A sunny Sunday. Husband and I called on Laura to ask if she would like to spend the day with us, out on a walk? No she would not. We stayed in her house for ten minutes, she followed us outside. ‘It’s a beautiful day, come with us,’ I said.

‘I can’t, I’m waiting for someone.’ Laura looked at me, her eyes danced with lies.

‘It’s not that arse hole, is it?’ Referring to Mr Big I Am. Silence told me what I needed to know. ‘Laura!’

‘Come on, let’s get going,’ Husband said.

On this gorgeous day, our daughter sat on her step and waited for this awful man to call. We all knew he would be late, we all knew he was in the bookies. He gambled everyday, including Sundays. When he lost money he would be vile, when he won money he would shove a handful of notes in my daughter’s waiting palm.

I do not think his gambling addiction was purely about the money, he was not short of cash. But the buzz, the game, the high of living on the edge, this is what he would crave. this is what he would chase. I have heard people launder money through betting on no-runs. He gambled everything.

As Husband, the grandson of an illegal bookmaker, way back when, said, ‘There’s only one winner: the bookie.’

Mr Big I Am gambled my daughter’s heart. He gambled her sanity.

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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