A former drug addict turned university student has shared her incredible transformation to show others they can turn their life around.
Virginia "Ginny" Burton from the US thought she would die on a park bench with a needle in her arm or by a gunshot to the head.
The now 48-year-old first tried marijuana at age 6.
By the age of 26 she was a heroin addict, she told KOMO-TV.
She spent three stints in prison and was homeless over the last couple of decades but has since turned her life around.
Now, later this week she will graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in political science.
She took to social media to show the dramatic turnaround from her lowest point to where she is at now.
"How about that for motivation?" she wrote, alongside a before and after image.
The first image Ginny was seen with droopy eyes and marks on her face in 2005. The second, is the 48-year-old in her graduation cap and gown.
Now she hopes her story will be an inspiration for others to turn their lives around.
"I would've never in a million years thought my life would look the way it does today," said.
Ginny says her story helps show others "there is hope" and that you don't have to die in addiction.
She admitted her journey was not graceful, but it was worth it.
"No one is disposable. You don't have to die in addiction. You can stop using, lose the desire, and find a new way to live. There are so many of us out here willing to help," she wrote.
"I do not have family that swooped me up, I do not come from money. I grew up in poverty and my parents both died from health problems associated with lifestyle choices..
"Most of the siblings I am in contact with are fighting for their own survival, in their own way. It was a sink or swim situation for me after a number of incarcerations when it came to changing my life.
"Stop selling yourself short. You don't know what tomorrow might bring so you might consider starting today."
She told those who were struggling, or those who knew someone who was, that so much can change in five years.
"There are many of us out here that want to provide a hand up."
Ginny's message has been met with thousands of words of praise online.
"Slipping in can happen so easily ... Crawling out is no easy task. Knowing it is possible gives people hope. If this post gives ONE person motivation to try, it was worth it!" one wrote.
Another added: "So inspiring for anyone who doesn't think they can overcome mammoth problems to get to the top."