sober support group

Mike Ferullo has always been a bit of a Bulldog. Born and bred on the mean streets of Boston, he ran with the wrong crowd, did the wrong things and ended up on the wrong side of the law. So it kind of makes perfect sense that his Boston Bulldogs Running Club would be one heckuva strong sober support group.

Boston Bulldogs Running Club

Ferullo established the Boston Bulldogs Running Club back in 2008. The Club was originally known as the HopeFound Bulldogs and it was based in the Shattuck Hospital shelter. In 2012 Pine Street Inn adopted the club. But its expressed purpose remained. That is, "to provide its members the opportunity to participate in a positive social and wellness program that supported their recovery."

The Club's purpose still remains. But it's expanded its scope to include everyone who's been adversely affected by addiction. That includes the families and friends of those in recovery, as well as addiction treatment professionals and the greater Boston community at large.

Furthermore, the Bulldogs promote "an integrated approach to wellness and self-leadership in recovery on a journey to discover the kind-hearted warrior and true potential within each of us." That's what the Club's About Page says. And we wholeheartedly believe them.

We also believe The Boston Globe. See, it was The Globe's Adrian Walker who first tipped us to the Boston Bulldogs. And it was The Globe who showed us the Boston Bulldogs were one strong sober support group. The Globe also gave us insight about the Club's ever-inspiring founder, figurehead and coach.

For instance, there's the fact that Ferullo's been sober since the '70s. Yet the now 70 year-old continues to give back to the community. Then there's the fact that the eighth-grade dropout made it to UMass Boston and then to graduate school. Despite the fact that he "could barely read." There's also Ferullo's long and storied career as both a social worker and a psychotherapist, as well as his decades as a committed runner. Ferullo dug the "high [running] gave him, the boost to his self-esteem, the discipline," said The Globe. Ferullo also dug that "it all helped instill [in him] a new sense of self."

If running could instill a new sense of self in a guy like Ferullo, could it also instill a new sense of self for others in recovery? You bet. Especially if the others are blessed to be led by a guy like Ferullo.

Principles of Recovery

Coach Ferullo's principles for recovery are simple: Showing up, building self-awareness, and giving back to the community. The Globe says "those principles come from Ferullo's own recovery, as well as the Buddhist philosophy he’s more recently embraced." We say it also sounds a lot like A.A., not to mention what we practice and preach here at Recovery Boot Camp.

The Boston Bulldogs coach "sees the running club is a way of creating a community. The kind of network that people in recovery often lean on as they leave old habits and relationships behind." He also sees it "as an adjunct to the things people need to do in their recovery."

In other words, the Club's become the kind of strong sober support group that's essential to long-term recovery.

We at RBC applaud Coach Ferullo and his Boston Bulldogs. And we wish them all well, with their runs, their recovery and beyond. We're especially rooting for the Bulldogs who've entered the Boston Marathon. We know that recovery can itself sometimes feel like running a marathon. But we also know that with the right leadership, training and support, it's a race that can be successfully run. By anyone. Especially if they're surrounded by a strong sober support group.

Go Boston Bulldogs!

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