When he was growing up, Alexakis went through more than a kid should ever have to go through – raped by neighborhood teenagers when he was a pre-teen, a father who abandoned him and his older brother’s fatal overdose when Alexakis was 12. Not long after this, his girlfriend committed suicide.
He started shooting up at 13 and suffered a near-fatal cocaine overdose when he was 22.
Alexakis got his shit together well before he enjoyed success with Everclear, which was a staple on alternative rock radio in the 1990s with such hits as “Santa Monica (Watch the World Die)” and “Everything to Everyone.”
Event organizer and HGTC physics professor Casey King did a terrific job yet again this year. The event was well-attended, and Alexakis fielded thoughtful questions from audience members after his talk. It was also good to see photographer Gene Ho there again this year – memorializing the moments of the event and snapping attendees with Alexakis afterwards.
Gene was also Donald Trump’s campaign photographer. He is currently on a tour to support his book, TRUMPography, which chronicles the campaign with behind-the-scenes stories and, of course, photos.
The Addiction and Recovery Lecture series is a four-part weekly event every year. It usually includes speakers, student panels and other presentations focused on recovery – with one night handled by a group called FAVOR, or Faces and Voices of Recovery, which is headed up by Dr. Victor Archambeau. See my previous blog post for a FAVOR event last year.
I’m well into in my fourth year of recovery. Alexakis has been clean and sober since 1989. When a man with so much recovery time speaks, it’s a good idea to listen.
My takeaways from his talk included the importance of being present and aware, no matter how hard that may be. That rung a bell for me, because I catch myself overthinking “what-if” scenarios or “time traveling” – thinking about the future, say, a deadline or an upcoming gig – or beating myself up over some event in the past.
Alexakis also talked about channeling addictive tendencies into creative pursuits. I am on board with that, but sometimes that channeling impacts my ability to be present.