The Diary of Bridgette M., Part 4

by Trey Nosrac

Series introduction ishere.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.


Like most addicts, I have a sixth sense of who is using and who is not; this is not a talent to be proud of. I am not picking up any drug vibes at the horse barns. So, I asked Rhonda about the substance problems in racing. For once, she had a lot to say.

She said that drugs are a problem in the sport, just like in real life. She also said, in her opinion, usage was like the sorting hat in Harry Potter. Some outfits had drug use, some were alcohol, some were family-oriented, and some, like this one, were clean. She said she left a few places after getting fed up with the problems.

She said that working in a training center was different than racing. Training centers were daytime, same people, and you went home. You could lead an everyday life. Going to the races at night is a different world, but the money is much better if you do both.

Then, she gave me advice, which was very un-Rhonda-like. “Girl, if you decide to return to the world of racing, start at a breeding farm, a good fairground in the sticks, or a training center. For somebody in your situation, you need more horse and less drama.” Then Rhonda made her first wisecrack and said, “You should try to set yourself up with 10 horses and no people, maybe just a list of chores tacked to the door. That’s my dream job.”


I like working at the barns. Horses don’t talk. Well, they sort of talk. They are each a little different, so let’s say they don’t talk out loud or talk back. One of my many problems is my mouth. Loud and stupid stuff comes out at an alarming rate. It always feels like somebody is pushing me into a corner, and then I do two things: shoot up or talk too much.

The horses take my mouthiness off the table, but here is a strange thing: I talk to the horses all the time. I talk nice, gently. I guess the shrinks say horses are non-threatening, and they are probably correct. Truthfully, the best time is just me and the horses. Even when Rhonda is in the barn, some quiet magic goes away. I clench up inside when three or four people are around, at lunchtime, or when the straw guy is working.


I dropped out of school when I was 15. I headed straight to the streets and the gutter. Boys and men came along. I talk a big game and scoff at regular people, but that is just a front. I blew off all my early years in a rush to get nowhere. I want to say I could write a book about how to screw up a wonderful life, but it is all a blur, and as you see, my writing ain’t that great for a book.

Here is another thing I like about the barn and the work with the horses; it has a nice rhythm to the day. You clean the stalls, do the buckets, brush the horses, dress the horses, wash the horses. I mean, you can’t sit on your ass. It is real work, but unlike many jobs, it seems to make sense.


I never admit I was wrong, which is ridiculous because people with an addiction do something wrong daily and then do worse things to pay for their stupidity.

We discussed this in the group session, and the group leader, Ellen, called it justification. She said that deep inside, we have an innate understanding that what we do is harmful, but we invent elaborate explanations to justify our behaviors and use. We try to deceive ourselves and other people. She asked us to pick three actions in our lives where we were wrong and to say them out loud to another person. Then she said if saying them to another person was too painful, we should write them in our journals.

I was wrong about this journal. Writing these words is NOT stupid. I enjoy writing and putting down what is inside me on paper.

I was wrong about Ellen, the therapist. She is a nice person, and she does care about us. After being a total bitch to her for the first few weeks, she doesn’t hold my words and actions against me. I was wrong that the horse therapy was another money-making scam. I could tell you horror stories about the rehabilitation business, but this is not one. The horses are amazing, the people at the farm are nice, and nobody has an agenda.

Do not expect me to say these three things out loud. I’m not there yet.


I’m slipping.

I can feel it.

I’ve been here before.

Nothing specific has gone wrong; it is the opposite. I LOVE the farm and the horses. The rehab place is the best so far. I’m five weeks sober. Other addicts talk about this time. I remember Natalie; she’s dead now. Natalie got clean a dozen times and said she had reached her walking-on-eggshells stage around the six-week mark. She never knew if it was chemicals in her brain, low self-esteem, or boredom, but each time she got close, she sabotaged herself.

That’s where I am right now, fragile. A part of me screams I don’t deserve a happy life and that the chaos of my using life was better. Is this true? Is self-sabotage around the corner? And here is something strange, my only relief from the eggshells last week and today were the hours around the horses. Maybe I should grab a sleeping bag and move into a stall.