction.
The stigma attached to addiction is what keeps people from seeking help . Addiction is seen as a voluntary action – and at the very beginning, it is – but oftentimes it does not take very long at all before it becomes involuntary. It is this involuntary taking of the substance that eventually leads to catastrophic consequences. The shame of the consequences is what keeps people with this disease, particularly celebrities – who have a definite financial interest in keeping their image “clean” – in hiding.
If Tiger Woods or other celebrities suffered instead from symptoms of another deadly disease, such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, how might we respond differently? If Tiger had something (other than substance use) happen to his brain that greatly impacted his judgment, decision-making, impulse control, and emotional state, among other things – how would we talk about this? How might he and his family handle the illness? How might his doctors handle the illness?
It is time for America to break through its own denial. The type of discussion that should be going on in our world today should center around addiction/substance abuse as an illness, not a moral issue – this type of discussion actually should have taken place a long, long time ago.
Awareness is the only way that the American addiction crisis is going to change.