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Mary Ann - Interview 16

Age at interview: 20
Brief Outline: Mary Ann and her friends drank to escape boredom, and could only have fun if they were drunk. At sixteen she was introduced to cocaine by her boyfriend but stopped using drugs when she became pregnant. She thinks that turning to drugs and drink will make your problems worse.
Background: Mary Ann lives with her son and wants to work with children. Ethnic background: White British.

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Mary Ann first tried skunk (a strong type of cannabis) with a friend, at the age of 11. She started to panic and was taken to hospital. She grew up around alcohol; her dad was a heavy drinker who bought her alcopops in a pub when she was 10. By 13, alcohol had become a major part of her life, and has caused many of her problems. The peer pressure to fit in at upper school led to Mary Ann drinking heavily with her friends on weekends, mixing vodka, cider, beer, etc. At 15 she was kicked out of home, and hasn’t lived there since. At 16, her boyfriend introduced her to cocaine, with it becoming part of her weekend habit. She had been in a violent relationship with him since she was 15.
 
Mary Ann thinks that she and her friends drank because life was so boring for them, and that they only had fun when they were drunk. They constantly wanted to cause trouble, and have a laugh. She says that she and her friends would get into dangerous situations when drunk and one of her friends was raped in a park one night when they were all 'paralytic'. Now, she thinks that doing drugs isn’t worth it, and that there are better things to spend money on. She says that turning to drugs and drink will make your problems worse. 

Mary Ann stopped taking drugs and drinking when she got pregnant with her son. Now she drinks far less often because she would prefer to spend time with her son. She  wants to work with children, and had wanted to become a paediatric nurse, but didn’t get into college on the last two attempts. Now she is rethinking her options. 
 

Mary Ann, at age eleven was offered skunk by her friend’s older brother. The feeling scared her and she ended up going to hospital. (Played by an actress)

Mary Ann, at age eleven was offered skunk by her friend’s older brother. The feeling scared her and she ended up going to hospital. (Played by an actress)

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I first tried Skunk when I was eleven, and I was with my friend we was round a local area, and her brother gave me a spliff, and I didn’t really know what it was at all, I didn’t really know what it was, and me being stupid I had a whole spliff to myself, the first time I ever smoked anything, and half a can of Red Stripe, and I always remember it, and I had to go to the hospital because I was Paranoid, I was nearly blacked out, everything, so I had to go home and I was really panicky, I thought [xxxxx] I was, I felt ten metres in the air floating, everything I couldn’t, and...
 

I’d never had an experience of anything like that before so obviously it was really scary, I was only eleven, I wasn’t even in upper school, so it was really scary and I had to go home, I had to tell my Mum, and she tried to calm down and she took me to the hospital, and then it turned out like obviously I was fine because it’s not really a harsh drug is it? If you’re just not used to the whole experience of it you just don’t really know what to expect. So that was the first time I ever did Skunk and then I completely, you know, and it scared the living life out of me so I didn’t [laughs] touch it.  

 

Mary Ann thinks that she started getting drunk to fit in with friends (Played by an actress).

Mary Ann thinks that she started getting drunk to fit in with friends (Played by an actress).

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I think with peer pressure and going to an upper school and trying to fit in everything as well, because of you’re thirteen, and I always drink to get paralytic, I never drink just to have a, I always have to get completely and utterly para, like to the point where I can’t remember stuff
 
But and then I think as I was growing up alcohol, just every single weekend, as soon as Friday come that’s it, straight Vodka, that’s what you used to drink from the age of thirteen, and you kind of become, but obviously you don’t know what drinks do what and you don’t know not to mix your drinks and stuff do you? So I was drinking Vodka, Cider, Beer, everything just mixed and it, just to get completely and utterly para, and that was it, and it’s a waste of money and I think as I’ve got older I carried on doing that.
 
