"When I got involved with drugs it wrecked my life."
My name’s David, I’m from west Belfast and I’m 15.
R: So, when does your story begin?
The start of my story is when I first ever run about with people I didn’t know, they got me involved with smoking. And then I started to run about with bigger crowds like. They took me in as good mates and then they got me smoking for a bit more, and then like I started smoking grass and all with them. Then when I got involved with drugs it wrecked my life like. I can say that there.
When I was fourteen I got caught by the Police on my quad, and they put me in handcuffs and put me in the back of the car and took me down to Tennent Street Police Station. I was sitting there for about two and a half hours just waiting on my Mummy to come down, and they brought me into a wee room and said that I had to come down to court to see what happens. And then I went to this thing called Youth Justice. I still was taking drugs, but I went off them coz I was making myself out to be a bad person. I was always snapping at people for nothing. And then I lost my good mate, and I actually went off drugs because of it.
At the age of 15 I was going with my, like, another girl, who was called Jane. And me and her was meant to have a child and then like four weeks after she found out, she had a miscarriage and then that’s the day I actually started to stop taking drugs, cleared my head, started to wise up.
And then as I was doing that there, trying to wise up, the courts found out that I had a miscarriage and all and they says they were sorry for me and all. I was like, sweet. And then I was still doing the Youth Justice with them, and when I was doing that there, I got caught again on the motorbike and was sentenced for another year of doing the Youth Justice. And when I was doing the other year of it, they seen the difference in me, from when I’ve lost the child I was meant to have.
I started wising my life up and went to school and learnt my mechanicing. Everything’s around mechanicing, I just got involved with cars, motorbikes, anything to do with engines. And from that there then, I just wanted to be a mechanic. People says, if you had a criminal record, you weren’t going to be a mechanic. So, when I found out I wasn’t going to be able to be a mechanic, I just started wising up. And then done my Youth Justice completely, and when I found out I was done with it, I was actually proud of myself for what I’d done - stopped taking tablets, stopped taking grass, stopped everything, and moved on. I actually haven’t touched drugs since. And my Mummy caught me once with grass and all, and then she didn’t want me or nothing, so that’s why I stopped taking it, because if I got caught again my Mummy was going to beat the head off me. So, there was no point, like fighting with my Mummy over drugs. It’s not even worth it.
R: So, you’ve obviously been through a hell of a lot though at such a young age when you think about it. Everything you said to me there now, losing the child and stuff. And what was that like?
It was hard like. At the start, I was even scared to tell my Mummy coz I’m only like 15, so when I told my Mummy, my Mummy started crying and I was like, why are you crying? And she goes coz you’re one of my youngest sons who is actually going to have a child. And she’s like, you’re still one of my wee babies and she started crying, and then she’s like “Is it definitely positive?”
I was like yeah, and then when we were back from our first scan, I got my Mummy to drive me down with her to go to Jane’s house after she went to the hospital. We were sitting in Jane’s house and then Jane gave me the photos of the scan, so I have a photo and Jane has a photo and my Mummy has a photo and so does hers. I was glad of that. I have mine in my wallet and on my phone, and my Mummy has hers in her wee photo album.
R: It’s tough. You know you can talk to me as well any time, if you’re melted or anything. You know you can easily message me on Facebook or we can get you up here and get your head showered.
I don’t even really go out no more like. The furthest I go is probably my house to the shop, and from the shop just squat in the shed and just sit there with everyone. See now, see because of the paramilitaries, they’ve like closed the parks because you can’t drink in them or nothing, you can’t go nowhere or there’s either someone getting involved in fights. You can’t go nowhere and you’re fighting with everyone. I was like, right now there’s no point in me even going out because I know for a fact that if someone was to start on someone, I’d end up getting in the middle of it for nothing.
I got threatened by the paramilitaries for running about with Catholics. But as I say, I’m not a Prod, not a Catholic. I’m just in the middle, I don’t care if it’s a Protestant or a Catholic, I like both people. I said to my mother and all, I don’t want to be a Protestant or a Catholic, I’d actually rather be in the middle of it because my girl now, she’s a Catholic, and the way she gets on with my mother, I actually think she’s really dead on and all, Mummy thinks she’s actually good, she’s not like someone who is going to be sectarian and all to you.
And I was like, “Mummy, do you think she’s dead on and all”, and she’s like, “she’s actually one of the nicest wee girls from a different side who has come over and not been sectarian or nothing”, so I was like alright with that there.
R: So, do they give you a warning, like come into the house for hanging out with Catholics?
Yeah, they came in and put a baseball bat to my head and says if I don’t stop running about with Catholics I’ll either get my arms and legs broke or took away. And I was just sitting there, and I says to him “but why? Protestants or Catholics are both near enough the same, just different religions and I don’t mind them”, and he goes “well it’s not us, it’s just people saying they’ve seen you in different areas that you shouldn’t be in”. And he says “well, if we get another warning or another call came, this is your warning, and if we have to come back, you’ll get took away or your arms and legs broke”. I was like, “that’s all right”.
R: What do you mean, took away?
