Running past addiction, Las Vegas woman heads to New York City Marathon

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 8:34 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Next Sunday, a Las Vegas woman will be running the New York City Marathon, she shares how running saved her life after battling years alcoholism.

Laura Lara is running toward big goals. Lara shares how fitness became an outlet for her to regain control of her life.

For years, Lara said she was a high-functioning alcoholic.

“Every night I needed that glass of wine, every night I needed to cope with the wine, family gatherings I was the one that had to have alcohol, date night I needed alcohol,” Lara said.

She said alcohol led her down a path of depression. In February 2020 Lara said she hit her lowest point.

“I ended up losing custody of my children I ended up losing my marriage and so in 2020 right before the pandemic broke out all of these things happened at the same and I found myself with my belongings in the car and so that was my rock bottom,” Lara said.

Lara got the help she needed for her mental health.

“I started therapy and I still have my therapist and I don’t think I’ll ever let her go. I also went to a local church group called Celebrate Recovery which is the same concept as AA-it’s a 12 step program but it’s through biblical principals and I was able to graduate that program and I still attend those meetings,” Lara said.

Lara had been a runner prior to her ‘rock bottom’ moment in 2020, but the exercise became a sacred place for her to focus.

“Once you realize how capable you are of running it becomes such a beautiful escape. To me it’s my alone time,” Lara said.

And as a Latina, Lara said there is a stigma about seeking mental health.

“There is definitely a negative stigma in our culture that having therapy means you’re crazy and I feel like I had to love myself more than caring what other people thought of me. At the end of the day we have to put ourselves first, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks it’s 2022- therapy is a flex!,” Lara said.

Over the past two years Lara regained custody of her three children and enrolled in school.

“I didn’t have money to pay a lawyer - that’s what woke up the desire to be an attorney because I represented myself during the CPS case and the divorce case,” Lara said.

Right now Lara works for Hope for Prisoners, an organization that gives former incarcerated people a second chance.

She hopes her story can encourage others.

“It doesn’t matter what capacity or how much work it takes go out there and do that thing that scares you because you can do it,” Lara said.

She will be leaving for New York on Wednesday, the marathon is on Sunday.

“In the bigger spectrum I want to be able to share the fact that I was at my rock bottom and I didn’t want to live and now I’m about to do something that is huge right and I just want to inspire someone to go out there and not give-up,” Lara said.

Lara will be running for the charity Keep a Child Alive.