Don’t Let the Ted Williams Story be a Set Up for a Let Down

Ted, You're Looking Good!

One can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy for Ted Williams and his seemingly miraculous journey from homeless to hopeful. But unless a life transformation support system is put in place to secure his success he will soon be helpless, and possibly homeless, again.

It’s hard to find anybody who hasn’t been affected by addiction. Addicts and their family and friends know that it’s a BEAST! The combination of drugs, years of homelessness (especially after knowing a level of success), the added shame, isolation and criminal activity inevitably means a turbulent and long mental, emotional and physiological road ahead for Williams.

A Media and Marketing Ploy
Second chances are great, but let’s be real: These “miracles” of raining job opportunities and employment contracts for Ted Williams are not the end of his trials, but rather the beginning. His sudden access to income poses as much threat as they do potential, so failing to treat his situation holistically is nothing short of a set up for him and his family for even more, greater disappointment.

From Whence Ted Came

A real commitment to Ted Williams would include a life transformation support system that will teach him how to thrive in his new life. Anything other than that is a media ploy of good will that will only benefit its marketers.

(Since posting this blog much has happened with Ted. Here’s a time line of sorts – a journalists account of the media’s “inability to resist the rags to riches to rehab storyline”)

Mommy Cares, but Skeptical
As she should be after 20 plus years of promises and disappointments, “Mommy” (it’s what 54 year old Ted calls his mother) has more proof that Ted won’t make it than she does that he will. From all public accounts she seems to be set in her beliefs and ways.  Like all Mommies, Ms. Julia’s got her own issues. Sure, Mommy wants better for him. But she’s probably not capable of playing a supportive role, at least in the beginning, in Ted’s transformative journey toward stability.

Ms. Julia is who and what she is – for her son’s good or not. She clearly, above all, wants her son to succeed, to make the most of the new opportunities he’s been presented with. And she’s clearly naïve about the intrinsic nature of transformations because her message hasn’t changed – pray. But if natural talent and prayer were enough it would’ve been enough 20 years ago – it was not enough then, and it’s not enough now.

There are many other videos of Ms. Julia’s feelings about Ted. You’ll find them with a quick Google search or at the end of each of these there are links to others.

Have you ever had somebody who served up regular reminders of what a mess you’ve made of your life? Ms. Williams is consumed with the “shame” Ted’s brought on her and their family. She was incapable of just being happy for him; focusing on his being there with her after two decades apart; appreciating that her son is in a better position than she thought was possible for him; and savoring the moment.

Instead, she speaks more of the hurt, pain, shame, and disappointment Ted’s life has brought her than the opportunities for redemption (isn’t that what she’s been praying for?), sustainable living, reconciliation with his children and grandchildren, not to mention the gift to the world he can give again because the man does have a set of pipes that’s soothing to the soul.

Others are not your problem, rather what you BELIEVE about others.

Totally unintentionally, she’d keep him in the past – making it tough to live in the now in order to create a productive future. After all, it’s where she lives – in the past wrongs that she BELIEVES Ted has done to her.

Role of Religion
Her husband (Ted’s father) was a Jehovah’s Witness and Mommy goes to “a nice church” (her words) in Brooklyn. Now depending on what side of the coin you’re on, their prayers have finally worked or their religion is what’s pushed Ted away. All due respect to religions and spiritual beliefs but here’s the thing about redemption and miracles, they need cooperation.  Ted needs some life skills to deal with where he’s been,  what he’s lived and what he BELIEVES about it all in order to successfully navigate where he’s going.

Opportunity is Doomed without Transformation
While many are throwing money at him right now, along with that he needs refining because the moment he embarrasses one of his sponsors, the rug will be pulled and he’ll become the man who was given such tremendous opportunities, but blew it!

What Ted Williams needs is time and space to grow, along with the opportunities. He needs teachers who’ll be friends, too – who will treat him tenderly yet firmly as he develops confidence, discipline, focus and patience. Because voiceover work is about more than speaking; it’s often a game of hurry up, wait and do overs. He’ll need permission to miss it while trying to make it in daily interactions because in the media business, interpersonal and social skills are imperative. He needs to know that it’s okay to be afraid, but not to the point of impeding progress. And he shouldn’t be expected to be an All Star overnight, rather he must be given space to learn – NEXT Decision BETTER, Ted!

