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Personal Stories

“The workbooks are so well written. They are clean, informative, and very helpful. The assignments are just right for where I am in my recovery. This course has been just what I needed.”
“I loved the education I got out of the workbooks. It was such an imperative process to learn about the basis and basics of my husband’s addiction. It gave me the empathy for him that I was lacking before.”
“Every part of the LifeSTAR program was so helpful! The best part, though, for me was Workbooks Three and Four. They opened up my eyes to how things are for me, why I am how I am, why I do what I do, and how to change it for the better. This course has changed my life!”
“The exercises I least wanted to do turned out to have the most power. Each workbook, for me, was better than the last.”
“For me, at this time in my recovery, the most valuable exercise in this program is the learning about the 'drama triangle'.”
“I learned a lot about myself and even learned reasons for his behavior”
“I am very encouraged after understanding myself better, that there are reasons why I am like this, rather than just being twisted”

All participants agreed to have their testimony on our website,
audio has been altered to protect their identity.

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Media Stories

Radio Appearance

Dr. Mary Anne Fifield was a guest on KFAX on August 25th. Podcasts can be found here.

Tiger Woods Is Not Alone

Nike will never shoot a commercial to show my impact on my sport and the world; multiethnic children will never look into a camera lens and say they resemble me.

But I am Tiger Woods.

And weeks after the personal life of the world’s most recognizable athlete crumbled, I still cringe every time I hear a voice mail of a desperate man trying to hide the truth from his significant other. The reason I have yet to write about the biggest sports story of the year in these pages is because Woods’s plea to one of his many mistresses brought up old, awful feelings of shame, guilt and humiliation.

I won’t revisit my own crash site in any detail here, but I can say the painful first step of the journey — of seeing myself for who I really was — also began in the worst imaginable way.

I am Tiger Woods, and just as Charles Barkley stood up for him during his weakest moments, I had friends lend support, telling others not to judge.

And while their efforts were appreciated, most of these people turned out to be enablers from the fraternity of arrested development, where boys must be boys because authentic men aren’t allowed to join. I knew I couldn’t change until my circle of “friends” changed.

I am Tiger Woods, and though I have never been an elite athlete, I work in the culture of the elite athlete, where infidelity isn’t merely condoned, it’s strongly encouraged.

It’s a culture where Kurt Thomas’s New York Knicks teammates once told him not to bring his wife for a three-day trip to Miami, “because that’s like bringin’ sand to the beach.”

Joe DiMaggio, pushing 60, once tucked a phone number of a 20ish flight attendant in his pocket, smiling at the sportswriter seated next to him in first class.

“Joe, she’s somebody’s daughter,” protested Ron Bergman, then covering the Oakland A’s. Replied DiMaggio, matter-of-factly: “They’re all somebody’s daughter.”

Joltin’ Joe was also Tiger Woods, who may have to suffer the indignity of losing his family to understand this goes deeper than the culture of blow-dried nothings in beer commercials, deeper than bored, rich alpha males on the road for 270 days a year.

I am Tiger Woods, and saying the greatest golfer on the planet got married too young is a cheap cop-out that misses an essential point: that this is really about a man who has everything and nothing at the same time, a guy medicating with women to fill emotional gaps — the way some people use food, alcohol, drugs, work and golf on television.

The absolute meltdown of a global brand is only extraordinary because of the once cool, calm and oh-so-calculating persona of Tiger. If Rick Pitino, Alex Rodriguez, David Letterman, Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton and Mark Sanford are also Tiger Woods, so are many anonymous people who never played sports, hosted a TV show or ran for office.

And like the potentates and poseurs, they too probably cringe when they hear the voice mail begin, “Hey, it’s Tiger,” and wince when they read the explicit text messages between a panicked guy and one of his other women. Most of all, they thank the heavens they were only found out by the people they hurt — rather than by all seven continents.

I am Tiger Woods, and I understand why the scent of a woman is unbeaten in 2009 and beyond. It is an equal-opportunity addiction, costing manicured, polished stars such as Pitino their coiffed reputations and unknown, dumpy software salesmen their families and jobs.

The truth is, I need help not to be Tiger Woods, a support system helpful to this day. That hearing words such as “dog” or terms such as “commitment issues” only serves to mask real issues. We use them so people such as Tiger Woods never take the time to Google “Attachment Disorder” or “Love Addiction” or look at how their old man treated their mom and what kind of message that sent to a gifted child who would grow up to respect a game more than his wife.

When I hear people say, “Look, it’s not like he’s an alcoholic or a drug addict; sleeping around is not going to kill Tiger,” I cringe again. And think of the most extreme case of infidelity imaginable in sports, in which a beloved, church-going man winds up with a bullet in his head, lying next to the woman who shot him before she took her own life last summer.

Yes, that deranged woman could have been anyone, a warped fan, even his wife. Still, the terrifying truth is Steve McNair was also Tiger Woods.

Three stories piquing prurient interest the past year involved a born-again former Pro Bowl quarterback, a college basketball coach who wore his Catholicism on his lapel, and Tiger, the heir apparent to Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan in the sports world, an icon marketed to be the most wholesome of them all. When all three fell from pedestals — and one of them paid the ultimate price for it — that’s not a dangerous trend of infidelity; that’s disease.

When married billionaires bring breakfast waitresses to the family home in the middle of the day after they’ve already hooked up in a parking lot, that’s not sex; that’s real affliction.

When the world’s most recognizable athlete uses his Blackberry to text a relative kid in Las Vegas about how much he misses her — and she’s but one of a dozen — that’s not sex; that’s sickness.

I am Tiger Woods, and I have poked fun at his travails because I use humor as camouflage, because if I were to deal with the truth, if the world were to know the details of my sad, pathetic electronic communication with other women at one time in my life, the horrific embarrassment would not just send me into seclusion; it would send me off the ledge.

It’s easy — maybe even natural — to judge his actions and ignore what led to them:

Tiger Woods has an emotional void in his life. This void must be huge. For him to be where he is today, this deep emptiness must have consumed him, must be something he has been living with for a long time. Moreover, he has to live with his emptiness while being fully aware that everyone in the world knows just what a manufactured lie his image has been.

Having stared into this void, having known this hollowness, I can neither excoriate the guy nor exonerate him.

I am Tiger Woods, and because of that, I can only hope that he realizes he’s sick and takes steps to get better.

Porn, The Web, and The Workplace

Probes conducted by the SEC’s inspector general discovered 31 SEC staffers downloading porn while “working”! One, an attorney, viewed 8 hours a day, and when his hard drive was full burned the images on DVDs which he stored at the office and home. He has resigned. One, an accountant, viewed over 16,000 images and found his way around all blocks created by the IT watchers. More time was spent looking at porn than the markets.

Elsewhere, a senior executive at the National Science Foundation viewed porn for 331 days. An executive at the Gettysburg National Park viewed porn for over 3400 hours in 2 years. A chief judge in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals launched a porn site while presiding over an obscenity trial.

The Nielson Company reports that more than 21 million Americans accessed adult websites on work computers in March of 2010. That’s 29% of working adults. Average time spent: 1 hr and 45 minutes. Average time per session was 12 minutes and 38 seconds. Adult sites ranked 5th in popularity after member communities, online games, e-mail and instant messaging; even more than classifieds/actions and current events/global news.