For many students, the first time they will drink alcohol or experiment with drugs is during college. For some, the first time leads to a second and a third and a fourth, and before they realize it, they are heading down the road to substance abuse and addiction. Of course, students hear about the dangers of this path all the time, but these messages can be easy to ignore. Unless the message is coming from Elaine Williams, a comedian and motivational speaker who has recently been touring college campuses across the nation to talk about substance abuse and addiction.
“There is so much shame, darkness and isolation in being an addict,” Williams said. “Laughter is the opposite of that. It also releases endorphins. So, I don’t preach, lecture, point my finger or scare the students. I tell my story and how I overcame the abuses, but I also empathize and listen to the students. I get what they’re going through. There’s a lot of pressure to perform, be liked and feel part of a group.”
It seems that Williams’ message is getting through to those who see her presentation as well.
“Elaine was real and really funny,” said Steven, a student at Southwest Tennessee Community College. “She had our attention the whole time. I can tell she really cares about the students.”
This semester, Williams has spoken at several schools, including New Mexico State University, Bethany College, University of Memphis, University of Arkansas, and University of Texas.
Approximately once each week, one person in the USA dies from alcohol poisoning. Recently, teenage abuse of alcohol and drugs has been on the decline, but this is still a problem that needs to be addressed, and it seems that Williams has found an effective way to do that.
“Our crowds can be tough but they all loved Elaine,” said Phoenix Worthy, the Student Activities Director at Southwest Tennessee Community College. “She had them laughing so hard that they kept listening, which is perfect because her subjects are so very important.”