The Diary of Bridgette M., Part 17

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.

Part 9 is here.

Part 10 is here.

Part 11 is here.

Part 12 is here.

Part 13 is here.

Part 14 is here.

Part 15 is here.

Part 16 is here.


My struggle to get out of my drug hole and make a new life is a solo trip. Still, I have plenty of crutches; my mom, the rehab program at the horse training center experience, the NA meetings, the horses in the barn, Paul for a mentor, a lot of structure each day, and this diary in the evening.

I write in this diary in my bedroom after the nightly NA meeting and before going to bed. I write in a spiral-bound notebook, like students use in school. I never show anyone a single word in this diary. I write in cursive using a cheap pen. This pen came from Hartman’s Funeral Home. I thought about using a computer and typing this journal, but there is something about putting my pen to paper that feels good. The paper and pen make me feel like I am drawing a picture and not just emailing somebody. Why do I write? I’m not sure, but it calms me. Writing makes me think. The experience is like the difference between looking at a horse and touching a horse. Writing on a page like this shows I am making progress; hey, it’s in ink! Another thing about writing this is nobody judges me, and I do not need to lie or put on a performance. I don’t know if any science backs up the value of writing a journal or a diary. I am glad the rehab center put the idea in my head, and my writing seems to get more positive daily.


I had a crazy idea this morning and thought about it all day at the barn. After writing in my diary on Saturday, I might keep a diary about Annie, my favorite filly yearling. It may seem like every day is the same for her; feed, paddock, dress, two miles on the track, shower, and back to a clean stall. A diary about this beautiful 2-year-old filly could go deeper. Maybe a daily notation of how far and fast she trained, specific notes about those troublesome legs and the treatment she receives, quirks in her personality. I’m thinking about this. If I do it (write), I could write as an observer or as if I AM Annie from inside her brain. Hmmmm. What stops me from writing about Annie is if (when) she is sold, which could be a matter of months. The writing would make my heart break more.


Working in a horse barn is strange, different than most jobs, and not only because you work with live animals. For the most part, my chores are the same daily, but my interactions with Paul and Bart can radically differ. About half the days, I go into a mental bubble, just me and the horses, period. I can go all day and say 10 words. However, and I don’t know why, when I talk with one of the guys, the talk can be, not always, but can be serious-minded.

I am not sure why this is. Because we are addicts? Because the horses are there? Because of our personalities? Because we are broken and tired of BS? A lot of the time, the subject matter in the barn becomes more reflective. It’s strange.


Yesterday, I wrote about how sometimes we talk deeper as I work in the church-like quiet of the barn. Today was a good example. It started after I complained about these horses going up for sale in the summer. I would be back to square one, with no job and no horses, and the six months until (if) Paul bought new yearlings was always on my mind. Paul answered with his standard ‘One day at a time.’ but then he said something unexpected. He has doubts about the future of the entire sport of harness horse racing. He said the next few years could be a brand-new ballgame. He said the loss of gambling revenue and common sense made him think a new future was coming fast, so he was working on one plan to train harness horses for a new world.


Yikes, what a day! This morning, Paul fractured his hip in a freak accident. A wheel fell off the oldest jog cart, and Paul hit the ground. The accident did not have anything to do with his weight (Paul was bragging a couple of days ago that he was down to 221, never felt healthier, and was looking into surgery to remove excess skin). The fall was not spectacular. I was watching from the barn. He was merely jogging Annie slowly, and it looked like he slid off a desk chair. The EMT people came, and they did not do anything medically. They were pretty sure he broke his hip, so it was just a matter of stabilizing him and getting him into the ambulance.

Now what? The incapacity of Flying Flag’s CEO creates all sorts of issues for the next two in command, one of which is me. As they loaded him into the ambulance, Paul asked me to tell the NA group tonight about the situation. He said that I might need to moderate the NA meeting if Rachel was not there and that he would call Bart and me tonight.

He called me at 11 tonight. I told him that Rachel had led the meeting that night, and everything had gone fine. He told me the x-rays showed he was lucky. His right hip had a hairline fracture. Paul would not need an operation, but he would have pain for a few weeks. His diagnosis put the admitting doctor in a jam. Paul’s extensive medical records showed him as a person with a substance use disorder. They both agreed to skip Percocet or other pain medication and lean into Advil. He hopes to be released from the hospital on Saturday afternoon but will have minimal mobility and will not be able to drive his truck, let alone a horse. Paul asked me to check on Edith and paddock the horses tomorrow morning. He said he would call around noon, and we must put on our thinking caps.

What a mess.