Inner City Athletes-Rappers Success Syndrome (ICARSS)
Yeah, I made that up. But the way inner-city kids/young adults who aren’t used to having money and fame screw up opportunities by continuing to operate in all that they know – without any new skills to deal with their new lives – is what we can expect from Ted Williams without a transformation support system. This would include drug counseling and support in recovery, family and relationship therapy, life-skills development, etc., to help in his many transitions.

The list of examples of ICARSS is CRAZY: Lil Wayne, Mike Tyson, Lil Kim, Michael Vick, T.I., Ray Lewis, Mystikal, Ricky Williams, RemyMa, Lawrence Taylor, GucciMane, Michael Irvin, C-Murder, Ray Carruth, Foxy Brown. And the list of self destructive behaviors and collateral damage goes on and on, from jail to broke and every kind of trouble in between, until they learned to effectively live their new lives and acclimate to changing environments.

No, Ted Williams is not a kid – he’s well into his 50s – proof that age has nothing to do with effective living. Everyone has the capacity to learn, as proven by most of the ICARRS examples I just mentioned, but what he needs to learn in order to be considered a success will happen over time, not over night and he WILL have some hiccups and setbacks – many of which are already being set up.

He’s never had an apartment, yet they’ve offered him a house…Set up!

He’s not paid bills yet they’re trusting him to be financially responsible…Set up!

According to him, he hadn’t spoken with his mother in a decade nor seen her in two decades, yet they put them on national television for a “reunion” exposing their vulnerabilities and the dysfunctionality of their relationship…Set up!

He’s not had a relationship with his children, lived on the streets for 20 years, begged to eat, became a repeat felon to support an alcohol and drug addiction and now he’s got thousands of dollars in income being offered, without any new skills to deal with any of it…HUGE Set UP!

Although I made ICARSS up I’ve seen stranger things in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the bible of psychology – remember where you heard it first.

I want the best for Ted Williams and I hope that those offering him all these wonderful opportunities will collectively commit to him as a project because he’ll need mental and emotional stability – tools to be responsible to and for self and accountable to those paying him. At this point, he’s not even remotely able to handle the pressure of suddenly being depended upon, to be fiscally prudent or to be a real success story.

Praying and hoping for the best is not the same as properly assessing what is and effectively plotting a course that ensures success.

What do you think? Comment below, I’m listening…

And if you enjoyed this post, please share it.

All the best,
Speaker, Individuality Advocate
Author of Living by Design and Living in Harmony


About Zara Green
Hi, I'm Zara Green, A "Do Better" Fanatic and Your Advocate...I'm glad you're here! As a personal growth Author and Speaker, who's Individuality & Resilience-Focused, I spark conversations that expand thinking, encourage effective & productive responses and produce better individual decision-making and better interpersonal communications in relationships. Growing Up with Zara because life is meant to be enjoyed ;-)

28 Responses to Don’t Let the Ted Williams Story be a Set Up for a Let Down

  1. debo42 says:

    Zara this is absolutely on point!

  2. CJ Domino says:

    Awesome story & so true. What we fail to grasp is that when he was discovered on the streets he was peddling, not at an AA meeting or a homeless shelter. Was he really asking for a chance to turn his life around or just a chance to survive for that moment?

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  4. This is a great article and have touched upon many points. Everyone wants a “feel good” story, but no one wants to address behind the scenes. This man, along with many athletes & artists, go from one to sixty in 5 seconds without the proper guidance to manage money, behave responsibly and embrace change.

    After everything is said and done, he must focus on his behaviors to change his life and not indulge in malicious activity.

  5. Zara Green says:

    @Deb, CJ, Fab & $$ – thanks for your feedback. I think it’s irresponsible to put this much responsibility in this man’s hands without protecting him too.

    He is mentally and emotionally, a child who needs his hand held.

