Friday, October 14, 2016

The Power Of Talk

What I am writing here, is opinion. It’s the opinion of a professional counselor who has spent many, many hours working with addicts and their families, their friends, their employers, their attorneys and their probation officers.

Many hours talking. Thousands of hours, if I added them up.

We talk about life, problems, compulsions, successes and failures. We talk about pain and joy and sometimes we talk about the sheer horror that accompanies addiction. Sometimes the talk is loud and angry, sometimes it is interrupted by tears, sometimes by laughter. The talk can be pressured and anxious, it can be relaxed and spontaneous. Sometimes it can be whispered, haltingly. Sometimes it's a flood.

Out of all this talk, I’ve come to conclusions that I’d like to share.

First, talk is healthy. Addiction thrives on secrecy because addiction is always based in shame. As the addiction drives our actions we become ashamed,not only of what we’ve done, but of who we are. Of what we are. And as long as that shame is wrapped in secrecy, it becomes stronger until it is a wall that cuts us off from the rest of human companionship.

The first time that an addict says their name at a 12 Step meeting followed by the words “and I’m an addict” something powerful begins to happen. The wall begins to crack, and the warmth of the other members flows in. Shame encounters a setback. Good talk has begun to replace the cold emptiness.

The Secret is out.

Second, talking out problems helps us to better understand them and come up with ways of solving them. There’s an old saying, “if you spend too much time in your head, you’re living in a bad neighborhood.”

it’s true. Talking to yourself rarely makes a problem easier to solve or an obstacle smaller. It’s more likely that we just keep turning something over and over in our heads, somehow making it more difficult and complex at every turn.

Talking it out with someone who is a really good listener, like an experienced professional counselor, is a different story. As we talk about difficulties we conceptualize them, we receive feedback which allows us to gain a perspective on what's causing our problem. Whatever the issue is, we’re no longer alone with it.

I’m very fortunate that I’ve spent most of my life talking with people as they face problems and solve them. To accompany them on their journey as they go through dark times and emerge into the sunlight.

It’s a good life. Let’s get together and talk!

Ken Williams
484 431 2931

Monday, September 5, 2016

"Sometimes There Isn't A Next Time"

This moving letter from a grandmother, originally published in the Delaware County Daily Times, had such an impact that I wanted to share it with as many people as possible.
If you have any concerns about your kids, please contact me at 484 431 2931, or email me at

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Comeback Kid


Yeah, it's been a while.

I haven't posted anything on my Recovery page for a long time. Honestly, for a while I didn't know if I would ever post anything here again. It's been a tough time. I considered myself retired, but not really, not deep down.

I wasn't retired. I was sick. And sad. It was a really tough time. A lot of you know the story, and I am very grateful for the ways in which you have stuck by me.

But there's a point in all of our lives when, even in the midst of suffering, circumstances force you to raise your head from your own grief and look around at what's going on.

For forty years I have been a drug counselor. I've worked with addicts and their families. I've worked inpatient, outpatient, halfway houses and Intensive Outpatient. I've been an interventionist, a group therapist, a family counselor and for a time, God help us all, an administrator. I've also been an advocate and a very vocal critic of the way people with substance use disorders and their families are treated in our society. I've also worked with defense attorneys as an evaluator and expert witness in custody and criminal cases involving drugs.

And, as many of you know, I am a recovering addict, and my own struggles with addiction, I believe, inform my work with others. I believe in recovery from addiction as a practical reality, not an abstraction.

Recovery is my passion.

So, my “retirement” is at an end. It felt awfully self-indulgent to be idle when kids are dropping dead in an opiate epidemic of insane proportions, while the pharmaceutical companies profit both from the drugs fueling
the addiction and the medications that treat it. I didn't get into this work to be on the sidelines.

I'm back. Call me at 484 431 2931. Email me at

I'll work with you.