Tiger Woods became a professional champion at age 20 and won 3 of the 4 major golf tournaments that year. Jack Nicholas who holds the record for winning the most major golf championships (18) called Tiger the greater golfer ever and predicted that Tiger would shatter his record. By age 36, Woods won 14 major championships then the "messenger of misery visited him." During the next 11 years Tiger went from one crisis to the next and did not win another major championship until today. There were multiple marital affairs, divorce, public shame and bad press, sex addiction treatment, the death of his father (who introduced Tiger to golf at age three), and one injury after another for 11 years. There are many lessons here which have implications for African American males and other clients seeking recovery.
1. African American males are often inspired by the success of other African American males. As Tiger Woods won the tournament today I cried tears of joy. It felt like I had just won the Masters. Soon after his victory I received a call from 5 African American male friends. One simply stated, "Did you see that?! Did you see that?!" Another stated, "I don't even watch golf. I turned away from watching the NBA playoffs to watch the brother win!" African American males seeking recovery need to be connected with African American males in long term recovery who are doing well in recovery. This can be a source of inspiration.
2. Tiger Woods win today is a testament to his own recovery story. Following multiple sexual affairs he entered sex addiction treatment. His ups and downs offers proof that recovery is not a straight line, there are many ups and downs and good things will happen if you hang in there.
3. Throughout this entire journey he demonstrated resilience which is a necessary ingredient for recovery and a protective factor against developing a substance use disorder in the first place.