    I want him to do well and I believe he can, but not without a lot of help.

  6. Stzlyee says:

    I was struck by his acknowledgement, honesty, and ability to discuss why he ended up homeless. He does have a spritual “sprit”. One important point was, if you noticed,while[all]the new opportunities were comming in, TED changed gears and discussed his desire to visit his mom, so he could apologize to her and seek her/family forgiveness. That I thought, was an indication he needed and wanted to be forgiven and loved.
    TED said he’s been clean for two years when he was found, and that means he had the will to stay clean. I think he will make it and while he may have set-backs as we all do, I believe he will “plot” out his path to success and journey forward.

    TED is so lucky he was found and while there may be set-backs and disapointments, as he moves forward (Leans Forward) I hope he is happy inside and has the opportunities to work and do what he loves.

    I wish TED all the best.

  7. giftparties says:

    Good luck, Ted!

  8. KWiz says:

    This was a great post. My younger brother (44) is a recovering drug addict. He started when he was a teenager. He’s been in prison at least twice. Fathered two children. He was in prison when our mother died (the last time she saw him was over six months before he died when he disappeared on a drug binge and ended up in prison for the second time). He got out and took advantage of our elderly father. He was back in prison (when he was supposed to be there for our father) when our father had a stroke (and he was alone when it happened). He made many promises he didn’t keep. Whenever he got a little bit of money, he would disappear on a drug binge. This is what drug addicts do.

    Nonetheless, as our father passed away several months ago, he was actually getting his life together. He has found something he’s passionate about and he’s going at it full force. He’s got support – he has a supportive wife who he married last year on the day of my father’s funeral (his funeral was in Atlanta; he lives in Wisconsin). He is involved in his church. And after much struggle, he is making great strides. But he’s had to work hard to make every baby step without stumbling. It wasn’t handed to him.

    Sorry for the long comment, but unless Ted’s got strong support around him, as you stated, he’s being set up for failure. And sadly, the media would relish in the story – we gave him a chance and he squandered it. I pray he gets the support he needs, and I pray he takes advantage of it, or he will end up back on the streets, like my brother did.

  9. Zara Green says:

    No apology needed, KWiz your comment is invaluable! It’s easy for people who haven’t had an up close and personal experience to live in lala land about the real challenges of recovery after being strung out for so long.

    It’s not easy and the family goes through it with them and are affected by their addictions.

    Wanting the best for them is not the same as them owning their life and making better decisions.

    Thank you for your transparent account. I appreciate it. My condolences to you and I’m pulling for your brother. Sounds like he’s on his way. 🙂

    Huge Hugs!

  10. Lady Tha ProducHer says:

    You make some great points!!! Great article!

    However, I also believe in total transformation, and I also believe in blessings. As this may be a setup that may let him down again, there are also stories where people transform and move forward to live successfully. I guess that makes me one of those ‘glass half-full’ optimist!

    It’s rare you find a story where one is GIVEN at the drop of a dime a ‘second chance’, so to speak. Those moments are a reason of purpose and worth even if it meant a reconnection with his aging mother, and perhaps some reassurance knowing her son has been given another opportunity at success.

    He’s an intelligent, articulate and educated man who happens to have had a rough past… However, through all the hurt his mother has endured, she knows her son has what it takes to have a better life.

    We can’t ignore that his fame is a result of his amazing vocal talent, and that he desperately marketed that talent as a homeless man at a stop light… that is until someone stopped along and made a great difference for him and his family.

    I don’t think he will move backwards…and I think his past has haunted him enough. I think he will do very well, and he will make up for lost time with his life, his family and friends.

  11. Nichole Hodge says:

    May I suggest that you have “his people call your people”. LOL! No, seriously I think it would be a great idea if you could provide some life coaching for this gentleman. It would be smart for his team to designate some of his new found cas…h toward a retainer to allow someone like you to help him along the way.

