Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Are You M.A.D.?

I went to a company conference a couple of weeks ago. I worked for a company called Alternative Opportunities, Inc. and we had just merged with another company called Preferred Family  Healthcare. Together, we cover 5 states and have almost 4,000 employees. The conference was so that people from both companies could have an opportunity to see what the other one did and network so that we could join forces and support each other better.

We also had plenary and break out sessions. The last plenary we had was by far the best, in my opinion. The guy was amazing; his father was a pastor and he was a former college football coach. To say that his session was motivational would be an understatement. When I walked out of his session I was ready to take on the world. The reason was because of a simple question he asked us, "Are you mad?"

I was at first unsure how to answer that question. I thought about it, and I want you to do the same thing. Ask yourself right now, am I mad? When I thought about it at first, I answered no. I am not mad at all. Then I thought about it a little more, and I did sense the anger. I could remember the way I felt several hours before his plenary after reading an article on Facebook about substance abuse.

The article itself didn't make me mad. The article was about the heroin epidemic our country is currently in. The article discussed the number of people in a small Missouri rural county that had overdosed in a one week period. The article was insightful, educational and well written. It was the comments that followed the article that got to me. They sickened and enraged me. Here are my 5 least favorite:

  1. Who cares? Just another dead junkie.
  2. We should give heroin away for free. Once all these junkies killed themselves of America would be a better place. 
  3. Have you heard of that flakka? It is making people act crazy. Junkies should get a free Go Pro camera with each dose so that we can watch them overdose for our entertainment. 
  4. This is Darwin Theory at its finest. Eventually all of these losers will remove their DNA from the gene pool. 
  5. I hate people like this, living off other people and hurting everyone that cares about them. Junkies only care about themselves. Their families are better off without them. 
So as I thought about it, yeah I was mad. As I sat there and simmered he asked another question, "What are you doing about it?" If something makes you mad, what are you doing to change it? Are you just sitting at home, reading a paper or watching the news, being an armchair quarterback or are you doing something about it.

Then he pulled out the hammer. He asked us to put on the bracelets that were at each of our tables. He told us to look at our bracelets and asked if we noticed anything. I did; the mad was not written mad, it was written R U M.A.D. 

"Every day I wake up and ask myself am I mad. I hope that you would do the same thing. I challenge you to do it. I want to start a movement, with this simple question, "Are you M.A.D.? Are you Making A Difference?"

Bam! 

Just like that, my mind was blown. He was not talking about being angry, instead he was talking about doing something about it. I was mad about a lot of situations, especially when it comes to dealing with substance abuse, mental health issues, stigma and recovery. I am educating schools and communities. I am raising public awareness. I am making a difference, even though it never feels like I am doing enough. 

So today, and for the rest of your life I challenge you to ask yourself this question every day, "Am I M.A.D.?" Are you making a difference? If you are living your life to be better and help those around you become better you are doing something right. If you are not living your life that way, you are doing something wrong. 

People, I implore you to make a difference in someone's life!! If something angers you, use that anger as fuel to give you the passion and energy needed to make that situation different. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and advocate for someone. Stick up for the disadvantaged, stand up to the bully when he attacks others. Don't talk about change, be the change! 

MAKE A DIFFERENCE! 

After all, if you don't do it who will?