In my personal opinion—which is what you’re here to read—I believe that collaborative communities are the way to finding longevity in not just the recovery community, but our nation(s) as a whole. They have the ability to help create the awareness and educational tools available to prevent addiction before it happens; not after the fact! A collaborative community is the essence of why we share commonalities and differences of our experience, strength, and hope. Through these types of societal changes that will come from creating a more aware, educated, and yet conversational community there will be hope to bring prevention of substance uses to the forefront of our movement.
So you must be asking: “What is a collaborative community?”
WHAT IS A COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITY?
- In recovery, a collaborative community is one in which family structures, friends, loved one’s of substance users, and the substance user themselves (if comfortable) can join together through engaging conversation like never presented before. We create a universal awareness through proper and engaging community, societal, and familial bonds that are unique to each, but common as a whole. We share what helps, and what didn't. We find programs to further our understanding. And most of all, we have access to feedback and other's experiences for the sake of advancing our living environment to prevent and encourage positive lifestyle for past experiences, current shared commonalities, and future minds and souls of our generations to come. In short, we create a system of tools that everyone can 'collaborate' and share together in order to better their chances of living out a full and positive lifestyle; shared with passion not the emptiness of substance use.
When I set out to create Substance For You I had many goals in mind, but this was the one that stuck out the most in the recent setting of our opioid crisis. That goal was to create open dialogue where people felt it okay to learn from each other. But, how can we do that when people are constantly on their cell phones, or doing digitally created games instead of getting out and joining a club team or in a positive setting where we became too busy to succumb to 'that first one?' With this in mind, I put my expert skills in social media to good use in creating a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest community that would streamline my website to gaining more views, but better yet, more positive conversions where I'd be sure that I'd be helping those in direct need of assistance.
So, as my following grew, I encourage(d) people to join forces for helping each other, which is revolutionary in the new age of technology. We don’t see much of the soccer mom or football dad’s anymore. Which in my best opinion is what is needed for a truly sustainable collaborative community. But, how are we to open the dialogue when technology is so engaging, compelling, and yet, so consuming?
My intentions with each of my social outlets is simple. Each outlet is to do a different purpose, for the same audience, while encouraging them to become aware of each other, educate through my Socratic methodology, and find healthy outlets in the community and real world through the tools they learn from my collaborative community. I envision many more of these collaborative communities to spark up and become a generational gift in ending our heroin crisis. And where my opinion matters most is that whomever be reading, viewing, or learning from these communities that they find what passion is best for them in the long run of a cyclical life. Because as the old saying goes, “If you’re too busy doing positive things, then there’s no time to get into ‘trouble.’”
- Twitter’s purpose: The purpose of twitter is to streamline blogs like this to as much of a mass audience as possible, with getting the highest engagement and click through to reads that are possible. That means mass following, but mass sharing. I encourage my blogs to not just be composed by myself but for others to share their experience strength and hope as well. As we know, “Silence Kills.” So, speaking out on such a massive level may spark communities to learn from each other’s past, present, and go forth together in the future, hand-in-hand. We know that educational awareness is at the forefront of ending the stigma associated with addictions. Better yet, educational awareness is immediate preventative action as well. Those programs may save people's mind, body, and soul nearly instantaneous if encountering an "aHa" moment through such platforms outlets. If you’d like to share your story to an audience who is aching to hear it, please do not hesitate to email me at SubstanceForYou@gmail.com Because we know that together we can, and alone we cannot. With the power of this we may be able to break the chains of just sitting at our social media outlets and reading a story, to actually getting out into the community and doing what is suggested to find passion, filling voids, and perpetually straying away from addictions in the first place; hence catching it before, not after the fact. Or, engaging one in a way that they will find a more holistic approach towards healing themselves away from a substance use lifestyle they’ve been living, into something beautifully written and then lived by an inspired soul, because you shared it! Join us on Twitter with 65,000+ other followers and growing by the hundreds daily!