    I read your piece and really enjoyed it-totally on point. But do you think you are being just a tad bit too hard on ‘Mommy’? For me, Mommy gave us another perspective. Mommy’s point is ‘Hey, he has ALWAYS had this voice and always had the opportunity…’ Yes there is some shame involved…she looks like a proud and sassy woman, who probably had so much hope for her only son and clearly decades of lies & deception has taken its toll. In fact, I see more cautious optimism rather than shame. At age 90, the last thing she needs to do is set herself up for one final disappointment. Now if she is still singing same song of the past a year or two from now when Ted is thriving clean & sober…I’ll be the first one to be all over Mommy. LOL!But he was just panhandling a few short days ago…

    Which brings me to the another point: I too believe that Ted could be in trouble. I saw his interview last week on the Today Show & all was well until the very end when he started thanking people. When he thanked his “girlfriend” I thought, ‘oh great, if he’s bringing the homeless crew along for the ride, he’s in for a short trip.’ If I were advising him, he would have to immediately disassociate himself with any of his current friends. Celebrities do it all the time with people who aren’t on drugs & homeless-certainly he can get rid of his current crowd. Also, on the video you provided on your site, Ted made a point of noting that his 2 current advisors are ‘clean & sober’…does that mean that they were was once fellow addicts? Probably wouldn’t be my first choice to handle his affairs.

    His past is not far enough in the rearview window for Ted to handle fame or (for him) fortune responsibly. Zara please have your people call his people…or vice versa…LOl!

  12. Zara Green says:

    @Lady The ProducHer – I hear your optimism. And yes, there are a lot of reasons (it seems and you’ve listed some) that he should succeed: he’s intelligent, articulate, educated, and even while panhandling still practicing his craft.

    And I agree, everything is purposeful and if the only reason for all of this was to reconnect him with his aging mother, it’s all worth it.

    I am the ultimate optimist of things in my control because I have sound principles that I live by to apply to challenging situations that are fail-proof.

    While, Ted Williams is CAPABLE of developing the same, today, he is not ABLE so my optimism won’t work on him (From one Louisiana girl to another, doesn’t like sound like voodoo…wishing something upon another, and so it is, lol). He needs skills.

    I wish him well too, but my wish is no match for a crack desire. With Money and Opportunity and no new skills to resist…Crack will prevail. That’s Real.

    But with you, I’m hopeful! 😉

  13. Zara Green says:

    @Nichole – That was so much fun to read!

    I completely agree that he needs a team of folks dedicated to his transformation and the money they’re offering him should fund it to start, and as he progresses- needing less supervision, then he can be trusted with more.

    I knew somebody would call me on being hard on Mommy, but I don’t believe I am being hard on her. I think I’ve made an honest assessment. Even I had to come full circle since this story broke.

    At first broke I was a snottin’ fool and so hopeful!

    I even tweeted: “I believe in miracles. I believe in 2nd chances. I believe that it’s never too late. I believe in Ted Williams.” And then, glued to the television, watching videos, thinking about my own experiences growin’ up in the hood and dealings with family addicts and thought…this a damn train wreck waiting to happen!

    I’ve watched every video out there on Mommy, in part, because she reminds me of my deceased Aunt Audrey who would be about her age and wearing her fur coat…a fly Mommy, she is. 🙂

    Glued to the tube and couldn’t wait for the “reunion” of Ted and Mommy, and then every video after was telling – in different ways.

    I completely agree with you that there is cautious optimism, but I also see, hear and understand “sure, my son has a great voice and potential. He’s always had that, BUT Y’ALL DON’T KNOW MY SON.”

    I’m not bashing Mommy, at all! I think Mommy’s entitled to be however she is, but based on the many videos (and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them all now) a daily diet of Mommy, up close and personal, could prove to be a repeat of what he may have been running from.

    I don’t know what “that” is, but I do believe it’s relevant. I believe that being able to see his mother is a good thing for both of them, but expectations need to be managed.

    “If he’s bringing the homeless crew along for the ride, he’s in for a short trip” LOL!! Hilarious, but TRUE! Total Transformation is KEY! Without it, Nichole, Ted’s trip is over before he gets going good and it’s a set up!

