One journey is almost over, and another one is about to begin.
Steve Pulley, a Georgia Southern University graduate, began a coast-to-coast cycling trip in late March to raise awareness for addiction recovery and collegiate recovery centers.
Starting his journey on the West Coast, Pulley dipped the back tire of his bike in the Pacific Ocean in San Diego and began his trek east. This week, Pulley passed through Statesboro, and his trip will officially end in Charleston, South Carolina, when his front tire touches the Atlantic Ocean, just one week before he begins Physical Therapy Graduate School at Medical University of South Carolina.
Pulley spent a couple of days in Statesboro, thanking several local organizations and groups for their support during his journey. He left Friday, after one last stop at Jimmy John's in the Market District for lunch.
After years of addiction, Pulley achieved sobriety with help from Louie's House, a long-term recovery residence for men, owned by Carol Lind Mooney, daughter of the founders of the alcohol and drug treatment facility in Statesboro, Willingway Hospital.
Willingway Hospital and Willingway Foundation help fund the Center for Addiction Recovery at Georgia Southern, a collegiate recovery center that assists those in recovery to begin or to continue their college education. Willingway is also sponsoring Pulley's cross-country bike ride.
Other supporters Pulley thanked were Olive Garden, Dynamic Solutions and Chris Johnson, Swim.Bike.Run and Pladd Dot Music.
Pulley rode more than 3,000 miles and had the opportunity to speak more than 25 times to various groups about his former addictions and road to recovery. Speaking engagements were planned prior to the trip, but many of the talks were spontaneous along the way.
Once, Pulley thought he was speaking to a small group of men at a halfway house in Phoenix, but wound up giving his talk to more than 150 men and women.
Pulley had many other surprises along the way, from the generosity of some he met, to the heart-wrenching stories some shared with him, to wind alerts in West Texas, to a car practically running him off the road in Georgia to unexpected bicycle repairs.
"The trip couldn't have been more rewarding," said Pulley. "My expectations were surpassed in all capacities."
Pulley feels that the trip was successful in many ways, and he hopes he informed and touched many lives along the way.
"I hope I planted a few seeds along the way. I wanted to make sobriety attractive to the young, to show them that they can still have fun," he said.
"For me, I thought things were going to get smaller and smaller (with sobriety)," he continued. "But things have gotten bigger and bigger. Recovery has given me so many things. There's nothing that I can't do but take a drink or use drugs."