 

Mary Ann’s hangovers seem worse these days. Having a son has meant changing her drinking habits (Played by an actress)

Mary Ann’s hangovers seem worse these days. Having a son has meant changing her drinking habits (Played by an actress)

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So obviously I feel like going ‘I want to’ ‘get para’ but I don’t and I know that it’s not going to solve my problem, and especially because my son’s getting older having a hangover the next day kills me, it kills me, it’s not worth it, so, and I don’t really enjoy going out and getting drunk I see it as a waste of money now. You know, I’d rather go out for a meal with my friends, go cinema, go out for a meal, and we sit and we have a good few bottles of wine or whatever and then go home, instead of going out, spending seventy quid, and it’s a complete and utter waste of money and you can’t even remember the whole night. So my opinion’s changed as I’ve got older, thank God.
 
Okay, so do you, that is something to do with you growing up?
 
Yeah I think that’s, that’s the, that’s more to me doing [xxxxx] especially having my son as well, either it’s more realised I can’t do it no more, one because it actually takes me quite a few days to recover, I can’t afford it, and I do see it as I can’t actually have a hangover the next day with my son because I can’t look after him properly and it physically makes me feel so ill, and I do see it as a waste of money and I would rather be up, ready, out and doing something with him. So I think it’s got more to do with as he’s got older he can do a bit more, so everything’s a bit more fair then, I love taking him over to like, I can’t say it, like a big park or something in like another town and, you know what I mean? Just spending the day over there, and I would rather do something like that.
 
Yeah to a certain extent yeah, but I never sit and get drunk while I’ve got my son never do I sit and do that.
 
No?
 
No, no, no, no.
 
Okay.
 
Well I sit down and obviously if I’m in the house I’ll have a couple of cans of beer or something like that, I can sit and have a like a little drink but that’s the same as anyone sits there and has wine of a night don’t they? Wine’s a lot more stronger than beer.
 
So no-one can sit there and slate me for that one. But if I’m ever going out I always make sure I’ve got a babysitter and he’s out for the whole night and he’s not back till the morning. But obviously people drop him back at like nine in the morning and I’m like, “No, you can’t drop him back at nine.” So I just can’t do it, not unless, and I can’t ask someone to look after him like all day and, all night and all day can I? And it’s not fair on him either is it? And I feel bad when he sleeps away from the house, it’s not his own bed with his own comfort, do you see what I mean?

 

 

Taking cocaine and alcohol to escape her problems just made Mary Ann feel worse. (Played by an actress)

Taking cocaine and alcohol to escape her problems just made Mary Ann feel worse. (Played by an actress)

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But when I was seventeen, I’ve been in a violent relationship since I was fifteen as well, so kind of I think all that adds to it as well, but then obviously not living at home and having that stability, no obviously I know it’s my own fault but, and then as I was seventeen really bad experience happened in my life and I turned to Cocaine because I was working as a well so I had money, I had no child then, and every single weekend, even during the week I was just going out and, that was my escape route, but then every morning I would just feel so down and depressed and everything would just seem a thousand times worse, but then I’d go out and do it again and that’s all I wanted to do, I didn’t want to deal with anything head on I just wanted to go and just get obliviated that’s what I wanted to do, that was my aim. 

 

On one occasion Mary Ann experimented with mephedrone and hallucinated. She would never use it again. (Played by an actress)

On one occasion Mary Ann experimented with mephedrone and hallucinated. She would never use it again. (Played by an actress)

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Same as mephedrone, that new drug that’s outthat is lethal that drug is, that is the, you don’t start coming down off it and this is how come you can carry on seshing on it because you don’t start to feel tired or nothing, well obviously you do but it’s not like Cocaine, you kind of come, you rather come down on it at some point, with this Mephedrone you, but you can be up on all night on it and you, you don’t start to come down until like the next night so, but then you’re taking more because you’re still awake and you want more of the buzz, but you, the buzz kind of wears off but you’re wide awake, you cannot sleep, wide awake, I’ve never done nothing like it.
 
This is mephedrone?
 
Yeah I hallucinated on it, I thought everyone’s face was jelly, I would never touch it again, it was horrible, never ever, ever, ever
 
Okay.
 

horrible.  

 

Mary Ann started using cocaine at aged 15. It became a thing she did every weekend; drinking...

Mary Ann started using cocaine at aged 15. It became a thing she did every weekend; drinking...

