The day of my birthday it was a big one. I was fifty.

My daughters and I would go shopping, our new baby in tow.

The car with the baby strapped in called for Bella, and brought her to my house. A big bunch of flowers my girls gave to me.

Bella sat in front of the car next to her sister. I sat in the back with my darling grandson for our customary birthday treat: a trip to the shopping centre.

Bella chirped up, ‘I was locked in a cell, when I was picked up for drink driving.’

Me: ‘I don’t want to hear this.’

Bella: ‘The policeman was flirting with me.’ Bella started laughing. We did not.

Married Daughter: ‘Bella! Mum doesn’t want to listen, shut up.’

She did.

Different departments we shopped, picked up this, put back that. Married Daughter tried on a pair of shoes. Bella and I sat close on chairs and waited. I could smell stale alcohol leak from her skin, a stink I was familiar with: The aroma of an alcoholic. I chastised her about her alcohol consumption, a lecture she again ignored.

Married Daughter queued to pay for chosen shoes. Bella took her chance, she had me alone, ‘Mum, I’m in debt, I have no money.’

‘Why’re you telling me?’

She shrugged her shoulders, a sulk on her face.

Another stone dropped in my stomach, sat on top of previous ones.

We moved on through the open stores, to look at sunglasses set out in a glass case. Bella saw a pair she liked, a pair she could not live without. I bought them for her, to make her happy. To ease the sickness in my heart.

It was my birthday and she had ruined it.

Addict Child by Lesley Sefton buy on amazon

I am the mother of two adult daughters, both much loved and cared for. The eldest thought she could handle social drinking and party drugs, she could not. There is a journey addicts relate to - their journey. As a mother I have healed through the written word. This is my journey.

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