Thank you so much Mr Groovy and Shockersh for your replies, and for anyone else who read about my plight and tried to help. I was about to start the "inbox repair tools" Shockersh wrote about, when I did one more quick search on the net.
If anyone else is to have this problem, the solution is extraordinarily easy.....go to your deleted items. I feel like such an idiot. I will point out that that was the first place I looked, however, my mistake was that I went looking at the top of my deleted items (as I had only just deleted it). If ever you accidentally delete a distribution list, go to your deleted items but scroll down to the date you actually CREATED the distribution list - that is where it lies in wait for you to find it!!!!
It seems that it is entirely too easy for people to delete their contacts in Outlook. There is no prompt to make sure that you actually want to delete your contacts, which apparently Microsoft is looking into. Meanwhile, I am just so happy that if it ever happens again - I know where to look!!!!
Once again, thank you so much for your help - I am stoked that I stumbled across this website, and will definitely be back when I have my blonde moments on the computer again!!!