“Rebuild the Life You Deserve” – Interview with Recovery Advocate Paul Williams

“Rebuild the Life You Deserve” – Interview with Recovery Advocate Paul Williams

I am so pleased to present the talented Paul Williams, singer,song-writer, composer and actor.  You know those oldies but ‘greaties’, We’ve Only Just Begun, Rainy Days and Mondays, EvergreenJust An Old Fashioned Love Song.  

You know you’re an alcoholic when you misplace a decade and I did.”

Mr. Williams overcame his addiction to alcohol and drugs and is now a passionate advocate in the recovery movement.  He’s a testament to the strength,power and ability of the human being to face the demon head on, work through it and grow beyond it towards a renewed life of meaning and joy.


What personal qualities helped you carry on and move forward in a positive direction?

I went to nine schools by the time I was in the 9th grade.  A construction brat, we moved often.  I was always the new kid in school and the littlest.  My sense of humor became a defensive tool that served me then and I think served me well during my adult years.  And what would probably be described as ‘magical thinking’ may have been a big plus.  I didn’t know I couldn’t do so many of the things I’ve been successful at doing.  That’s an odd sentence I know… but that kind of belief that I had something special to give, worked in supporting my belief system from the very beginning.  My career as an actor failed so I started writing songs.  Didn’t know I couldn’t so I did.  Had never scored a film but didn’t know I couldn’t so I did.  I’ve been very fortunate.

Did you go through a period of self-pity?  If so, what helped lift you out?

Never.  I’ve always felt that the next great opportunity was right around the corner.  There was of course, in the middle of my addiction a period when I wasn’t thinking about anything but getting the next drink or hit of cocaine.  My ‘psychic and spiritual arsenal’ was closed for repairs for about a decade.

At this point in my life I live in “Gratitude & Trust”.  The book Tracey Jackson and I are writing, “Gratitude and Trust: Recovery Is Not Just For Addicts” is a chance for us to share the mind-set and the tools that have worked for me for the last 23 years of sobriety.  They are simple applications of a way of living that have restored me to a place where I am content in this perfect now and yet expecting the best of the future.

Was there a specific moment, thought or epiphany that helped guide you to a better place mentally and psychologically, or did it evolve?

Surrender was the beginning of the win.  When I quit fighting the drugs and alcohol, admitted I was powerless over my mind-altering substance, I began to grow emotionally and spiritually.  I discovered the writings of Emmet Fox and Ernest Holmes, did some serious therapy and became active in the recovering community.  Found safety and comfort in the center of the herd.

What were/are your day-to-day coping skills that keep you afloat?

I keep going back to Gratitude.  It’s become a natural state for me.  Prayer has a playfulness for me.  Mental health has real elasticity.  If I have a moment that feels out of balance, angry or defensive, it leaves me quickly.   Because Tracey and I are writing about a way of life that is all about spiritual well-being, my day is well decorated with conversation that propels me in the right direction.  I stay active in the recovering community, speak often and try to quiet myself enough to listen to the music of the day.  And I’m not speaking of the radio.

What thoughts propel you forward?

Again, it’s the lack of thought sometimes that allows me to move forward.  I run every morning for about two miles.  It’s always different.  Sometimes I slip into a blank space that’s meditation at it’s best.  And sometimes I can’t wait to get back to the computer to get my thoughts down.  The creative process is a constant stream that I think we can all dip our buckets into.  If you refuse to believe the “you can’t do that” gremlin in your head… or that family member or friend… If you stay positive, realistic but open to the possibilities, I believe we all can have powerful creative lives.

In general, how have you managed to rebuild your life through and after your addiction?

I started out by walking away from music and the biz.  I concentrated wholly on my recovery.  People would ask if I was writing and I would tell them “no, I’ll write when the passion returns.”  And it did.  In the meantime I went to UCLA for a year of study at their Alcohol and Drug Counseling program, went to work for the Musician’s Assistance Program as a counselor and built a solid foundation for my sober life.  A few hours every morning volunteering at hospitals and running groups carried me through the early years.  The Paulie Lama emerged.  I’m sure of one life I saved… my own.

Trusting in the future is easier now with my personal history.  I couldn’t have planned for the life I have today.  Looking back I understand that there’s really no reward for worry.  Stay loving, celebrate peace and trust.  The Big Amigo has always provided in the past and will in the future.

What advice can you offer someone going through this kind of issue, in the hope of coming through it intact, with the ability to live a flourishing life?

Forgive the language but, you can’t save your ass and your face at the same time.  Get honest.  When I hit my knees, prayed for guidance and… this is the key… when I turned to another group of human beings and said, “I’m dying.  I don’t have a clue about how to save myself.  Will you help me?”  When I got honest and egoless, I found the help I needed.  If you’re in trouble with any addiction – drugs, booze, sex, food, gambling…. don’t try to handle it alone.  Seek the help that’s out there and begin to rebuild the life you deserve.


Just an Old Fashioned Love Song Utube

 Documentary (Trailer)- Paul Williams Still Alive

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope this was a good one for you.  Please share.

4 thoughts on ““Rebuild the Life You Deserve” – Interview with Recovery Advocate Paul Williams

  1. Hi Paul and Harriet,

    I love the candid words and it is heartwarming to read Paul’s advice to others who are in the midst of dealing with addiction. Can’t resist this line – “The Big Amigo has always provided in the past and will in the future.” Love it. Thank you for sharing your story. I know the more that people come out and bring addiction and recovery to the light, the better for all.

    1. Hi Cathy,
      Thanks for your feedback. Yes, that ‘Big Amigo’ is cute. His story is important for all to see the Possible in our lives.

  2. michele says:

    Love it! Excellent Harriet! I too am familiar with the wise words of the Paulie Lama and of the beautiful and sage Tracey Jackson…”Gratitude and Trust” is a book I am waiting for with true excitement..I have no doubt of the importance it will hold for many. I love Paul’s name for his higher power “The Big Amigo”, the first time I heard him say it, I thought it was special and perfect. I hope to see you at our Q&A and book signing for G&T with Paul and Tracey on November 14th at Castlewood.

    1. Hi Michele,
      I too am excited for the release of this book. You have such a special bond with these two inspirational and incredible people!
      I’m hoping to attend the Barnes and Noble presentation on Sept. 18th. I can’t come to yours at the school, unfortunately, because it’s on a Friday nite (I observe the Sabbath).

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