Is It Ever Ok To Take Drugs With Your Parents?
The Debrief: Going to the pub with your parents is one thing - but could you go raving with them? Leah*, 27, does...
Last month a mother who bought £300 worth of cocaine as a birthday present for her daughter’s 18th birthday, and got caught, was spared jail time.
Nicola Austen bought 12 bags of coke and booked a limousine to make sure her daughter ‘had a good time’. Now, buying your 18-year-old daughter 5.65 grams of coke is possibly (definitely) at the extreme end of the spectrum, but is there ever anything to be said for taking drugs with your parents?
As teenagers, most of us wouldn’t have be seen dead with our mum and dad outside the house, let alone in a club. How many times did you try to pretend you weren’t pissed as a fart when you walked through the door well after your bedtime? Or spray gallons of Impulse all over your clothes in a poor attempt to mask the scent of the cheap fags you’d been attempting to smoke?
We spoke to 27-year-old Leah* who has been raving with her parents everywhere from SW4 to Ibiza. She remembers the first time she ever spoke to her parents about drugs, after trying ecstasy for the first time.
‘I came home one morning at 6am when I was a teenager after I’d been to Ministry of Sound. Mum and Dad said that they knew I’d been taking drugs because I had eyes like dinner plates. And, apparently, the first thing I always do when I walk in the house is go to the fridge, but I didn’t and that’s how they knew. They knew the signs – and they knew me.’
She continues: ‘They asked me what I’d had, so I told them and they asked me how I felt. I told them I felt really good and went to bed. They knew what I’d been up to and if I’d lied about it they’d have been angry.’
Honesty is really important in her family, Leah says. ‘You can blatantly tell when somebody’s had a couple of pills or some MDMA, so I would never have bothered lying. I don’t lie and my family doesn’t lie to each other.’
So how did they start going out as a family? She recalls how the second time she ever took drugs was at Pacha, where her parents also happened to be with their mates.
‘It was at Christmas time. I was 18 or 19. It was my work Christmas party and we all went to Pacha and my parents were with their friends as well.’
She says they didn’t explicitly discuss taking drugs together that night, ‘It was all in a bit of a look. We were all at the bar buying a drink and I knew that they'd [done it] and they knew that I had and it was what it was.’
‘None of it went on when we were really young,’ Leah says. Her parents got divorced in her early teens and then got back together, eventually getting remarried. She says they ‘went out and actually found their own lives. That’s when they both first took drugs – it was never when we were young children.’
She thinks her family benefted from this. ‘If you split up with somebody you’ve been with for that long and had kids with, you do need to go out and find yourself again. It’s really important.’
Leah thinks having parents who occasionally went out raving actually made her feel less pressure to try drugs than her peers. She remembers that her school friends were taking drugs regularly from the age of around 15, but says, ‘I didn’t actually do MDMA until I was 18 and I didn’t do coke until I was 22. Especially coke – I just really wasn’t interested but everyone else from school was doing it – they were mad for it.
‘For me it had never been a conversation where they’d said you were in trouble if you do that, so I wasn’t trying to rebel against anything.’
Despite the fact that her parents enjoyed going out and getting on it, Leah says it wasn’t something they discussed. ‘It’s not like we sat there and had lengthy conversations about getting high, but once they realised I was an adult and thinking for myself it was all kind of out in the open.’
Did they ever give her advice? ‘Not really,’ she says. ‘They told me not to drink too much, always drink water and be careful. The conversations about it just happened really naturally.’
So what’s it like to go raving with your parents? Leah has been to Global Gathering and SW4 ‘countless times’ with her parents, their friends, her friends and her older brother, as well as other gigs, clubs and even Ibiza.
‘It’s normal for us,’ she says. ‘It’s like going out with a bunch of people that you’d normally go out with. It doesn’t feel any different because all my friends get along with my parents so well. It feels familiar. It doesn’t feel like, “Oh god, I’m out with my mum and dad.”’
She remembers a particularly good time they had together at a festival. ‘We had gone there to see Fatboy Slim and we all lost each other, as you do at festivals. I remember seeing them across the crowd and we had this kind of slow motion running towards one another moment. It was pissing with rain and we all had those plastic ponchos on, we’d been looking for each other for hours.
‘We found each other just as Fatboy Slim came on and, from then on the rest of the night was great because we were all together again. I remember laughing so much my cheeks hurt and the rest of the night there wasn’t a serious moment.’
Has anybody ever been negative about her parents’ drug taking? Leah says ‘9 times out of 10’ when she she’s out with them and introduces them to people she doesn’t introduce them as ‘mum and dad’, she just calls them by their names. But, she says, more often than not when people realise they’re related, they just say, ‘I wish I could go out with my mum and dad. That’s so cool’.
Leah did two seasons in Ibiza and at the end of her first season her mum and dad ‘came over for a few days to go to the closing parties’. One of her friends came over with them. While Leah had been away this friend had been visiting her parents, going over to the house to have tea with them.
‘They were super close’ Leah says. This friend had actually never done drugs before. Leah remembers her saying she wanted to try them, ‘but she would only try them if my parents were there – she was really close to them and said that she’d feel a lot safer if they were around.’ They all went to Space and the friend in question tried drugs for the first time.
Leah says her parents don’t go out as much now. ‘They go out differently these days. They were out for dinner last night and at the proms at the weekend where they got really pissed. But they don’t go out raving as much.’
She says she wouldn’t have had it any other way. ‘We are all so close – ridiculously close. Obviously everybody’s different but I don’t know anybody who is as close to their parents as me and my brother are.
‘I have a massive sense of ease around them. Nobody’s ever wound up with each other. If you’ve got an issue in my family you just say it, nobody’s going to care.’
‘We all spend a lot of time together – there’s rarely ever any negativity, ever. I guess if somebody else overheard what we talk about they might be shocked, but I think it’s funny and we’re all having fun…’
*names have been changed
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Photo: Lukasz Wierzbowski
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