The Phi Gamma Delta Magazine - Spring 2020

Page 32

Getting Personal with That Other Epidemic By Alex Wylie (Arizona State 1996)


ur lives are so busy—work, kids, the rest. That’s what I told myself as I grabbed my bag and Starbucks and started toward the jetway. I knew the “too busy” line was a trite excuse. But I indulged in the bit of self-deception one early morning last August. After all, I was finally making a long overdue trip to Long Beach, California, to see Mike Blazevich (Arizona State 1996), my pledge brother and best friend from our alma mater, Arizona State University. We remained close after college, taking several vacations together and appearing in each other’s weddings. Lately, I kept in touch with Mike by text message, his wife Hannah’s Instagram account (Mike wouldn’t touch the social media stuff), and the occasional phone call. However, I realized that morning it had been far too long—almost two years since our last visit, when Mike brought his family to Portland for Halloween. As I handed my 32


boarding pass to the gate agent, I winced a little in guilt at the calculation. Mike went through a lot in the last ten years, but in August of 2019, all was well. Mike was handsdown the smartest brother in our chapter. He graduated in 1997 and started strong. His brains and hard work led to a management-level job as a computer science engineer. But in the mid-2000s, Mike’s social drinking (for which he was legendary in college) devolved into severe alcoholism. Mike lost his job, got divorced and went bankrupt. He was in bad shape. But we saved him. Through a series of gut-wrenching and extraordinary efforts, Mike’s family and a few chapter brothers convinced him to enter treatment. We supported Mike’s recovery in every possible way during the months and years that followed. It worked. He never drank again. Mike pulled himself together and started a new business in the Los Angeles

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