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At the age of fifteen when I met my boyfriend, that’s when I first tried Coke, Cocaine, had my first line of Cocaine at the age of fifteen, no sixteen that’s a lie, sixteen, and since, and then, obviously still drinking every single weekend, every single weekend still just drinking Vodka and just trying to get obviously completely and utterly para, but then as I said got introduced to Cocaine, so that kind of started coming in at the weekends as well. 
 
 

Mary Ann’s drug and alcohol use got worse after her boyfriend was sent to prison. She didn’t know how to cope with the situation. (Played by an actress)

Mary Ann’s drug and alcohol use got worse after her boyfriend was sent to prison. She didn’t know how to cope with the situation. (Played by an actress)

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But when I was seventeen, I’ve been in a violent relationship since I was fifteen as well, so kind of I think all that adds to it as well, but then obviously not living at home and having that stability, no obviously I know it’s my own fault but, and then as I was seventeen really bad experience happened in my life and I turned to Cocaine because I was working as a well so I had money, I had no child then, and every single weekend, even during the week I was just going out and, that was my escape route, but then every morning I would just feel so down and depressed and everything would just seem a thousand times worse, but then I’d go out and do it again and that’s all I wanted to do, I didn’t want to deal with anything head on I just wanted to go and just get obliviated that’s what I wanted to do, that was my aim.
 
So the worst time I’ve ever been very bad on drugs was when that, well, what happened was my boyfriend, there’s just loads of things around it, he locked me in the cupboard and he tried to set fire to me and tried to kill me, and there was loads of, obviously he pulled me down the stairs and a lot more mentally controlling stuff that he did to me within this space of time, and it was only then that he went to prison and I turned to Cocaine and the drink, that’s the worst I have ever been for drugs, that’s the worst I have ever been.
 
Okay when he was in prison?
 
 [Affirmative noise] because I don’t know how to deal with nothing, I didn’t want to talk about nothingand obviously that’s why I ended up losing my job, I look back on it now and I think there’s no way, I was just heading for like a big downward spiral thing [sighs].
 
Okay and how old were you then?
 

Seventeen. 

 

Mary Ann's dad bought her alcopops when she was 10. Alcohol has been a major part of Mary Ann’s life since she was 13 and has caused her a lot of problems. (Played by an actress)

Mary Ann's dad bought her alcopops when she was 10. Alcohol has been a major part of Mary Ann’s life since she was 13 and has caused her a lot of problems. (Played by an actress)

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Alcohol I think I’ve kind of always been around alcohol, I’ve kind of been brought up with it because my Dad’s a very big drinker, he’s still is to this day, always has been, I think he always will but I don’t think he’ll ever change he’s fifty, so, and he’s been a big drinker since he has been young, since he’s been old enough to drink, so but that’s caused him a lot of problems, well how, how I look at him, like he runs his own business but he’ll go on, big sessions, about two or three times a week and how the hell he runs his own business I have no idea, it worries me sick because he has Crohn’s Disease and he only has half a stomach, so he doesn’t eat a lot, so he can’t eat a lot either, so when he goes out and he’s drinking for like ten, twelve hours, and he’s drinking all this, and he takes him about two, three days to recover, and he literally just can’t move out of bed, so and he’s trying to run a business while doing this as well. So that’s always worried me and obviously growing up I used to go the pub with him and I just used to have alcohol, like around me, and I’d, just he would buy me alcohol as well which obviously some people would just think, oh I do personally think it’s bad because I would never do it with my son, but I think the first time my Dad brought me drink, and this is no word of a lie, I was about ten and he brought me, I always remember them, little bottles of they were called Reefer, and they was only like alcopops and I always remember that, yeah I was about ten, and that’s kind of like, and then from then on, I think, from the age of thirteen when I went to upper school I started smoking a little bit more Skunk, but I didn’t really like it so I just never smoked it. And then, but from the age of thirteen alcohol has been a major part of my life, like [xxxxx] and I think that’s what’s caused a lot of my problems. 

 

One of Mary Ann’s friends was raped in a park when they had all been drinking heavily, at the age...

One of Mary Ann’s friends was raped in a park when they had all been drinking heavily, at the age...

