A mum who spent years addicted to booze, drugs and lived on the streets revealed how she turned her life around.
Cara Walworth, 31, from Michigan, US, has got the picture perfect life – recently wedded, with two daughters and a baby son on the way. But for the stay-at-home mum, life wasn't always white picket fences and school runs.
When she was just 13, Cara turned to booze after suffering from depression as a child along with an accumulation of traumatic events – including being assaulted by an older boy at summer camp.
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After her parents divorced when she was a child, she spent every other weekend at her father's. She claims this was an environment where various substances were available.
As a teen, Cara would wake up and think about booze. It was the only thing she "cared" about – and when she was offered marijuana, she fell in with the wrong crowd.
She exclusively told us: "I was 13 when I first tried alcohol and drugs just followed suit after that. There’s so many reasons and so many different things as to why.
"The big thing is family, my mum’s side of the family are doctors, lawyers, psychologists and all these straightforward good people. And my dad’s side of my family has always struggled with drug addiction, alcoholism and mental health issues and I think I did inherit some of that. I do believe addiction is partly genetic.
"I was really really depressed as a kid, I struggled a lot with my parents divorce and when I was 13 I went to summer camp. So I got home from summer camp and just became a total train wreck.
"I started self-harming, drinking at my dad’s house because alcohol was available and once I tried the drugs and alcohol, this is where I think the genetic part played a role, it was like this overwhelming need to keep doing it and I didn’t know why.
"I was only 13 I didn’t understand what the means but I just know that when I would wake up in the morning the only thing I cared about and wanted was to be high or drunk, nothing else mattered anymore."
Drugs and alcohol became a coping mechanism and were soon a defining part of Cara's lifestyle, as well as an "obsession".
She recalled: "I would take anything I could get my hands on. So finally one day somebody offered me heroin and crack and meth, I was just so lost, depressed, filled with shamed and I just didn’t care so I said ‘yeah’ and got very addicted to that, it had that spiral effect."
The student was hooked on meth by the age of 17 – but after years of turmoil, she eventually got clean and was able to study at university. Cara took up a nursing course and put her degree to use in the healthcare industry.
Cara thought she packed in the alcohol and drugs for good when she had her first daughter at the age of 20. She spent the next couple of years creating a stable home and career for herself until she got hooked on pain meds after her hip injury.
She was then fired from her job, tore apart her relationship with her daughter and family – and ended up living on the streets. That was until 2020 when she hit rock bottom, overdosed five times in a row before she got clean once again. But this time, for good.
Over the last couple of years, Cara's story has gone viral on Instagram and TikTok – where she shared shocking pictures of her appearance when she going through active addiction.
The mum said: "I mean in those pictures, those [the sores] were on my face and on my body too, my legs. Everything was covered in sores open infected sores. A lot of them were from sharing dirty needles.
"Unfortunately, meth can cause psychosis. So, I would be up for days on end in psychosis thinking that I'm covered in bugs so I'm picking my skin and just seeing myself like that was like my God, it's scary.
"The way I degraded myself to try and get more money to continue to pay for my addiction, some of the things I had to do were extremely degrading…
"I (wasn't) viewed as a person anymore. I'm viewed as just some junky homeless girl."
Cara decided that she had enough of addiction and the pain and suffering it caused, she refused to let her daughter have to go through the grief of burying her mum at such a young age.
Over the last three years, Cara has worked hard on remaining clean and sober thanks to her determination to be a mum and partner. She now shares her story on social media in hopes that others will hold on to the hope that they too can beat addiction.
Now three years clean, she gushed: "I'm married, I have a husband, I have a family and really just genuinely happy and content. I'm not waking up how I was just very discontent and uneasy and sad, depressed. I feel it's like life is just how it should be today and I'm content and happy.
"I didn't think it was possible, which is why I kind of just didn't even want to bother trying. I'm so glad I did and I'm so glad that my family is emotional support and my husband now and It definitely was worth fighting for. It was so hard at first.
"It was like, probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But, it was definitely worth it."
You can find Cara on Instagram here.
If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Talk To Frank for free, confidential advice on 0300 1236600, texting 82111 or visiting their website, www.talktofrank.com
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