Chapter 1: On The Outside Looking In

Creating A Brand For Free

This blog series I am calling the Drug War Veteran which is also the title of the the book I am writing, This is me creatively freestyle writing my thoughts, situations and issues building a nonprofit how Ohio Sober Living came about, my personal views on the recovery community, my goals and my past. I do intent on telling my story from my perspective. I wont lie some will read and know who or what I am talking about. What I will not do is address anyone in this blog other than myself by name. So if you are reading and you have encountered a part that you feel is speaking on you man up or politely shut up. Thank you to all those who will actually read along.

So I have dialed back my presence on social for the past 4 to 5 months trying to figure out my game plan on the long end of this thing. Actually that’s a lie, it's more like I have been in shock for the last 4 to 5 months. In stead of being a "fly dresser, see a hater and side step them." I have allowed myself to be consumed with these haters who have felt the need for whatever reason to interfere, delay, cripple, set back or hinder our ministry and those our ministry serves. Whether resulting from jealousy, envy, manipulation, chasing a dollar, their incapability of biblically addressing their issues, or flat out just riding for their homies.

Since we started this project I have seen people freely invest time (life's most valued commodity) into hating. Not on just me, but on something that in my opinion is better than me, better than them. Personally I have invested countless hours of time, research, and money into this project knowing that I wont ever collect a dime (except for the $98/month I made the first 9 months as a result of a banking error). A project designed to help fill the Kingdom, help every person and organization that it comes in contact with because we got something for everybody. This is my faith at work brother, They say GOD forms and molds us like clay. Ohio Sober Living Network is clay that I am molding like Jesus. Keeping my eye on this mission helps keep me focused on the cross. The part of this I was most impressed with (aside from starting off with a Dale Perry pool stick) is what we can do on social platforms organically and a way to best serve any nonprofit with free advertising and marketing. With a creative approach that emulates the hash tag #each1reach1 used by Hope From Ohio. Now when looking at the recovery community in Akron, Ohio from the outside looking in, its easy to see Hope From Ohio as the franchise. Mentoring and placing people into treatment offering them the best possible options based on their individual needs. They gain nothing, no agenda, no cars, free living expenses or paid cell phone bills. Their reward is possibly the opportunity to lead someone to Christ. Their payment is to the radio station that hosts their Friday night recovery radio talk show. So these cats technically pay to place people in treatment. That's dedication homie, What attracted them to me the most is the media element that they have. Radio, and social content, that's whats up. Communications and Marketing in my opinion should be what drives every successful business. Now we have a society that's reverting back to the 40's with AI and audio, especially when your service in business is information.

Naturally I would make Hope From Ohio the center of my "red napkin" marketing strategy on social media and try to push them into other platforms like YouTube and Instagram. Eventually they became part of my sales pitch to other organizations for access to media content over their social networks. I push and funnel an organic audience while trying to educate them on the theory of all content on all platforms. I however would only post the "verse of the day" and I would run Hope From Ohio across all pages on Friday nights. With a total of 37 different resources, organizations, and small businesses with a direct reach of over 100,000 people and an insight post reach of over a million across all pages. All organic, no paid ads, or boosting. I simply used groups and large amounts of content to build one of the hardest assets of any organization that lacks the capital to build (especially a nonprofit). Pride, and Quality on social creates BRAND EQUITY.

Now in the beginning I didn't listen to what those around me said, and I would hear all of it all the time. How I need to be careful with who I let on the board. How to select them, picking those who have clout and resources. Someone even told me at 1 time that I needed a "Yes" board, which I strongly disagree and would probably land everyone of us in jail. I wanted men and woman of GOD with lived life experiences on all sides of addiction. I wanted Hope From Ohio, The Kingdom Knights and the Warriors project. I wanted to root OSLN inside Akron Bible Church as its Addiction Resource Center and Recovery Housing program with hopes that other community outreaches and Churches would get involved with a member of each organization represented on the board. A diverse GOD led, spirit fed leadership that best served the mission. What I failed to do is outline how I felt our organization should be structured and kind of assumed it was common sense. The President of Executive Director perused the vision while the Vice President preserved the mission. In comparison to a small structured nonprofits internal = Vice President, external = President, and executive = Board of Directors. Though I like this structure the board didn't best suit it. Everyone wanted to be the chief I had no Vice President so there was no communication and no transparency. People where getting upset saying things to me like "this isn't what was discussed" when what had been discussed was just never discussed with me. Any leader of an organization is going to try to get the ship back on coarse when they see it starting to veer off. Half the people working the mission refused to see me as leadership as if my lack of experience in recovery made them superior so as you can assume I was always dealing with push back.

Over time talking with some people I started to pick up on this "I am better then you" "holier than thou" attitude, you know when you start commenting your opinion of how strong someone else's walk is. I'll just be honest, I started to see greed, anger, and entitlement in a few people. One person in particular I was concerned about and when 1 would do it, others would attempt to do the same with what was actually in their grasp - if that makes any sense. How did I handle it? Probably the wrong way, I combated that trash with, anger, and entitlement. I didn't push to much on money, though a few people who everyone can see is obviously about the money would ironically accuse me of being about the money. See for me it has never been about money. It was about respect, giving me my creative ownership, that I helped design and build since day 1. A piece of what I say is still my intellectual property. Lets just be realistic, if we robbed a bank together and all you did was drive when I ran up in there and laid everybody down. I am certain that you are gonna feel that your entitled to at least half, and if I am a selfish greedy dude who feels the split should go another way I am also fairly certain your gonna feel your entitled to a say on that split should be. Like I said it's common sense.

Some where down the line it appeared to me that certain individuals where no longer concerned or ever concerned about reaching anyone, they became "what appeared to be" self serving and if they was concerning themselves with anyone, that anyone was me. No matter how you look at it, I was lied to and played whether intentional or not. Verbal contracts and agreements where not being met. My work, the brand that I designed, my strategy and resources capitalized on and taken from me. I was discarded and shown that I am not worth a 10 minute conversation, that I hold no value, with no explanation, and no care or concern. They basically took what they want and left me to fend for myself, didn't even send me a memo. When I attempted to address the situation, the bad business practices, and exorbitant amount of unnecessary business expenses people would immediately get defensive ask me about my entitlement and reprimand me in front of others about a mistake they had made. With all this trash going on on the contractual sales part of the mission and people blatantly disrespecting me, the organization, its mission, its participants, its investors and daily business operations. I was all kinds if messed up trying to refrain from ruining something I helped built, or humiliating certain people in front of their spouse, kids and loved ones. I was hot, thinking about playing the game too, and this clown say how I am "stirring the pot". So now my ministry inside social looses 4 Organizations and over 40,000 people in less than 2 weeks and to this day I could not tell you why. Other than "I'm just stirring the pot" and that some people don't like the way I run things when the board is who is running things. (The irony in that being who actually sits on the board.) Trying to exploit the fact that I am green as if they were never new to this space, or that they forgot to freely give what was giving to them I thank the Lord, my Pastors and my board because a few years ago I would have made myself slap everyone of them.

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