The Diary of Bridgette M. – Part 1

by Trey Nosrac

Series introduction here.


Ellen is our group therapist. Today she gave all eight members of her girl band of druggies a notebook and asked us to keep a journal and write a few paragraphs before bed. Ellen promised not to read what we wrote. She said that she would only glance to make sure we wrote something.

Writing this journal is BS. Beneath your fake smile, you are a judgmental diva. Your gigantic hoop earrings are ridiculous. I have the after-detox jangles, which, as usual, are HELL. I’m shaky and sick. All I want to do is to find a kit and a corner to nod. Whoa, scribbling that paragraph felt good. Maybe Ellen of the Hoop Earrings is on to something.

You may wonder how I got here.

I stole a bicycle from the rack in front of a college library, one of many misdeeds needed to feed my habit. I always nab bikes, and they usually bring about 75 bucks, but this bike had a GPS tracker. The cops strolled into the pawn shop as I was negotiating. Since I made a beeline from the library to the pawnshop, the old “a friend just gave it to me” did not get me a pass. The drug test at the station sealed the deal.

The judge asked me to choose between spending three months in jail or three months at an in-house rehab facility. If you have been in county jail, you know that isn’t a difficult choice.

When that judge asks your mother if she is willing to pay money that she does not have for her youngest daughter to spend yet another stint in rehab, that is a trickier choice, but my mom, bless her forgiving heart, tearfully answered yes.

That’s enough writing for today.


Instead of killing myself over the weekend, I crawled under the black and white checkerboard quilt my mother forced me to take and binge-watched a Danish TV series on Netflix called Seaside Hotel. The series was more juvenile than a fifth-grade play and so sweet it could cause cavities, but the show calmed down my screaming brain and gave me something to do between vomiting into black plastic garbage bags and shaking like the sofa was traveling down a bumpy road.

I showed up at the group session on Monday with blank diary pages. Ellen, the Therapist, was aggravated. She rolled her eyes and said she could not make me do anything.

I yelled that I knew damn well she could not make me do anything and added that she should write that down in HER f***ing diary and shove it.

At 23, I am the oldest in my pod of eight losers. I see it as my responsibility to set a bad example. Seriously, things like yelling at Ellen always come out of my big mouth. The instant it pops out, I feel like a bitchy ventriloquist dummy. I know this is her job, but I don’t see how anyone can stand me at any price.

The small group idiocy continued when Ellen handed us a golf pencil and a sheet of paper with three outpatient choices:

Kitchen work and cooking

Horse Care

Nursing Home Assistant

She told us to write our names at the top and circle one, then she collected the papers but did not read them, looked directly at me, and reminded us to write something in our diary tonight.


Today, things went off the rails in the group session. Yesterday, all eight of us circled horse care as our choice for outpatient work. I mean, WTF? Why did she even bother with the paper ballot? Only a lunatic would sign up to slice onions or rip off dirty sheets instead of horse work.

Any moron could see she was setting up a conflict. Worse, the restaurant that agreed to take a few of us losers closed last night. So, Ellen went to her Plan B. She placed all our names on slips of paper in an envelope, shook it up, and told us the first four names she drew would go to the horse place, and the other four would work at the nursing home. We went from a democratic choice to a dictatorship in 10 seconds.

I drew into the horse group, which was good because I did not need to throw a major hissy fit. I smirked while the nursing home quartet grumbled and bitched. Then Ellen handed each girl in the nursing home group a first aid book, and she gave each of us in the horse group a book as thick as a Bible titled Care and Training of the Trotter and Pacer. She said, “Just read the first three chapters.” Of course, I didn’t.


Well, you might notice I missed a few days. My leg swelled up from an infected vein, and they shipped me to the hospital and hooked me up to an antibiotic drip. On the way out of my room at rehab, I grabbed the stupid horse book Ellen handed me. When I had trouble sleeping, I read a few chapters of Care and Training of the Trotter and Pacer, which was much better than Ambien.

I returned to the rehab place yesterday afternoon, in time for my first day at the horse program scheduled for the next morning. For some reason, we started the program on Saturday. I guessed the employees would not be working, and our quartet of drug cadets would just walk around and look at horses. Not true.

At 7:30 a.m., we took a pee test, and 10 minutes later, the white rehab van picked the four of us up at the front door. The Mexican maintenance man, Gilbert, drove us about a half hour to a farm. My first surprise was that the place was not exactly a farm. There were big barns, about five or six, but in the middle of the barns was a racetrack with horses going in circles. The horses were pulling a person sitting on a weird cart. Saturday was a workday.

A guy in his fifties wearing a ski cap and his arm in a sling met the van. When we got out, he said his name was Ted. He read our names from his clipboard. He waved us to follow him towards a big barn. Four women were waiting near the big open doorway: two about my age, one in her 50s, and one barely a teenager. I was a little nervous, like before getting on a roller coaster.

Ted matched each druggie with one of the other women. He told us to relax, follow our leader’s advice about how to do a few simple tasks and try not to feel overwhelmed. He said our days, for now, would be three hours in the morning, then lunch provided at no cost, and then two hours after lunch. My mom’s rehab bill could probably pay for a condo in Tahiti with lunch and zero work.

At 2:30, Gilbert returned in the van and drove us back to rehab, where we had to go directly into the nurse station for a drug test. The rules were clear: daily testing, one dirty test, and you wave goodbye to the farm.

I will write more about my first day at the horse farm some other time because I’m tired, smell like a horse (which I sort of like), and want to finish the final episodes of Seaside Hotel.