The Diary of Bridgette M., Part 19

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.

Part 17 is here.

Part 18 is here.


I began using Oxycontin when I was 18 years old. I have been an addict for seven long years. I’m lucky to be alive. The inside of my brain is still a battlefield. The demon still lives. Maybe the best I can say is I am keeping the demon at bay, but the demon still terrifies me. I know if I do not make it this time, the odds are I never will. Today, I am six months sober, my longest stretch by far.

I went to church with my mother this morning. Sundays are tricky days for me. Not going to the barn and seeing the horses give me too much time to think. When we got home from the church, I went to my bedroom and read this diary. I cried several times, strange tears. Some were tears of sadness, and others were of gratitude. Gratitude is not an emotion I am familiar with. So many people helped me, well, tried to help me. I have been horrible to them.

If I had to name a turning point, it would be the horse therapy program at my last rehab. Yeah, I messed it up, did not finish the program, and relapsed twice, but being around good people and horses planted a seed.

When I was using, everything in my life was designed around one thing – filling my need for drugs. My relationships with people, what I did from the moment I woke up until I passed out, drugs were the center of everything. Everything that went wrong was someone else’s fault, and my need squashed any iota of empathy. My life was me, me, me, drugs, drugs, drugs.

I am hopeful that I may make it out of the darkness. I feel a crack in those walls because I am beginning to feel grateful. My mom is a rockstar, the one person who has never wavered. The drug programs and NA did not fail me. I failed them. Paul, a disgraced addict, has shown me a path. And the horses, God, those horses, they are magic. No more writing today. I’m getting misty – damn empathy. (LOL)


I have a dream. Right now, the dream is like me, fragile as a soap bubble. I am afraid if I say this dream out loud, it will burst and disappear, so I have not told anyone, but I will write it in this diary. That way, the dream can stay alive, and I can think about it before I suggest it to Paul.

I believe that there is a particular ingredient that allows people with an addiction to reach the stage of sobriety that Paul has reached. I think that a person with an addiction needs to progress from needing crutches to becoming a crutch.

I see this in Paul every day. Before I knew him, he was a total mess and should be dead after years and years of drug abuse. He was an overweight pariah with zero self-respect. Like me, he tried everything and was a lost cause. Both of us were getting older and using in an endless circle. The most significant change I see, which is not scientific, is that Paul somehow shifted when his grandfather died.

The main difference in his life was that he needed to care for his mom and grandmom. Somehow, someway, this purpose allowed him to pass that test he had failed many times. Each day, he was sober and purposeful. His sobriety led him not just to attend NA meetings but to lead the meetings. Again, another purpose for him was to help others. Then he took ME on as another opportunity to help. Each day, he had a reason to rise and not an excuse to use.

Six months sober is a LONG way from sobriety, but I am feeling some pangs of benefits from helping others. One little thing I am doing is gently, very gently, nudging Bart, the alcoholic who works at the farm, to attend meetings. Bart is a good guy. He is in his 30s, and I see goodness in him, but his drinking is destructive and getting worse. It’s weird being in my mental space, the twilight between using and not using. People with an addiction are, in a way similar to politics, separated into tribes – users and non-users. Users resent the non-users and have a hard time listening. But Bart and I have reached a little breathing space. He doesn’t bark at me to mind my business if I approach him with a joke instead of a flat-out suggestion. Bart is a stubborn, prideful guy. Maybe my nagging will help him, or it won’t help him.

A germ of an idea got planted when I reported for the rehab horse project. I knew nothing about horses, farms, or horse racing. But on the first day, being around horses made a difference. When the dust settles from Paul’s pin hooking experiment, I will see if any horses remain in the barn. The gist of my idea is to bring a few addicts struggling with sobriety to report to the farm and work with horses. The structure of how this could work is unclear, but I know that ever since the fentanyl scourge, money has been on the table for treatment options at the federal, state, local, and municipal levels.

I want to try helping a few recovering people with a substance use disorder. Retired racehorses need good homes and are donated. I keep thinking about plotting a project involving some form of equine therapy. Oh well, one day at a time. One thing is for sure — we will never run out of people with addictions who need help or magical horses needing homes.