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Ted Williams in rehab? Good! He’s not alone

January 13, 2011

Rehab is not just trendy bar in Las Vegas. It’s not just a television show featuring celebrities. It’s not just something a star pulls out of his or her hat in order to avoid jail or public scorn. It’s a difficult process that requires commitment and devotion.

So if Ted “Golden Radio Voice” Williams is on his way to rehab I can only be supportive. I just hope he is the one who wants it, not Dr. Phil. As much as you love and want a substance abuser to stop using, nothing will change unless the abuser wants to change. Internet fame and overnight fortune are not magic wands that lead to a life of sobriety, even if that’s our collective wish for Ted.

Over the years I’ve interviewed a number of alcoholics and drug addicts, including former professional basketball player Marvin “Bad News” Barnes. I stumbled across him at a homeless shelter in San Diego. After some prodding, on my side, he told me his journey from center court to the streets was because of his drug abuse. At the end of my story Marvin told me he was going straight.

He could not have been a more engaging interview subject. I wished him well. The story was broadcast on San Diego television. I won an Emmy for it.

Cut to a few years later when I did a follow up story. Of course I was wishing for sunshine and lollipops. The reality was crime and court dates. Recovery was no slam dunk.

After multiple stints in recovery, Marvin founded the Rebound Foundation, to warn kids about the dangers of drugs. Wouldn’t it be great to run end credits after that?

But Associated Press reports he was arrested in 2007 for cocaine possession.
He appeared to rebound after that in 2009 when interviewing up and coming player Geoff McDermott for a local station in New England.
No, I did not get my storybook ending with Marvin, but I’ve also known at least two alcoholics who died. I never heard of either of them going to rehab.

There are a number of destructive things about drug and alcohol abuse, including the fact that there is no way you are going to shine.
Right now we don’t know what will be the ending of the Ted Williams saga, now just over a week old. At least he has a chance to write another chapter.

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