A new page, The better me!

Today is a mini milestone for me, an achievement that gets greater each day. Today marks two weeks drug free!

To most people that doesn’t mean a great deal but for me, however, that is phenomenal. You see my birthday passed last year and as I turned 23 I realised that I had been a long term Marijuana smoker…now when I say long term I mean half my very short lifetime. You see I first started smoking pot when I was roughly 13, when I first went away to boarding school in 2004, a mere 3500kms from my small town home of Katherine. I had suffered major separation anxiety after the horrors of the Australia Day 1998 Katherine flood; at which time I was 7 years old. I had then continued to self medicate my anxiety with pot, using it to help me sleep through the night and to keep my worries at bay, I gave up briefly in 2006 after being expelled from my school in Toowoomba for, Yep you guessed it, Taking my pot to school with me instead of getting it locally. I was clean for about 2 weeks and then slipped into a heavy depression at my new school; which i hated because it was not where my friends were and it was not my families ‘legacy school’ (a term the other boarding girls used to describe having generation after generation of their families attend the same school), finding myself completely overridden with guilt and a vile self hate for what i had done and the ripples it sent through my parents and my now lost friends, i found solace me ‘self mutilating’. Although I was not majorly hurting myself I was still regularly cutting my arms and upper thighs to deal with all the outside worries. You see in my mind it was the sting of the blade through my skin that made me believe that with every drop of warm blood that dripped down my arm I was letting another stress into the universe and off my back not realising the blame I caused my loved ones to feel, particularly my mother and father. After seeing a psychologists in Brisbane and countless school counsellors I gave up dealing with the world again and began smoking pot to soothe my inside hurts.

At this point I would like to remind you all that in no way did I have a bad upbringing or family life. I was brought up in a nice home with a wonderful family and have every opportunity in the world given to me on a silver platter. Instilled deep in my soul were good morals and the knowledge of the world around me, I was well educated and knew wrong from right. However I think in a way this is where a great deal of my self hate came from; I had everything so why did I still not feel good enough? Why couldn’t I be the person everyone wanted me to be and told me I should be?

So after again picking up the bong i found myself expelled from my second private school in 12 months. I had gotten what i wanted in the years leading up to that moment..to be home again in my own town with my own childhood friends and my beautiful parents…6 months down the track i was smoking heavily on a daily basis, partying with friends and being a right-royal shit of a kid. I began dating a drug dealer – who had kids and a long term girlfriend and became ‘the other woman’ for 3 years. after deciding we just could not live together and i was only causing destruction to our small family unit, consisting of myself my mother, my father in the family home and my brother and his fiancé and two wonderful kids living 5 doors down the street, my father paid the bond on a small unit and i moved in by myself. I was about 17 at this pint and upon turning 18 i got a job at the local pub, i had found some independence and would go to work- come home smoke- sleep and get up to do it all over again. It was at this point i met the most amazing man who took me on a legitimate ‘first date’ and spent hours on the phone for 3 weeks after he returned to the mines. This man was my love and my all Terence James Thomas Grieve, who is today my partner of 6 years and fiancé of 3 years. Upon returning to town we had fallen madly in love and after accompanying his mother to the airport to pick him up i got my first kiss and i then moved into his family home. I was so entranced with this great man and all he had to show me and teach me about life that i forgot completely about my long term addiction to marijuana, he helped me love myself for who i was and his family being heavily spiritual i found a way to deal with my anxiety through positive manifestation and prayer. After 4 months of living together in a no-sex relationship we took a weekend away in Darwin to consummate our love for each other, the following week we got our first rental home together and made a sanctuary. I had been clean for 4 months by this stage and was finally getting back my bearings to deal with the world. He returned to work the next week (as he was a miner he would be away for 2 weeks and home for 1 week) only to injure his back on-site. Upon returning it became a daily struggle to help my 6’7″ tall and 150kg partner to get in and out of bed and the shower, helping him up and down the stairs to the house and daily doctors and physio appointments. After being heavily medicated for his severe pain caused by the injury to his L4 L5 and L6, one Thursday came around and in his medicated state he thought it was Sunday and pulled the roast out to thaw not once but twice forgetting what day it was. At this point we threw away the multiple pain medications and bought a bong and some pot and sat down to have a small ‘session’ together…We didn’t turn back.

The last 4 1/2 years of our relationship have been an up and down battle of trying to make our love and relationship survive, we would spend every dollar we had on pot and found ourselves behind in rent, heavily in debt and very unhappy with our lives. 2 weeks ago when i took an opportunity given to me by my family to return to Queensland for the first wedding of my generation and the 16th birthday celebrations of my oldest niece i found myself taken back in time, on a plane all by myself and traveling through the same towns and places i a had first began smoking pot in. However, this time it was different, i awoke the morning of flying out and neither of us reached for the bong, i spent the weekend away with my family doing some major soul searching and Tez spent the weekend working and getting into routine. As the last night of my holiday rolled around, both Tez and I reached break down point and ecided that if we didn’t get off the drugs that our relationship would be over, this was the last straw for my soul. I came home and we threw out our bongs and sprinkled the remaining pot into the dirt of a Hibiscus we have planted in our new garden. A few days into my sobriety came my biggest test, losing yet another loved one to retched Cancer – My gorgeous Aunty Robyn Forscutt. This was my reminder that life is short and i will make the most of it!

