George Rhine

George Rhine

The best man I knew

“George was an amazing father and the best, most loyal partner one could have,” his partner Alexandra said. He was over the moon when Alexandra became pregnant. After Siena was born and Alexandra went back to work, George was happy to be home with the baby. He was elated to have a family and texted pictures of the baby throughout the day. George was also a caregiver to his mother, who was in a wheelchair and needed some support. He visited her every day to attend to her needs and brought her flowers once a week. “Everything for George was about family,” Alexandra said.

When Alexandra met George he had been substance free for three years. “He was a total goofball and loved making people laugh,” Alexandra said. He started drugs when he was 17, but during his active recovery had a successful clothing line and did screen-printing for businesses. He had also been a D. J. regionally and in Greece. George loved 80s music, punk rock, finding new tattoo artists and learning the latest Photoshop techniques.

George was friendly with everyone he met. When he had a vendor cart in downtown Asheville, he would strike up conversations with tourists and they would walk away with a t-shirt even if they hadn’t intended to purchase one. His daughter Siena is an extrovert, like her dad.

Just after George reached the five-year mark of sobriety and Alexandra was seven months pregnant, George’s sister was killed while riding her bicycle. George had a lot of stressors at the time; his mother’s disability and care, the upcoming birth of his daughter and his sister’s death. “It was the catalyst for him to use drugs again,” Alexandra said, “People get scared or desperate and it is so easy to slip back in. I was angry but I also knew exactly what he was feeling.” George’s drug use eventually led to an overdose, and he died when Siena was one and a half.

Since that time Alexandra focuses on her own sobriety and being there for Siena. “She can’t lose another person.” Alexandra says, “It breaks my heart that George is missing out on our daughter, but what is worse is that she is missing out on him. Every moment together would have brought them so much joy. I miss him as a dad, and the silence seems so loud.”

Having empathy for the people you love is important,” Alexandra said. “Addiction is something nobody wants, most substance users hate it and want it to go away. It’s not a fun ride; it’s a daily crazy struggle. George and I would pray together to take it away from us; heroin destroys everything.

George’s partner, Alexandra Caulfield, provided the information for this narrative.

July 23, 1976-May 6, 2015
Age 38-Live with addiction 15 years

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