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I always drink to get paralytic, I never drink just to have a, I always have to get completely and utterly para, like to the point where I can’t remember stuff and I’ve done, put, I’ve ended up in dangerous situations when I was younger either as in talking to men, one of my friends was raped oh I can’t say the place, but one of my friends actually raped, we was all at this park, and we was all para, we was thirteen and fourteen, age group was, and she, we all ended up obviously splitting up and this place where we was is well known for rapes and everything else, so what the hell? Now I would never even step foot near there, do you know what I mean? Let alone walk there when we was out on this park up until about eleven, twelve at night, and we all ended up splitting up and my friend walked off, absolutely para, she was in a short skirt and a man raped her, he took her in a car and he raped her. So that was a very bad experience for all of us because we all kind of felt bad because we was all like we was the last one to see her, and the last people to see her were me and her sister, so obviously you kind of blame yourself for that don’t you? You was like well, if one sentence could have been different she maybe might not have walked off and that might not have happened.
 
How did you feel when your friend was raped?
 
I started crying, and so me, because her sister was with me and her Mum obviously rang her sister and was all, “Well who was the last one, person to be with your sister?” And we was like, “Well it was me and.” Like me and my mate and she was just like, “Well she’s been raped.” And because she’d told her Mum and ran out the house, she didn’t know what to do obviously I know the details in and out and she was quite scared of some of the things that, well I’m not going to go into detail but, how her body was feeling she knew that something was wrong because her bum was hurting basically and she’d woke up and she was kind of having visions of this and that, and she just thought ‘well what the hell’s happened to me?’ do you see what I mean? Obviously if her bum was hurting, she could smell sex it is that dis, one, at the age of thirteen, like I was still a virgin at the age of thirteen as well, do you see what I mean? Like I was still innocence in a sense weren’t I? So to have my friend, that have happened to her and for her to be saying this, because we went to see her, and she was telling us what she, what, she keep, she kept having this flashbacks of, so and then we were just kind of like we started crying we was like all, we kind of felt all bad because we was last people to see her.
 
But did she?
 
But we still didn’t learn our lesson though.
 
Okay. But she was drunk when she was...?
 

[Affirmative noise] paralytic, para, absolutely steaming. 

 

Mary Ann thinks that problems will be made worse by turning to drink and drugs. (Played by an actress)

Mary Ann thinks that problems will be made worse by turning to drink and drugs. (Played by an actress)

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I think every situation’s different, I think every situation needs analysing first before you can do give that advice. But turning to drugs and drink is not going to make your problem better it’s going to be [slight laugh] a thousand times worse in the morning, and it’s a waste of money. Drinking, everything in moderation is good for you but when you start abusing it is when it becomes bad.
 
And there’s a saying ‘once you’re in a hole don’t keep digging’ [laughs] you stop digging don’t you?
 
Okay [laughs].
 
[Laughs.]
 
 

As soon as Mary Ann realised she was pregnant she stopped smoking and had almost no alcohol...

As soon as Mary Ann realised she was pregnant she stopped smoking and had almost no alcohol...

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Well I lived in a flat so if anyone ever wanted to smoke or anything they’d have to go downstairs anyway, I wouldn’t have, when I was pregnant I’d given up smoking, I wouldn’t have smoking around me.
 
So.
 
and you stopped drinking also?
 
Yeah I think on New Year’s Eve I think I had a couple of glasses of lemonade and wine, I think out of my whole pregnancy I think I must have had five halves of Guinness and Ribena, and two glasses of wine with lemonade, that was what, all I had the whole time I was pregnant.
 
Why?
 
Because I had something inside me, I can choose to abuse my body but I can’t choose to abuse someone else’s can I? And I felt kind of bad like I, it completely and utterly accidental how I fell pregnant was because I was taking, I stopped taking the Pill, like you have to take it religiously don’t you? Well I kind of, because obviously I wasn’t sleeping with anyone I didn’t really take it, and then the last thing I kind of thought that would happen I started taking it again and literally I fell pregnant two and a half weeks after he came out of prison, but I didn’t find out till I was three months, so obviously those first three months I was still drinking and smoking, but I didn’t know, and as soon as I found out it took me two and a half weeks to quit smoking [slight laugh] and then that was it.

 

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