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Riding for recovery

GSU graduate on coast-to-coast bicycle ride to raise addiction recovery awareness

Riding for recovery

Riding for recovery

Georgia Southern University graduate ...


Today at 9:30 a.m. California time, Georgia Southern University graduate Steve Pulley will dip the back tire of his bicycle into the Pacific Ocean in San Diego and set off on a 57-day cycling adventure. 
    With a planned stop in Statesboro, his expedition will end in Charleston, S.C., when he dips his tire into the Atlantic Ocean.
    It’s the journey of a lifetime, but then, Pulley’s life has been quite the journey thus far.
    Long before he turned 21, Pulley was heavily involved with drugs and alcohol, had been to more than 10 different recovery facilities, received failing grades in college and had spent time in jails and hospitals. Lacking motivation and a reason for living, but with a loving and supportive family, Pulley found himself at another treatment facility.
    Pulley checked into Louie’s House, a long-term recovery residence for men and owned by Carol Lind Mooney, daughter of the founders of Willingway Hospital, the alcohol and drug treatment facility in Statesboro.
    “I had finally been beaten badly enough to try anything,” said Pulley of the 18-month-long program. Most of his earlier treatments had been short-term.
    “Today, I truly live a life that I had never thought possible, one that bears no resemblance to the one I had before. Coming into recovery at the age of 20, I had thought my life would get so small when I got sober, but instead, I was given a life beyond my wildest dreams.”
    Pulley said that just before enrolling in Louie’s House, he was on the streets, playing his guitar for cash donations. “I lived a lonely, terrible existence before I came to (Louie’s House). I had nothing. I came in with nothing and had nothing to lose. They’ve given me everything.”
    After completing the program and getting sober, Pulley returned to college with the help of the Center for Addiction Recovery at Georgia Southern, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise science in December.
    Speaking proudly of the Center for Addiction Recovery, Pulley said: “Returning to a college campus when you are in recovery can be a scary thing. With the help of Collegiate Recovery Communities like the Center for Addiction Recovery at GSU, people like me can have help getting back on track and receive support when pursing their academic and career goals.”
    With a desire to earn a doctorate degree in physical therapy, Pulley applied and was accepted to a school in Florida, with classes scheduled to begin this past January. However, he also applied to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. That program was scheduled to begin May 21.
    Pulley received notification in December that he was “early selected” for MUSC. So with almost six months before his further schooling would begin, Pulley devised a plan to use that time to raise awareness about addiction recovery and to raise money for the Center for Addiction Recovery.
    “I’ll be riding my bicycle across the country,” Pulley said. “I hope to de-stigmatize what it means to be in recovery and attract young and old who struggle with this disease to a better way of life.”
    To make sure Pulley meets his planned appointments and to help with logistics, friend John Unkel is driving a “chase car.” With speaking engagements lined up all along his route, Pulley will share his experiences and offer hope.
    “Recovery is a continuous journey, not a destination. Much like pedaling your bike across the country, it is a day at a time, a mile at a time,” Pulley said.
    Pulley is looking forward to “just the ride,” as he said the last 2½ months has been quite grueling, mentally, as he worked out all the details of the trip. He sings the praises of his sponsors: the Willingway Foundation (the nonprofit arm of Willingway), Willingway Hospital and Louie’s House.
    Not coincidentally, today marks the sixth anniversary of Pulley being clean and sober.
[To follow Steve Pulley’s ride, make a donation, or find out when he’ll be in Statesboro, go to www.ride4recovery.org or www.facebook.com/ride4recovery.]

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