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#NPRreads: The Core Of Addiction And The Views Of Tiger Woods' Former Caddie

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the#NPRreads hashtag. On Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you three items.

From social media editor Lori Todd:

What's at the core of addiction? Is addiction physical or mental? Is it both? These are questions I've contemplated over and over as many in my family have struggled with addictions themselves, from alcoholism to cocaine and many awful things in between.

Over at The Huffington Post, Johann Hari writes that the "rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live." Today, it's easier than ever to cut ourselves off from one another. Without meaningful human connection, individuals are primed for addiction to drugs or anything else that gives them a sense of connection. "The opposite of addiction is not sobriety," Hari writes. "It is human connection."

I grew up in a household with one, sometimes two, alcoholic adults. As a teenager, I learned that a handful of my aunts and uncles also struggled with addictions to cocaine and alcohol. In one extreme case, an uncle took his own life after struggling with addiction and PTSD following his return from the Vietnam War. Seeing firsthand how my father coped with his older brother's suicide and suffering the consequences of my mother's addictions, I had no compassion for addicts. But as the years passed, my understanding of addiction has shifted, much like Hari's. Now I know that compassion is a requisite for recovery.

You can read more about the medical, psychological and historical studies of addiction in Hari's book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.

From Two-Way blogger Laura Wagner:

Steve Williams, Tiger Woods' former caddie, came out with a new book called Out Of The Roughthis week. The Guardian writes that the book "charts his career which focuses, for obvious reasons, on his successful alliance with Woods. The duo were together for 13 years, during which time Woods won 13 majors."

Williams, however, isn't shy about blasting Woods. He writes:

"One thing that really pissed me off was how he would flippantly toss a club in the general direction of the bag, expecting me to go over and pick it up. I felt uneasy about bending down to pick up his discarded club, it was like I was his slave."

Really? Comparing his job to slavery was wildly inappropriate, especially considering he was paid millions over the course of his career and had Woods as the best man at his wedding.

I find Tiger Woods a flawed but fascinating sports figure and would be interested in reading a book by someone who was so close to him for so many years. But after reading a few excerpts like the one above, I grew increasingly less interested in hearing what Williams has to say.

From digital editor Steve Mullis:

I'm an active person, I get to the gym regularly and bike to work, but I'm not a hard-core runner. Like a lot of active people, running a marathon is on my bucket list of terrible ideas. Anyone who takes on challenging physical events can tell you that doubting yourself is often your greatest enemy. Reading the story of David Walters, a 60-year-old United Airlines pilot and runner who finished the New York City Marathon in 2 hours, 47 minutes and 27 seconds — faster than many half his age — is not only humbling but very quickly helps you squash any personal excuses you might have for putting off your own challenges. This quote from Walters is something many of us can relate to as we ponder getting older:

"At this stage, when you're working your way backward in time, you have to find new motivation," he said. "You know next year you probably won't be as fast, but you still find the joy of pushing yourself to the limit."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.