The Diary of Bridgette M., Part 9

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.

Part 8 is here.


At the NA meeting tonight, a big topic was loneliness. The leader asked us to raise our hands if we felt lonely. All 11 people in our small group raised their hands, opening the floodgates. A woman who I did not recognize tearfully said that every drug she took, every drink she swallowed, was because she felt lonely and isolated. A lady named Zola told us that unless she was using, she always felt ugly, awkward, and like a freak. Another guy said that in his mind, he never fit in with other people unless high, and being high made him feel like he was a freewheeling adventurer who was now among friends. We all agree our brains are wired differently, wired in a way that makes us lonely and afraid of life.

These feelings run through my brain all the time. When I am high, for a while, I fit in. Suddenly, I’m lovely and intelligent. Of course, this is BS. Drugs are messy, and addictions are false friends, but they are something, something, that makes fear and isolation disappear. For me, it feels like other people, ordinary people, have this magic connection where they relax and get along, and they have some level of trust. Happy, ordinary people annoy me. I envy them. Except for being with my mom, I’m always an outsider.

I found another exception to my loneliness chasm, alone in the barn with the horses. It was a small sample that gave me hope. In the barn, I could feel myself relax. It was a sort of cocoon, and the horses were comforting. Those big, bug-eyed beasts broke down my lonely feelings. They uncoiled my springs. Horses don’t judge and don’t ask. The horse nonsense Paul is promising has me hoping and praying that they can be an antidote to loneliness.


Every day, I wonder what Paul has up his sleeve that involves horses. I’m ready for a big letdown. It’s probably a scam. He’ll ask my mother to buy a couple of racehorses and assign the horse to a licensed trainer. By the way, I learned that a sham trainer for an ineligible trainer is called a beard, like hiding behind a beard. Asking my mother for money is a non-starter. Thanks to my drug habits, lawyer fees, and rehab, my mother sold her house, and we had to move into an apartment. Plus, what does this do for me? I don’t give a fig about horse racing. I want to be around horses to see if it helps, not watch them race from afar.


Yesterday was a bad day for me. I was very jittery and felt like bees were buzzing under my skin. I almost bailed on Burger King. It was a coin toss for me to call Paul or my dealer. Paul answered on the first ring and said he would pick me up after my shift and stay with me until the meeting. After work, I hopped into his truck. He drove to a park with a playground. We sat on a bench and watched the kids play.

Today was the second time I called Paul for help. Both times, he was available, which is odd. Since we were not at a meeting and he was in mentor mode, I asked him what he did and how he made a living.

Yikes. Paul said there were four horrible years after he got kicked out of horse racing. He went from a semi-functioning addict to a bottom-of-the-barrel addict, living in his car, stealing, dealing, shelters, and rehab programs. His grandfather paid for lawyers to keep him out of jail twice, and he slept in parks. His life was a blur and constant hustle, the usual grinding netherworld where severe addicts live, a world where every thought is drugs and money for drugs.

The fact he had come so far annoyed me. I snapped at him and said, from there, you are five years sober? How? Spill it, please.

He said that on April 12, 2019, the stars aligned. He was in the NA program for maybe the sixth time, 40 years old, a person with an addiction for half his life. He had nothing. His grandfather died that day. He said his grandfather was a great guy. He was the one who raced trotting horses and raised Paul when his father ran off shortly after he was born. He said his Gramps was kind and thoughtful and believed in second chances. He did not believe in third chances, so he kicked Paul out after his second relapse when he stole from him and would not let him back. He called the police on his grandson, and Paul didn’t blame him. When his grandfather died, his grandmother and mother were alone at the family farm in a big old farmhouse. His granny is in her 80s, and his mother has Parkinson’s and needs a wheelchair. They needed him. He needed them, and this was his tipping point. He’s five years without slipping and counting.

I said, so you’re a farmer.

He chuckled and said, ‘Not really. The family leases the farmland.’ He said he spends most of his time caring for his mom and Gran, running them to doctors, taking care of the paperwork, meals, laundry, etc. In his spare time, he renovates the house, barns, and a half-mile racetrack his grandpa carved over fifty years ago. Then, he rarely misses NA meetings after supper.


Now I have some clues. Paul has access to a private track and barns. But he didn’t mention any horses. Paul has a place to live and money, although the farm is probably in his grandmother’s name. The family farm can’t be far away because he attends every night’s meeting, and he has a life, a life after addiction. For some strange reason, thinking about his journey and where he is now makes me smile while I’m crying.