One would think with all the states that i've taken my motivational speaking that the state of Washington would surely have been a state i've been to previously. Nope, it hasn't, not even for BMX racing have I been to Washington. Really all I knew about the state was it's high volume of water and cloudy days it accumulates in a calendar year. When I got the invitation earlier this spring to be in Washington in October, I gotta say, I was pretty freaking excited. My time there was so memorable too, what a trip that was beyond any expectation I could have set forward.
The opioid epidemic the United States is facing is likely going to get worse before it actually gets better. I know when I was in Ohio just last month the numbers I heard being reported for 2017 were already worse than a jaw dropping number from 2016. Eleven people a day die in the state of Ohio, alone. That's a staggering number to digest from the state who is currently being hit the worst by this epidemic. They aren't the only state though, most are seeing numbers sky rocket and New York is definitely one of those locations. Substance abuse issues seem to be focalizing with heroin or prescription pain killer abuse across the board. The answer to the problem itself is so complex I think our entire country is learning on the fly how to actually deal with this issue. My biggest calling for substance abuse awareness has been with the youth as a preventative measure.
There are several hot spots around the United States when it comes to the opioid epidemic, mainly they are in the midwest and eastern seaboard. One of the only states I have not previously been to for my motivational speaking is, Indiana. A spot that is well known across the county as a state that is having a larger issue with the epidemic than most states. To finally make it to the state was definitely an honor i'm extremely grateful for! I would be heading to Columbus, Indiana to be apart of the Desperate Households Conference put on by the Bartholomew County substance abuse Council & Communities that Care organizations.
This year has really been so exciting for me when it comes to the faith based market. It was typically hard for me to get into churches and i've discussed that previously. I honestly can't put a pin on exactly why but I still believe that when it comes to motivational speakers, churches are very careful about who they let hold a microphone. 2017 has been a year of several faith based invites and I could not be happier about that. When I finished up my speaking with Project Worthy in Westchester, New York, I went straight to the train station and found myself in Boston Massachusetts three and a half hours later. My biggest fear of the east coast is hands down, how freaking cold it gets. Let me tell you... I just missed the cold because it was getting cold when I was there. I typically tell people, I know it's cold before everyone else does.
It's always great to be back in the state of New Jersey, even if Newark is a rat race for a airport! It gets a little colder than I like for my taste but this trip was going to beat the cold but a couple of weeks, which made me pretty excited. Fairfield, the town I would be giving my motivation speech in, was about one hour from Newark airport. To be honest, I don't mind having to travel several hours by car to get to places, I really just enjoy the moment so much that I am overwhelmed with gratitude that i'm getting to do what I get to do. The heroin problem in the state of New Jersey is not a secret, in fact when I gave my substance abuse speech back in 2013 for the government of New Jersey at their heroin crisis summit, Camden County was actually the worst spot in the county. It has since been taken over by places like Maryland and Ohio but it is still quite the issue out here.
It's been a busy month for me already and the train will not be stoping any time soon. Of course, I love getting to travel for speaking. A lot of times when i'm in a lyft/uber riding to the airport the drivers will ask me what brings me to the city, my reply, "Public speaking." Every time I give them this answer they will always say, "Ohhhhh! You're a motivational speaker, what's your topic?" I think when I tell them i'm a substance abuse speaker that speaks about my life story and the current opiate epidemic the Unite States is facing, it throws them off a little. The stigma behind addiction is really the culprit for that. People are unsure how to react when you tell them something raw and real as that.