Like take you away out to the hills or something and shoot you and all. That’s what they do to you now. I wouldn’t even recommend joining up with them. I know people that’s in them and all, and they says if they got offered it again they would say no, coz it’s a far different life. You’re always doing something, and to someone else who you know. Like you could be joining up to the paramilitaries and sent to go and shoot one of your best mates or something, and you don’t want to do that like because you’ve known them all your life and you don’t want to go and shoot your mate over something probably stupid like that there.
A wee lad here got his arms and his legs broke, and then he got threatened by getting shot and they pulled a gun and put it to his head and all. And we were all walking down the street and we seen it. He was one of my old mates and I just never talked to him no more, coz it was him got me involved with drugs and stuff like that there.
R: It must be really scary when they can come into the house and threaten you like that.
Aye, coz you don’t know who is coming into your house, coz they have balaclavas and all on, baseball bats, guns, all over them. My house was covered. They had my back door, my sides, the side of the house, the front door. They had the big jeep and all sitting outside, in where the driveway was. So anyway, if I was trying to run, you weren’t going to get nowhere like coz they blocked you in. It was one of the scariest moments of my life like.
R: I’m it sure was, and scary for everyone else in the house too.
Aye. My Mummy and all started crying, stuff like that there.
R: Who all was in the house?
There was four of us altogether sitting in the house. And then they turn up to the door. I just got shaky and all, then my Ma goes “are you sweet” and I was like aye, and after that there, I just decided to sit in all the time. I never went out no more because if I had gone out I would do something wrong and then they would come back to the door. So, for about a month straight I actually just sat in the house and just helped my mummy clean up and do everything, made my wee brothers and sisters dinner and all, stuff like that there. I just couldn’t be bothered going out to get caught doing something stupid with them, so I couldn’t. If I’d go out I’d end up doing something really stupid with people probably that’s in the paramilitaries, and then they’ll end up reporting it back and they’ll come back to my house or something, and then kick my mother out into the street. And telling her that she has to move away in 24 hours. Aye. They say to you that you have 24 hours to leave the country. It was one of the scariest moments like.
I put my head down in school, got my carpentry and joinery and mechanicing GCSEs, so I’ve got two GCSEs now. I failed my Maths and English, got a U in Maths and an F in English, so this year I’m re-sitting them to get them done, That’s the only two classes I’m doing now.
R: Is there anything else that you want to put in your story?
Probably about only finding out about my Mother having cancer now. She’s only had it for not that long now. It’s affected me a lot like. When she told me, I broke down. That’s the first time I ever actually broke down in front of my Mummy. She just told me that everything is going to be all right and all. I was like I’m always here and I says I’ll even take the kids and all out with me. And she’s like, no it’s okay, and then my Mummy did like tell me that she can’t survive it now. And that’s when I hit the roof. And then when school and all was ringing my Mummy I was always answering the phone and telling them not to ring back and all, trying to block their number. They keep ringing my Ma’s number. The school asked why was I not in, and I go coz my Mummy’s not well and then my Mummy rung the school and told her that she had cancer, and my Head of Year came round to my class and pulled me out and goes “well I’m sorry to hear that your Mother has cancer and all”, and I was like, “it’s none of your business, I just don’t want to be here, it’s nothing to do with yous”. And they’re like, “we can help, we can help”, and I was like, “I don’t care, I want to be home with my Mummy, helping her”. And they’re like, “you can’t, by law, you have to be here”, and I was like, “by law I don’t have to. Like I can drop out, coz of the way my birthday falls I can go on to the Tech”, and ever since my Mummy said that like I don’t even want to go out, I just want to stay in and help my Mummy. Just help her about.
R: Well what would your mum want you to do?
My Mummy says to me like, just go to school, get my GCSEs. I want to pass my Maths and English and help her, go to work, get a good education, live a good life, and I was like, “yeah. I’ll actually do that”, and I promised my Mother and all I’d stay in school, I’ll not do nothing, I’ll not fight with no teachers, not fight in school for nothing. And then she’s going, “like if anyone ever says anything, just you beat them, I don’t care what they say”. I was like, “obviously I will”.
My wee brother and sister listen to my Mummy and all, and then when I come home, they’re always in bed, sleeping. Because when I come in, they go to bed straight away coz my Mummy can’t shout now because of the cancer. When I come in, I have a louder voice than my Mummy, so I would even shout to my wee brother Alan, “Alan are they in bed?” And then Alan would tell me if they are or not, and then if they’re not in bed I end up going upstairs and turning everything off on them, taking their phones, taking their tablets, get them in bed. And then I get up early in the morning, get everyone up, let my Mummy lie on in bed, and then sometimes I would actually even take my wee brother and sister on down to school, as I’m in my school uniform. We get the bus down to where their school is, and from where their school is, I would get the bus up to school, and then if I’m ever late I just say I was dropping my wee brother and sister down.
R: It sounds like your Mum’s lucky to have you there, it sounds like you’re a great help.
Aye. Even my Mummy says, the first time she ever seen a big change, difference as well, is whenever I lost the child, and then the second time was when she told me she had cancer and that’s when I would have started saying, right, I need to wise up. No point hanging about with people who are probably going to learn me how to do drugs again. I know how to take them anyway, but I wouldn’t touch them. I’ve stayed away from them for the last four months and two days today, and ever since I don’t want to touch them, don’t want to be near them, don’t even want to be near a fag or nothing.