The Diary of Bridgette M. – Part 7

by Trey Nosrac

Series introduction is here.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 ihere.

Part 5 ishere.

Part 6 is here.


My probation requires I attend at least four NA meetings each week, but my case worker suggests going every night. Meetings are easy to find on your phone. This one is in the activity room of a church. The meeting opened like they all do but ended in a way I can’t get my mind around.

We always start with the serenity prayer and then a quick roll call where we go around the room. When it was my turn, this meeting was packed, well over 40 people of every size, shape, and color.

My name is Bridgette, and I am an addict.

The group chants back, “Hi, Bridgette.”

I am nine days sober.

They clap.

Since this is my first meeting here, thank you for welcoming me. I am powerless over my addictions, but I am clean today, and I will…

A chant from the group finishes everyone’s sentence at this point; keep coming back.

I won’t write down personal details of what goes on in the meetings. The wreckage of our lives should remain inside the group, our last names remain private, and this NA group is closed, which means only people with a substance use disorder can attend.

Sometimes, when an NA group has too many people, the group divides into smaller, more personal groups. A woman named Anna asked us to count off by threes and then asked the ones to stay in this room. The twos went to the basement room, and the threes took a folding chair with them and went to the space in front of the church altar. I was in the basement group.

When we were a much more intimate group, an obese, bearded guy in his 50s took leadership and said My name is Paul, so we all said, “Hi Paul” again.

He said again, I am five years and 10 days sober.

We applauded.

Paul read the tract and asked if anyone wanted to share. As I said, I’m not going to repeat anything in this journal, but the first person to share was a lady who used 10 hours ago, and tears fell. It was unusual when the guy beside her hugged her, and we did the same in a sort of group hug.

When we settled back in our seats, Paul nodded at me.

My name is Bridgette. As I said, I am at nine days. Physically, I am in a better place. I lean on my mom and parole officer. I was in an equine therapy group earlier this year, which was fantastic. The place had a hundred horses called harness horses; they pulled buggies around a racetrack. I messed up, but I will never forget the people and the horses. It was a perfect opportunity for me. God, I loved the horses. My screwup of that program is at the top of my mountain of regrets. The other members asked me a few questions about the horse farm, and I answered as best I could.

After the meeting, we returned our folding chairs to a rack in the meeting room and headed for the parking lot. I was walking towards my mom, who sat in her idling car, when Paul tapped me on the shoulder. I was a little rattled because he is a big guy, and it was dark.

He said that it was nice to meet me. A little less nervous, I thanked him and added that this meeting was close so he would see more of me.

He seemed to be having an internal debate because he paused and said he spent most of his life in harness racing. The bad news is that he got kicked out of the sport 10 years ago. He understood the pull of the horses and said that drugs led him to some serious problems.

I was surprised and said his five years of sobriety is impressive.

What’s your best, Bridgette?

Four months.

Paul looked at me and then spoke the most unusual sentence anyone had ever said to me.

If you need a mentor, I’m available, and if you make six months, no, let’s rephrase that, WHEN you make six months, I will get you back to working with harness horses. Then he walked away.

How random was that?


During the NA meeting tonight, we split up again, and this time, I was not in the same small group as Paul. A young girl named Gayle sat beside me and asked if I would join her for coffee after the meeting. I wanted to talk to Paul, but Gail seemed like she needed an ear and a shoulder to lean on, so we sat in a corner, and I listened.


Before today’s meeting, I tapped Paul on his big forearm and said, almost whispered, that I could not stop thinking about his harness horse comment and asked him if he was serious. He said 100 per cent. Then he said that in six months, we will both have more sobriety, and he plans on being 30 pounds lighter. The horses will be waiting. Tell you what, you are now at what, 10 days sober?


Great, okay, let’s leave this as a mystery for now. Just keep with the program and keep racking up the days. At two months sober, 60 days, we will meet before a meeting, and I will answer your horse dreams.