- Instagram’s Purpose: The purpose of Instagram is much different and does not pertain to any blogs I put out. Rather it is an inspirational tool that engages much quicker and larger than I’d ever expect; even at 40,000 followers and growing immensely! Our main source of attention, awareness, and education gets raised through the help of our inspirational and revolutionary lifestyle apparel line. The lifestyle that it is gauged behind is recovery, but it stems deeper than that. I, myself, have over 6 years in long term recovery from substances and other drugs like alcohol. Most of the slogans from our apparel line have been developed by myself, as I like to practice what I preach. For instance, our 100% sober line was developed right when I went cold turkey the last time I used and stayed away from substances 100% since. I didn't know it at the time, but that was the formation of an anti stigma lifestyle's brand motto! Or our CLEAN LIFE line is inspired mostly after my family, because a large group of those in the recovery movement aren’t the substance users themselves, but they are the family of the substance user; just like mine. My family lives a CLEAN LIFE and has inspired me to do so. Although my family isn’t 100% sober, it creates a sense of a universal community where we do not stigmatize or cast out anyone because they are a person in long term recovery, or not. The point is for everyone to join the movement and let others who are struggling that there are no labels being put on them; that it’s okay to say, “I need help!” And by them wearing our brand that represents a positive lifestyle it is empowering to those who view them wearing it, not just in public, but ANYONE who sends in their photo—struggling or not—will get put on our Instagram with whatever message they choose, as long as it remains positive towards the community. As many of our photos can be seen with a recovery date on them, and then in the caption a shared event that got them there. And where we pride ourselves the most on with this is that people engage back to these people sharing and follow each other so we are in fact, a collaborative community. In a way meaning that we wholeheartedly couldn't do any of this without you! And then when the soccer mom comes on our site and sees that sober is cool to wear and takes it with her to her son’s next soccer game, we’ve therefor taken our empowerment off of the web and into real daily living; which is the intentions of this… saving and inspiring lives. If you’d like to join, please find a piece of lifestyle fashion on our “shop” and tag @SubstanceForYou wearing it and we will reach you within 24 hours afterwards to find out what you'd like to share! Also a key aspect to Instagram is to post thought provoking questions in the form of a photograph through Socratic teachings that get all people alike to ponder, "What's next in bettering myself?" So please, answer back if you see one and I will respond and so will others! Remember… collaborative community!
- Facebook: If you’re starting to catch a vibe of what we do here at Substance For You for the recovery movement, you’d like to know that we do not want to limit the information given to you. Due to Instagram mostly being the photographs you see, and Twitter being only under 200 characters, we want Facebook to be more personalized! That is why we run Facebook different than the two, but with the same content for reinforcement. So understand that everyone deserves the full truth, and that means with Facebook, I can write a behind the scenes type of remark, or “the making of” whatever piece we put on there instead of being limited to just a photo or a certain number of characters! So if you really want to get to know me as an owner of this lifestyle brand that is gauged around my lifestyle, then I urge you to come find our stories and if that’s not enough I have three internationally renowned best-selling memoirs in my series; with more to come! There's also access to our newly launched YouTube channel (link by clicking), and closed Facebook support group found on Facebook business page! Check out my non sugar-coated memoirs “here!” And why does my story matter? Because, it’s the truth and if we sugar coat the way life is lived then people will feel alone and that silence will kill! Silence kills and I’m here to break that stigma! I’m literally an open book!
So if anything can be learned from a collaborative community, it's that whatever “it” is, “it” can be learned from each other. So don’t be afraid to speak out, ask for help, or educate future generations and families alike to prevent before the fact, not after. And remember to give your hope to those still struggling that it is possible for a life in long term recovery! You can do this! Now go engage your community! Create partnerships with each other that are everlasting. Create a future that has health as it's number one term and longevity to last with it!
Share, like, favorite, tweet, post, comment, be collaborative!