You couldn’t miss him. One of the first Internet blow ups of 2011. A homeless man from Columbus, Ohio who gained national exposure for his radio DJ sounding voice. Ted Williams was homeless because of drugs and alcohol abuse that crashed his life and his family relationships. So his sudden fame was one of those great “American dream” stories? Ted was thrust into the media whirlpool and it looks like he will be spit out after the leeches get their fill.
It started out with good intentions. A Columbus Dispatch reporter takes a video of Ted hustling for money at an Interstate exit. He has a “golden voice” and the video proves it as he does a professional sounding radio air check. Next the right people see the video at the right time and Ted is plucked out of the make shift tent home in the bushes near the interchange and into the lime light. National print, radio, and TV appearances follow as does tons of job offers from companies that see a feel good story any first year marketing major could see.
In the first week of Ted’s new fame no one talked about him getting help for his addictions. He claimed he had been sober for two years but it is very rare that an addict can just go cold turkey like that. When other people have lived in such conditions, like if they were abducted, there usually are mental health professionals who help them transistion back into normal society. Here was a guy who lived a rough life on the streets for more than few years and people took him at his word that he was sober and okay. They didn’t seem to be getting him all the help he needed to acclimate back into regular society.
After the umpteenth article in the Columbus Dispatch about Ted, I tweeted the editor, on January 6th, and asked if Ted would be getting some mental health help.
Me: Do you know if there is any mental health help for Ted Williams – I worry he might slip back to bad habits
Ben Marrison: Apparently #TedWilliams, the #GoldenVoice was offered some type of counseling support today.
So it seems no one addressed his mental health needs for four days. Of course the media got all they needed from Ted with all the appearances and interviews.
Ted next showed up on the Dr. Phil show and I guess people might say he was getting help then but Dr. Phil McGraw gave up his licence to practice psychology in 2005 and the State of California considers his show entertainment. After the third full show, Ted agreed to go to rehab since he had relapsed due to the stress of his new found fame.
Williams left after two weeks because his manager said he had work in Los Angeles.
All ends well, right? Nope. The Hollywood ending is just that – found only in a movie – especially when it involves a drug and alcohol abuser.
Ted Williams really needs professional help if he is going to really control his addictions