North Dakota! A first time stop for me in this cold state! While on the phone a month ago with the organizers I was asked, "Do you own a parka?" To which I replied, "No, why?" I was told that I should expect it to be close to 0 degrees outside during my trip to North Dakota and immediately after hearing those words I started browsing the internet for a parka haha. Needless to say, a "heat wave" came through North Dakota so the two days that I was there it was only 25 degrees outside.. Yes.. 25 degrees is considered a heat wave in North Dakota.
I must say that the organizers who set up my speaking events during my stay were absolutely fantastic. There was a lot of work in a short period of time. In all, 4 speaking events starting at 1:30pm and ending at 8pm. I felt like it was one speaking event after the next because it literally was. You may not think that speaking takes it out of you but I can assure you it is emotionally exhausting.
A meeting with very influential individuals was set up immediately following my high school talk. This included the First Lady of North Dakota, Chief of Police, Sheriff, State Superintendent, substance use recovery advocacy individuals and more. It was such an honor to share my thoughts with these folks about the direction communities needed to take in being proactive with addiction. Many communities are at ground zero with recovery/addiction infrastructure and any kind of input on a direction to take it greatly appreciated.
Right after our meeting I was directed to the gym at Valley City High School where I gave a presentation to a little over 100 people at the community event! I always love sharing my story with the communities, it's such a different projection and feel than the presentations I give to the young students.
The last presentation of the night was at Valley City State University. I spoke to all their student athletes and anyone that knows me, there is two places I absolutely love sharing my story, jails and sports programs. I love being able to share my experiences as an athlete pre addiction and post addiction because there is a drastic change in the two. At that end of the day my message is about motivating people to avoid substance abuse and go after their dreams by working hard and sacrificing. North Dakota, you guys were amazing! So stoked I got to roll through briefly!