Joe Czurylo (left) with wife at HeroInMe Ride rest stop.
Joe Czurylo proudly served as a member of the US Army Reserves from 1982 to 1995. As a recovering alcoholic, Joe has been an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for 16 years, attending meetings and mentoring fellow veterans. Joe, along with many other veterans, participated in the HeroInMe Ride on May 21st, 2017. This was Joe’s first exposure to Pedal4Life, but not his first exposure to opioid addiction.
“Many veterans are dually addicted to both alcohol and opioids,” he explained. “I see opioid addicts kind of like ‘cousins’ because a lot of treatment centers also use the 12-Step Rehab Program to help them recover.”
Part of Pedal4Life’s mission is to invite veterans, who have already used bicycling to help them succeed in their recovery from SUD (Substance Use Disorder) and overdose, opportunities to mentor and inspire civilians in drug treatment facilities. Pedal4Life’s partnership with veterans appealed to many of the cyclists participating in the HeroInMe Ride, including Bill Jastrow, a local high school teacher: “I was drawn to the event because I like to do whatever I can to support veterans.”
Joe stated that having a supportive community is key to the recovery process as well as getting active: “[It’s] an important facet to recovery because addiction steals a lot of that which you love to do like travel, music, and fishing…that’s why I like that word ‘recovery,’ – I feel like I am recovering those things in my life.”
To find out more about how you can help other veterans to recover, please visit the Pedal4Life website and consider donating.
[Blog post and photo by Katelyn Smith, Pedal4Life]