    Hey Nichole, I think his people should call my people! 🙂

    That was fun! Thank you Nichole! 😉

  14. Diamond says:

    Love the insight Zara. I’m just hoping that little saying “A setback is (only) a setup for a comeback” applies to Mr. Williams. Maybe he was tired of living the way he was living and needed a fresh start. While Momma’s know their children (to some degree) we can flip the script ya know…which reminds of something Michael Jackson said, “you can’t know what I know because you haven’t been where I’ve been mentally”. We just don’t know how “tired” Mr. Williams is inside of living on the street.

    “I think it’s irresponsible to put this much responsibility in this man’s hands without protecting him too.”

    Zara, you pack a powerful punch with the above statement. I agree he’s going to need a team by his side that have his best interests at heart; otherwise, London Bridge could fall down again. I am wishing him a better-than-excellent new start.

  15. JazzyLadee says:

    You really leave no room for comments, as your post covers EVERYTHING.

    I adopted my little cousin 10 years ago because her mother took the same route that Ted chose. Right now, I feel like Ted’s family. I am tired of HOPING and there is no TRUST. I PRAY that she gets her life together. If she were afforded the same opportunity as TED, I would be on the sidelines probably saying, “She is going to F*&K it up!” Someone on the outside looking in would probably say I was not supportive and being a naysayer. I would say, you have not LIVED this EXPERIENCE.

    My grandmother died with tears of despair in her eyes because she looked around at all of the accolades her children had received 20 years ago, but today, most of them choose a life of crack addiction. Therefore, I completely understand the reluctance in Ted’s mother’s voice & his family.

    He will need a support system, but even with a support system in place, it will be up to him to be able to HANDLE his instant success. He has lived so meager for so long, will he even desire these amenities we NEED. Time will only tell…


  16. Zara Green says:

    @Diamond – It is true…nobody knows the trouble another has seen. I want him to do well, too. Thanks for reading and commenting. 😉

  17. Zara Green says:

    @Jazzy – “Never trust an addict”. That’s what those personally affected by them learn. We learn this from them.

    Sure, there are addicts who learn to live productive lives but they can’t be made to do it and they never do it for others – not the love of parents, nor the love for their children – none of that is powerful enough.

    The threat of losing it all, nor gaining oh so much more…none of those factors are stronger than crack.

    That’s what we know.

    Sure, I want Ted to do well, but I KNOW that as he is and without built in protection he doesn’t know how and will, inevitably go back to what he knows.

    Jazzy, thank you for being so transparent. You are an Angel and your daughter is blessed to have you.

    ((HUGE hugs)) 😉

  18. Alfred Edmond Jr. says:

    You already know I think this post is brilliant. But after reading the comments that follow, I am more convinced than ever that Ted Williams needs real help if he is to really gain a full recovery and a productive life. All those who think we’re just being “negative” need to spend some time around drug counselors and people like JazzLadee and KWiz who have actually lived and dealt with addicts who were also people they love. To paraphrase an actor playing an addict on a recent episode of The Closer, addicts are often decent, wonderful people. They are also monsters. If we really love and want to help addicts, we cannot pretend that the monster does not exist.

    Bravo, Zara. Bravo.

  19. Nichole Hodge says:

    Seems Ted Williams and his daughter got into a huge argument at their hotel in L.A. while in town taping the Dr. Phil show. The police were called, they were taken to the station to ‘calm them down’ but no arrests were made. The LAPD spokesperson called it a ‘minor incident’.

    I’m not surprised at all that Ted and his daughter got into heated exchange-let’s face it, he’s been estranged from his family and in and out of their lives for years. By his own admission he was nothing more than a deadbeat dad who abandoned his wife & children even before he became addicted to drugs. Quite frankly, I’m surprised the altercation didn’t escalate to fisticuffs!

    But my problem is this: the exchange between Ted and his daughter is further evidence that the quality of his team of advisors is sorely lacking. Ted needs people around him to do more than just accompany him to events, field his offers and help him eat the food in the green room; Ted needs people around him who can help him diffuse situations, avoid toxic people and drag him into his hotel room when he begins to lose control. Going from the center median of the highway to the Ritz Carlton in a matter of days is going to take some major adjustments. He needs to know that he can’t holler in the halls of the hotel the way he can on the Interstate with his fellow residentally challenged buddies. His life has done a total 180 and he simply doesn’t have the life-skills to handle even the smallest of situations. I’m sure a couple of weeks ago it was no big deal to get into a scuffle over the last can of tuna; but today a verbal altercation landed him on the 6 o’clock news.

