So, it was 50 years ago today that Brian Epstein died of was thought to be an accidental overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. Brian was the manager of the Beatles. He played a crucial role in them getting their 1st recording contract with Parlophone records after he met with music producer George Martin. As good as their music turned out to be, and as entertaining as they were, it is unlikely that anyone outside of Liverpool would have ever heard of them if it hadn’t been for Brian Epstein. I think it was only 3 years ago that he was finally admitted to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in the nonperformance category. Mike is a big fan of the Beatles and especially of their music. Mike grew up in that generation in which a variety of drugs were abundantly available, and all kinds of taboo behaviors were suddenly openly practiced. Indeed, I think you could say that there was an epidemic of drug abuse during the 60’s. In the “nothing is new under the sun” department look where we are today with the current opioid epidemic. Right here in Happy Meadows we had the recent overdose of Ashley Grimes, who fortunately lived through it and just got back from treatment in Mississippi. It seems as though people find life very stressful and seek relief in drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol also add excitement to what many people perceive as a sense of boredom, and possibly from a sense of purposelessness to their lives. Unfortunately, all too quickly the drugs and alcohol simply add to the stress. A person’s normal coping skills and judgment are overwhelmed by the compulsion to drink and use drugs until something gives. Those who are fortunate make it into treatment, but many people die before they have that chance…… like Brian Epstein. He was seeing a psychiatrist and probably getting the best care that was available at the time. But his doctor was prescribing some of the drugs that he wound up overdosing on, and probably had no idea how much other drugs and alcohol Brian was consuming. Also, quality addiction treatment was not readily available back then in the UK or anywhere else for that matter.
So, Ashley is back in town but she is not living at home. She is staying at a sober living house where she is getting additional treatment. I think they are drug screening her just about every other day. She has to go to classes and meetings, and her family has therapy sessions down there. She is working making sandwiches at a little sandwich shop. One of the developments that came out of all this is Richie’s girlfriend,Hallie, has been outed as a drug user by Ashley. Ashley had to make a list of all the people that she needs to avoid in order to be allowed to return to the Atlanta area. Hallie turned up on her list which is a good thing because her family has gotten her into counseling and they are drug screening her several times per week also. I also know that Richard and Bianca Donkle talked with her parents shortly after Ashley overdosed. Richard is also drug screening Richie frequently. Richie says that he never used drugs which may be true, but he was drinking some and he has stopped that altogether as well. He had to or Hallie wouldn’t be allowed to associate with him. So it looks like the parents have stepped up and done what they were supposed to do. And I think I mentioned in a previous post that Mike arranged for Richie to meet with Dr. Kingsley for an assessment. He is still meeting with a therapist at her office fairly regularly and he is going to family support group. I was over at the Donkle’s the other day when I heard Hallie admit to Richard and Bianca that she had become addicted to the pills. She said she was glad that she had stopped using and was in a recovery program of her own, going to meetings and seeing a therapist. Richie is finally admitting that he realized that things were out of control but was afraid to say anything.
I had mentioned in a recent post ( The Double Identity Discovered, posted on 7/24/17) that Richard Donkle had asked for Mike’s advice about what to do with Richie; and also in his capacity as the HOA president, what we should be doing as a community and a neighborhood. Mike is going to start to write an article about substance abuse in the monthly Happy Meadows newsletter which goes out online to the residents every month. He has also written an article about medication-assisted treatment that is posted on his website. You can find it at www.michaelcgordonmd.com, if you are interested. It is also posted on Linked-in. Mike and Richard are still talking and they may do some other things. I’ve heard that there may be a family support group started at the clubhouse soon. I think that would be a good idea. There is also a lot of programming going on in the local schools and churches. The more awareness of the problem, the more people are going to get help before it’s too late.
So, we had our eclipse this past Monday. A lot of people went up to North Georgia or over to South or North Carolina or even up to Tennessee from around here to experience it. Of course, I stayed in Happy Meadows. It was a much more interesting experience than I expected it to be. It got dark enough at the height of the eclipse that the critters started to act like they do in the evening. Very confusing. The sun was casting weird shadows as it filtered through the leaves. Mike took some pictures out in the parking lot by his office. I will put 2 or 3 up the show you. He also took some pictures when he and Judy were in the Highlands recently. I’ll put a couple of these up as well. He even took a video for me of butterflies. He knows how much I love butterflies. The quality of the video isn’t good enough for me to post, but he will work on his technique. It seems that for a lot of people the eclipse was an occasion to have a party and get drunk. I know people that drove all day back and forth to North Georgia or elsewhere to experience the eclipse only to be surrounded by noisy people. It’s really a shame because one of the unique aspects of the eclipse was the eerie quiet that developed. I hope many of you had a chance to experience the quiet. It was a little bit like the world was meditating.