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Cara Learns to Talk

Lidia Harding
Substance Abuse Success Stories
Girl at lake

Growing up in a toxic environment

Cara* grew up with a mother who was a drug user. She remembers needles all over the house that she had to clean up. When Cara began to suffer from PTSD and anxiety from her childhood trauma, she used substances to cope.

In the environment Cara lived in, she thought that turning to substances was normal. She felt she couldn’t talk to anyone about her emotions, so she kept it all inside.

She attempted to take her own life when it became too much for her. When she was recovering in the hospital, a friend noticed the severity of Cara’s mental health struggles. Because Cara and her family couldn’t afford mental health services, Cara was referred to YES.

Beginning to talk

At first, counseling was hard on Cara. She had lied and hidden her emotions for so long that being honest felt unnatural. But the counselor kept showing up, listening, and talking to her, making it easier for Cara.

“I learned it’s ok to have feelings and to talk about them. I’ve been quiet for so long that now it feels good to talk.”

Cara enrolled in YES’ Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to recover from long-time drug use. There, she made incredible friends who were on the same journey of recovery that she was.

Continuing to talk

Today, Cara feels strong in her recovery. While she still struggles, she understands that having emotions is natural and that she can talk to someone about it. She looks forward to therapy and to continuing to talk.

*At YES, we respect everyone who comes to us for support, and many are working on improving their lives. So, while their stories are true, client names and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.


Recovery stories like Cara’s are made possible through the generosity of many YES donors. Supporters provide ALL children, youth, and families in East King County with a chance of recovery.

You, too, can be a lifeline in a young person’s life today by making a gift to provide families with hope for a brighter tomorrow! Whether you donate $5 or $500, every gift will make a difference in the life of a child or youth seeking hope and recovery.

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