    After watching Ted on Dr. Phil today, I am hopeful that he will get the coaching and daily intervention that he needs to be successful. One of his biggest challenges will be to regain his acclimation to living life as a productive citizen. If it’s true that he has been clean & sober for over 2 years, then the fact that he chose to stay on the streets is indicative of his comfort level with homelessness. Hopefully Dr. Phil’s commitment to helping this man will make the difference.

  20. Zara Green says:

    @Alfred – 🙂 Thank you. Your support is so encouraging. 😉

    I agree, the comments drill down on the issues and I appreciate every one of them.

  21. Zara Green says:

    @Nichole – I’m watching Phil (I have trouble giving reverence where I have no respect so I won’t call him “Dr”), Part II…I can remain hopeful even when things and people crash and burn but that ain’t ‘gon help Ted.

    He’s lying through his teeth – which is what addicts do!

    He’s unwilling to break from the people he’s been with – what addicts do!

    Phil’s commitment? Totally questionable…I think it’s more for tv. This is a circus. Work with him FIRST! And with this family privately before putting them out like this.

    Do the work in private, even if you must record it, and then permit them to come and TESTIFY later on.

    Then he’ll be a hero, but right now he’s a tv personality after ratings. A real doctor who cares about people’s mental, emotional stability would have had different priorities.

    He’s earned “Phoolish Phil”. 🙂

  22. Toni G. says:

    Like everyone else, I wish nothing but the best for Ted. However, I know that realistically, it is a long road to redemption for him.


    I told my mom yesterday that Phil should have had that “counseling” session without the cameras if he were really interested in helping Ted get his life together and establish strong relationships with his children and grandchildren. I feel by airing it a week or so after the “golden voice” video went viral, he is acting in the same manner as the rest of the media: attention-starved and willing to do anything to get a piece of the rating pie.

    At any rate, I am praying for Ted’s well-being and hope that, over time he will be able to prove all of the skeptics wrong, which probably includes himself at this point…THEN we could truly celebrate!

  23. @Toni G: It’s too bad I can’t “like” your comment, because you’re spot-on. Even though I’m happy that Dr. Phil is helping Ted get real, it’s clearly a self-serving move. But, then again, it’s his livelihood.

  24. Zara Green says:

    @Toni – I’m looking forward to a true celebration WITH Ted, not for him. So far everybody’s been putting the cart before the horse celebrating his talent and opportunities…both of which he’s always had. TED has to want all these things for himself. Getting him off the street does not address how he ended up there.

    Being realistic is to deal with the man’s issues if they really want to help him instead of exploiting him.

    I’m still hopeful; hopeful he’ll decide to help himself.

    Thanks for weighing in, Chica! 😉

  25. Zara Green says:

    @Lisa Marie – Er’body got motives, huh? Phil’s is ratings because he’s a TV personality first on the Dr. Phil show before he’s a doctor. 😉

  26. @Zara: Of course it’s about ratings first. Otherwise, he could have met with that family behind closed doors. But between Ted and those “Real” Housewives, he might just win a Daytime Emmy. Hell, he even moved the Housewives reunion show back a week, so he could devote four entire days to Ted and family. And to make matters worse, that darn Alexandra is coming back. I declare, I done had enough of that train wreck.

  27. Pingback: Off My Chest: Where’s the Real Help for Ted Williams? - BLACK ENTERPRISE

  28. Zara Green says:

    Well Nichole, You put it out there and it happened…Ted’s people called my people and I am a personal development expert in “Ted Williams: Homeless to Hollywood” on the Biography Channel. Starting, May 26th and then re-airing several times. It’ll then onto the A&E Channel.

    Is there anything else you wanna send out into the Universe on my behalf…I’ve got a LONG LIST 😉

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