If you want an eyewitness account of life on the streets, read A Golden Voice by Ted Williams.
Williams was a successful radio DJ in Columbus on several reputable stations for about 10 years. He knew he had a “golden voice” when he was a youngster, and he worked at perfecting his voice, and thinking of ways to be on the radio.
It paid off when he got an opportunity to be on one of the big stations in Columbus, and shot to the top. (twice).
He threw it all away when he got hooked on crack.
He managed to get clean for short periods a couple of times, but whenever things got rough, he’d relapse. Like many crack addicts, he spent time chasing that first high. In his case, he chased it for more than 20 years. Like others, he never found it. What he found was poverty, depression, humiliation, homelessness and lots of jail time. He hurt some people along the way. Some have forgiven him, others are still working on it. At least his mother— at 90—finally can feel hopeful.
Williams was adopted by people who really wanted him. His mother, in particular, made sure he had a lot of opportunities in life. His relationship with his late father was much rockier. It was no accident that his dad named him after the famous baseball player, Ted Williams. However, he never lived up to his famous name.
He was already an alcoholic when he joined the army. He parted ways with the US army for working some scams and drinking too much. He got a dishonorable discharge.
He gets more than once chance to get away from crack, but every time he manages some sobriety, he ends up relapsing. His nickname was “relapse Ted.” As most of us know by now, crack is very addictive.
He is co-dependent with a woman who prostitutes herself so they can smoke crack together. Her story is included. She tells it like it is. It’s not a pretty picture.
After years of being homeless, and doing whatever he could think of to make money for crack, he finally starts begging an hour a day on the street corner where he was videotaped by a Columbus Dispatch reporter. He was whisked to California after the YouTube video went viral.
I saw him at person at Barnes and Noble in Columbus where he was promoting his book. Some people were there because they were related to someone who is addicted to a drug, and were looking for hope. Some were there because they’ve lived his story. Others, were just curious.
He spent time talking to anyone who wanted to speak to him. He seemed sincere about wanting to help others.
He was doing a quite a bit of preaching in between talking about his book. His faith is a big part of his recovery. When you do read the book, you get 90% story, and 10% talk about faith.
Dr. Phil did give him another chance at rehab when he decided he was serious. He financed another stint in rehab. He’s been clean for 14 months
This should be required reading for social workers, or anyone working with drug addicts. It is honest.
I sincerely hope he makes it this time.
Even though this book is not for the squeamish or judgmental, it is inspirational in its own way.
Any opinions about Mr. Williams? I would be interested to find out what you think?
- WATCH: TIME Talks to Ted Williams, The Man with the Golden Voice (newsfeed.time.com)
- ‘Golden Voiced’ Ted Williams Goes From Homelessness To Prominence (cleveland.cbslocal.com)
- Golden-voiced Ted Williams celebrates one year clean and sober, has new book (offthebench.nbcsports.com)