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Ever since I met him, Casey King has been all about changing the face of recovery.

King, a physics professor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Myrtle Beach, founded and launched the college’s Addiction and Recovery Lecture Series in 2008. He was also HGTC Professor of the Year in 2019.

He has been sober since 2005.

Through his work with the series, he hopes to reduce the stigma that society places on those in recovery.

My first experience with him was in 2016, when I covered the series for The Sun News, a McClatchy newspaper here on the Grand Strand. That year, actor Danny Trejo was the keynote speaker. I have had the pleasure of covering him and the series in subsequent years as well – and it’s an honor to count him a friend.

You can read some of my previous coverage HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

The Addiction and Recovery Lecture Series is a popular event that has included a growing “Who’s Who” of featured celebrity speakers – from actors [Louis Gossett, Jr., Mackenzie Phillips, Danny Trejo] to rock stars [Everclear’s Art Alexakis, Bob Forrest from Thelonious Monster] to medical professionals [Dr. Drew Pinsky] – and more.

The series also features presentations and panels including college students, recovery advocates and spokespersons from local recovery groups, rounding out a lecture series that shines as a beacon of hope for those still struggling with addiction and a lamp on the path of those on their recovery journeys.

The program is set to continue this year in a virtual setting on the Zoom platform, beginning on January 28 and continuing every Thursday until February 18.

Throughout the COVID-19 situation, King has hosted recovery meetings on Zoom with attendees as far afield as Berlin, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and Tenerife – featuring some of the folks slated for the series. He cites these online meetings [what he has called a World Home Group] as pivotal in the decisions of some speakers to commit.

It seems that the pandemic is not going to get in the way of the series this year. It’s just a change of venue from physical to virtual.

This year, the series features an astounding celebrity lineup including Craig T. Nelson, Carnie Wilson, Paul Williams and more [see above graphic].

My brother and I recently had a conversation with Casey on EPISODE 22 of our podcast, and we’re glad we did. Casey opened up about the history of the series, his own recovery journey, how things came together for this year’s event and much more.

Rock on. We do recover.

For more information, click HERE.

Alexakis HGTC1

With Casey King and Art Alexakis Photo: Gene Ho

On February 21, I went to see Everclear’s Art Alexakis tell his recovery story at the 12th annual Addiction and Recovery Lecture Series at Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

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.

Alexakis shared much of his story in a piece I wrote for The Sun News, the McClatchy affiliate here in Myrtle Beach. You can find that story HERE.

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.

Last night marked the third such event I have covered about Casey King, et. al., for The Sun News. Last year, it was Mackenzie Phillips and the year before, Danny Trejo.

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.