Addition By Subtraction

Charles Barkley is one of the greatest basketball players ever. He’s also hilarious. His one liners (Sam Cassel looks like Gollum!) are rivalled only by Shaq for their ability to be simultaneously offensive and endearing.

Sir Charles is charming in a way that makes you take notice of his positive attributes while ignoring his less than savory characteristics which include, but are not limited to, a painfully bad golf swing, massive gambling addiction, and eyebrows that look like Little Richard’s mustache.

Charles Barkley made headlines  on Wednesday by revealing that he hasn’t spoken with his good buddy Tiger Woods since that ill-fated Thanksgiving weekend in 2009.

“You think you’re friends with a guy. You talk to him once a week for 15 years. You’re like, this dude is my friend, we do things, we have fun together… I haven’t talked to him in two years and I’m wondering what the hell is going on.”

Charles denies any knowledge or involvement in Tiger’s nearly 10 year binge with women and prescription drugs, even though he maintains that the two were close. He can’t fathom why Tiger isn’t interested in hanging out with him and other celebrated gambling womanizers like Michael Jordan.

While there are many possible reasons for the lack of communication between the two, something obvious should be jumping off the page to Barkley.

Anyone in recovery from a substance or impulse control problem can tell you that their first significant progress came about when they intentionally changed their daily routine.  By putting themselves in different places and times throughout the day they were able to distance themselves from ingrained behavioral patterns.

A next major step is taken by doing this same thing with relationships. Not spending time in the presence of people who helped enable or indulge your indiscretions is a painful and challenging step towards recovery. It’s so difficult that people in recovery often times move to a different state or region.

It’s called “Doing The Geographic”.

Doing the Geographic is the entertainment equivalent of a Pippa Middleton coverage addict blocking the E! Channel and giving up Hoda & Kathie Lee, while canceling their subscription to People Magazine.

Doing the Geographic means more than just alienating yourself from the problem, it means alienating yourself from anything that isn’t part of the solution.  So where does someone who is a world wide icon go when they need to pull a geographic?  Is there any place a global celebrity can go to distance themself from the people and places that made up the life that they are trying to leave behind?

In the past year, Tiger has broken ties with nearly everything in his life not named Nike.  People can take it personally or they can just take it.  Sir Charles may not have been part of Tiger’s problem in the past, but Tiger’s silence is telling us that he doesn’t believe that Barkley is capable of being part of the solution… whatever that may be.

Breaking ties isn’t just a problem faced by celebrities looking to kick a habit, it’s something that each of us has to comes to terms with as we are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

“And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” -Matt. 5:30

What is it that you need to cast away?  What is it that God is wanting to replace?  Are you willing to let go of anything that isn’t part of the solution?

3 Responses to “Addition By Subtraction”

  1. Sharon O August 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    This leaves a lot to think about… thank you again for a great challenge.

  2. John August 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    You want to be a different person? You gotta do different things.

    • Jon August 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      different is good.

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