Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ted's not-so-excellent adventure

Like many Americans, I love a good comeback story. As such, I enjoyed the discovery of Ted Williams, the homeless man from Columbus, OH who possesses what has been described as a "golden voice."

You've seen the video. A Columbus Dispatch writer heard of Williams' incredible vocal skill and decided to track him down for a sample of that radio voice.

In less than a week, Williams was barraged with job offers and media requests. During his appearances on each of the three major networks' early morning talk shows, Williams spoke of how his once promising radio career foundered in the early '90s due to drug and alcohol abuse. As a result, he acquired a lengthy rap sheet due to such crimes as forgery, misdemeanor theft, breaking and entering, etc.

One of the more curious parts of the story was how Williams insisted he had been clean and sober for two years despite his living on the streets. This was the aspect of the story which I was most skeptical. Such addictions are extremely difficult to overcome upon entering a rehabilitation facility, much less while one is still confined to living on the streets.

Unfortunately, within less than two weeks of Williams' meteoric rise to stardom, his road to redemption has taken a detour.

Golden-voiced Ohio homeless man-turned-celeb Ted Williams, 53, is on his way to rehab.

During a taping of the Dr. Phil Show today in Los Angeles, Ted Williams -- with his family's support -- said he has decided to enter a private rehabilitation treatment facility for his alcohol and drug dependency, a show spokeswoman says. Williams came to the conclusion following a lengthy one-on-one conversation with Dr. Phil, which will air tomorrow.

According to the show, the decision was made due in part to Williams' strange behavior over the past several days, which culminated in a physical altercation with one of his daughters at a Hollywood hotel. He was briefly detained by police and later released.

Williams' ex-wife Patricia and five family members also appear on Thursday's episode to share their version of the incident and why they feel Williams is ill-equipped to handle his sudden fame. Although Williams had claimed that he was sober for more than two years, he admitted to Dr. Phil that was not the case. He has been drinking daily.

When Williams was hired on last week to fulfill several voice-over jobs, he was immediately taken off the streets and given a mortgage for a home. While that had to be a welcome change, his chemical dependency problems weren't going to go away. If anything, having a stable (and quite possibly substantial) income would seem to only exacerbate said problems.

The good news is now that Williams has employment and a home, he is able to give undivided attention to overcoming his addictions. While Williams was homeless (and therefore penniless), his top priority on a daily basis was obtaining food to eat and a warm place to sleep. Overcoming potentially crippling addictions was, in all likelihood, not met with the same sense of urgency.

This doesn't have to be the end of Williams' comeback story. But there's no question he's got a long road ahead, like any recovering alcoholic. The difference here is Williams may be doing so under an intensely hot public spotlight.


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