I have spent my whole life running from my own self and ruining every relationship and opportunity i had come across. But i am sick of denying myself happiness and i was definitely not going to give up the love of my life for drugs. So today marks two weeks and we have now been able to pay off our debts and gain back our lost hope and self worth, i wake up every morning excited about my new job in fashion retail for a Sydney couturess in a beautiful boutique shop at Casuarina and Tez is going back to mining in the coming weeks after years of myself not working and him being in security/bouncer jobs. We have anew lease on life and have fallen back in love with each other all over again.

So today marks two weeks and every day is a battle but its a battle worth fighting, i will be looking back in 12 months time and i will be able to say for the first time that i am proud of myself and happy with my choices. I would not change the choices i have made because although i have screwed up a fair bit i have learned some valuable lessons and i know that my yesterdays are not a precursor to my tomorrows. Only i have the power to change my life and only i can make myself happy.

Thank god my family still loves me and hopefully the coming months give me the opportunity to rebuild a lot of lost trust and hurt feelings. For now however i have a blog to dribble a mish mash of feelings into, a beautiful home to be proud of and loved ones who are more precious than the most beautiful diamond to appreciate.

SO; Congrats to me and here’s to a each day being a new day. As our flower grows stronger and more beautiful so will the world around us and so to will our hearts, minds and souls.


“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring






I have lead in my bones!

My Mothers take on what its like to undergo Chemo for Breat Cancer.

Toni Tapp Coutts

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Not my drug of choice!


Four days later

I didn’t think things would change so quickly.  I was feeling so good when I got home from Darwin.

A few friends came by to say hello.  I felt spaced out but ok – and then — I woke up on Day 3 and felt like I had lead in my bones.  My body was so heavy I could barely move.  My mouth was raw, as if burnt by hot coffee and everything tasted like metal. I slept and slept and slept.  Fourteen hours overnight.  Crawled on to the lounge and slept.  My ribcage ached and I was struggling with getting my bowels sorted…all the things that I had read in the literature, and thought, would not happen to me, started to close in! Panicing a bit – most of the people that I have spoken to going through chemo say…

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Eyes Downward Cast.

With eyes downward cast, memories flash past my eyes like a slide show, thoughts, reminders, odd jobs and trains of thought that have been lost….
The days and nights begin turning crispy and the heat of the sun dries and burns, the rains have long since run away and left nothing but burnt earth behind.
Tezza and I have been doing a lot of travel over the last few weeks after taking on a security contract to help train and teach cultural awareness the security guards left to pick up the pieces after our small town of Katherine was rocked by yet another death linked to licensed premises.
The long bus trips backwards and forwards and the continued 5 day a week normal life that I lead leave very little time for the body to rest, the soul to recoup and the mind to catch up on its thoughts.
The graces of such mentalness and business is that I have finally got my paperwork in order with tax documents and bills sorted neatly into piles and awaiting an end.
My thoughts hum along at what seems like a million miles an hour and yet time stands still, everything seems so repetitive and monotonus…work, home, clean, sort, shower, eat sleep, work, home, clean, sort, shower, eat, sleep, travel, work, travel, work….start again.

My soul craves freedom and my heart craves release.

-Shannon Coutts

And so here I find myself, eyes downward cast at a keyboard….awaiting my every command and ready to translate the flurry of word and thought that spews from my brain like a blocked pipe bursting to release the pressure.

A Blog, I never thought i would write one, I never thought I would know where to start…and yet here I sit, eyes downward cast.

Who am I?

By being yourself, you put something in the world that was not there before.

-Edwin Elliot

I always tell myself to write more, keep track, remember everything and forget nothing.

You see, Im am 22 years young and a woman of the Northern Territory, born and bred in bulldust and bare feet.
My mother and her mother before her are both avid writers, My Mother Toni Tapp Coutts publishing her first book not all that long ago called ‘Bill Tapp – Cattle King’
My Grandmother, one of the most inspiring people in my life, for many years wore nothing but white and carried Artline Fine Tip 2.0 pens around with her so she would never miss a beat.
Some people say you are either born with writing in your blood or not….i believe much differently although i happen to fall under the born with it category.
I always thought i never had a story or that it was better off told by someone else, but in recent years after meeting my Fiance Terry i have been shown that all stories are worth telling and that each story is unique, even when they don’t seem great and wonderful to our own minds we often forget that everyone is 110% different and that bread and butter to one person could be the be all and end all to another.

So here it goes, in all my misspelt and confused glory.
Welcome to my little slice of the world….from the inside looking out.

Shannon Caroline