On Finding Your Best Friend

Cara Staff

One of the greatest joys in life is making a best friend; especially when you become friends as close as Cara alumni LaTanya and Deirdre. The two are inseparable and both attribute their success – in recovery, while at Cara, and now in their career – to having each other to lean on. We hope their story will inspire you to call your best friend today.

LaTanya: Deirdre and I became friends the day she arrived at SisterHouse. The beginning of our friendship is actually a pretty funny story. Deirdre was going to stay in either my room or the other available room. The morning she was supposed to come, I was getting the room ready, and I ended up being late for meditation. This got me into big trouble. And then, when Deirdre came, she didn’t end up staying in my room!

But even though I got into trouble, from that point on, I always wanted her to feel welcome. It can be scary coming to a recovery home where you don’t know anyone. We lived with 20 women, and I wanted to be the person who was there to welcome her.

Deirdre: LaTanya was ready to welcome me and show me the ropes. I liked her from the moment I met her and knew she was going to be my friend. During our time at SisterHouse, anything we could do together, we did together. I knew I could be myself with her.


LaTanya and Deirdre, Cara Alumni BFFs


Deirdre: LaTanya taught me about what a BFF is – I didn’t even know that meant best friends forever. We live in a society where it can be hard to find someone to connect with, but our similar circumstances brought us together and kept us together. When I had the opportunity to come to Cara, I came back to SisterHouse every day to share the things I learned with LaTanya. I hated that she wasn’t there with me; we did everything together. 

LaTanya: I didn’t come to Cara until about a year later. But because Deirdre told me what to expect, I didn’t get overwhelmed. She helped me understand that the true meaning of Cara is friend; it doesn’t just exist to help you get a job. With her encouragement, I never gave up. I became the first hire at a volunteer-only Cara partner, made one year on the job, and saw my name on Cara’s Great Wall. I’m now a member of Cara’s staff. None of it would have been possible had I not received Deirdre’s insights and encouragement that motivated me to hang on and succeed.

Deirdre: I wanted to share Cara with LaTanya because everyone at Cara shared themselves with me. This community helped me get to where I am now, and I thank them for guiding me into a career. A few years ago, I never imagined that I would be where I am today.

Celebrate our participants and alumni at this year’s first-ever virtual Cara Summer Social presented by Slalom, Advanced Group, and The Beebe Family on Thursday, August 27, 2020. Join us for an evening of food and beverage demos, music, and special guests hosted by the Cara Associate Board. RSVP and consider making a donation that will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to our friends at Creation Investments. Visit https://carachicago.org/social.