Slurred a colleague? Cheated on your wife? Beaten your girlfriend? Allegedly slept with a lot of cocktail waitresses, a la Tiger Woods?

If you've done something you wish you hadn't – and haven't we all been there? – there's a hot new pop culture way to avoid or postpone any public groveling: go to rehab.

From ESPN's Steve Phillips (rehab for sex addiction, and anyone who saw his paramour knows it's a serious problem) to Isaiah Washington (who underwent "executive counseling" for gay slurs against fellow Grey's Anatomy case member T.R. Knight) to the "domestic violence" counseling of Chris Brown, rehab has become the new apology.

Much like the proverbial man who murders his parents and asks the court for mercy because he's an orphan, the many forms of what's generally called "rehab" has become the preferred way to avoid a public confession of sins. Hell, there are even television shows about celebrity rehab.