by Nadia Pflaum
A year ago, a friend of mine underwent an intervention for his alcohol and drug addiction. His family sent him to the Pine Grove Rehabilitation Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for 90 days of treatment.
The other day, this same friend got a call from a fellow Kansas Citian who also spent time at Pine Grove. "Dude -- Tiger Woods is at our rehab!" the guy told him.
According to some news outlets, the besmirched golfer checked into Pine Grove for rehab after a series of his alleged adulterous indiscretions came to light. My friend told me what it's like there, under the condition that I not reveal his name.
He tells me that well-heeled guests sometimes get better treatment than the average Pine Grove client. For example, my pal did his time with a filthy rich owner of a major trucking company whose family insisted he check in to manage his addiction to hookers and cocaine. That dude spent just 45 days, rather than the customary 90, and flew in on his family's private plane. But even he was harshly reprimanded when he was busted sneaking smokes during his first week. (Because the facility is aligned with Forest General Hospital, there's no smoking on the entire campus -- something that would hardly bother a top-notch athlete like Woods but annoys the living hell out of veteran party people.) My friend sneaked cigarettes, too, and says he nearly burned down a forest of the namesake pine trees that surround the facility.
Pine Grove has three campuses. My friend stayed at the men's addiction campus, which consists of several buildings (the detox unit, an adolescent unit and a psych ward) and shared living quarters called "cottages." Two more campuses are a 5-minute drive away: the women's addiction campus and the men's sex-addiction campus, where Woods is presumably staying.
My friend suspects that Woods would likely have to mix with Pine Woods' regular population for weekly 12-step meetings, which the men's and women's addiction clients and the sex-addiction clients must attend as a big group. Those meetings cover issues such as safe-sex precautions, which are intended to benefit all three groups, given their high-risk lifestyles.
Woods is Buddhist, which probably doesn't present a problem at Pine Grove. My friend reports that the center's group meditations and prayers are pretty vague about what "higher power" one chooses to call upon. However, Woods may have some issues with the food. If he's a vegetarian, no doubt he's getting special meals taken to him; the cafeteria is "grade-school style" and heavy on the Southern cooking. There's greens at every meal -- collards or turnip, which are traditionally cooked with pork products like ham hock to add flavor. My friend remembers lots of chicken, catfish, cornbread and pecan pie, too. But tofu? Nofu.
My pal's 90-day stay set his folks back about $18,000. The sex addiction therapy is much pricier, he says, probably because those clients get their own rooms, and because of the high-profile doctor on board at Pine Grove. Patrick Carnes, my friend says, is widely considered the number-one sex-addiction therapist in the nation. (Ooh, it hurts, doesn't it, Dr. Drew?)
As for whoever snapped the fuzzy cell-phone picture of the hooded figure
alleged to be Woods, my friend doubts it was a fellow Pine Grove
resident -- cell phones are confiscated when a client checks in, he
says, and no one's allowed to make any calls on the land lines for the
first week of their stay.
So if Woods is indeed at Pine Grove, does he know that we know? "Probably," my friend says. "On the weekends, you get more TV and phone privelages. And we had cable, so even if no one's told him, he's probably seen himself on ESPN or TMZ by now."
Hattiesburg map via Bestplaces.net.