The Diary of Bridgette M., Part 8

by Trey Nosrac

Series introduction is here.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.


The horse secret and Paul’s background story were killing me.

I was not about to wait two months to see if this horse guy was legit and what he was thinking. It was time to go to the Internet to do some cyberstalking. His first name is Paul. He seemed to be local. He is/was an addict. He is close to 300 pounds. He was kicked out of harness racing 10 years ago.

My first search was — 2012 — harness racing — Paul — exclusion. I found nothing. I went to some harness racing sites; there were not many, and they did not help. My next try was — Pennsylvania — harness racing — license denial. Bingo, I found an official court document.

In The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

Paul T. Weaver: Petitioner. 2013: Pennsylvania State Horse: The Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission (PSHRC) upheld and imposed a lifetime license suspension because Weaver violated several PSHRC regulations.

Now I had a last name. My searches brought up some photos in the winner’s circle of a younger but not thinner Paul. I found some chatrooms that linked his name to terms like chemist, cheat, supplier, beards, EPO, poster boy, and loser.

It was not a pretty picture, but this was nothing new. Paul already admitted that he got kicked out of the sport. What would a search on me, a fellow addict, look like; my rap sheet was worse than his. None of us can un-ring the bells.


After tonight’s meeting, Paul was in the parking lot with a group of smokers. I joined them. When we were alone, he smiled and said, “I’m sure you looked.” I nodded and asked if he looked for me. He said he did not because he didn’t have much to go on and thought that amnesia about our pasts would probably be helpful.

He paused for a few seconds and said some of the stuff was exaggerated, but all his racing problems came from using, and his world just got out of control. He said he was not a victim of the system; he was a user and was responsible for everything. Getting booted from the sport probably saved his life.

I asked if this meant his big secret sobriety carrot and mysterious plan with horses were out the window. He shook his big fuzzy head and said — Girl — the deal is for real. The plan is solid; if you can hang on, the horses are just over the fence.


Susie Maldonado got my new phone number. I don’t know where she got it because only five people have my latest number. Limiting screen time is part of my probation; make fewer on ramps, as they say in the meetings. Susie and I ran together; she had been using it longer than me. She said she wanted to get together and “not really party, just visit a few friends.” I said I would meet her at Cheaters Pub at 8. I began pacing the kitchen floor and then walked to the park by the river.

At five minutes to 7, I called Paul. He said instead of the group meeting tonight, we would meet at the McDonald’s on Fair Road in 15 minutes. He was waiting in a booth with a large milkshake and water with ice. He handed me the milkshake, looked at his water, and sighed.

We talked until 9. I blocked Susie on my phone; another day in my book.


When Paul met me at McDonald’s, we did not talk about drugs. We did not talk about addiction. We talked about politics, which I do not care about, and horses, which I do not know much about.

My first intervention with a mentor did not go as I expected. Instead of survival theories, drug horror stories, platitudes, and slogans for people with a substance use disorder, we just talked. His politics were that everybody should bend and be nice and that nobody should use the word they. He told me that last night, he watched a clip of the Grammy Awards performance of Tracy Chapman, an aging lefty and a young righty who made music together so beautifully it made him cry.

Then, he asked me about the horse therapy program. I admitted that I only lasted a little over four weeks, but I truly believed the program was miles better than most. He had many questions about the program, the costs, logistics, insurance, and what I would change. I answered as best as I could.

I tried to push Paul about his horse promise. He said he was working out the bugs and would explain at my two-month mark.


I keep thinking about Paul meeting me on the brink of my slipping back into the arms of drugs. Why did he drop everything and help me? Why is he suggesting this reunion with horses? What is in this for him? Then I thought about a woman named Gayle from the NA meetings. She is a tough case, really struggling. Gayle has latched on to me four times now, and we chat for at least 20 minutes; she seems to be leaning on ME. The thing is, being a help instead of being helpless feels good. I think Paul is in the same boat, helping me, he helps himself.

My days are falling into a routine: breakfast with mom, a long walk listening to talk radio or music, five hours working at Burger King, meeting at 7. He will reveal the horse project soon. I have some guesses. It will probably be a nothing burger, but the mystery is fun. Ten more days until two months sober. I’m proud and nervous. Eggshells.