Care has spoken candidly ahead of Saturday's final against Leicester of how the secret hurt of missing the Rugby World Cup led to him losing sight of what really mattered to him.
The Harlequins scrum-half was thrown out of the England squad after he was stopped for drink-driving in the early hours of New Year's Day, one of four arrests in the space of four months.
Two of the incidents were for urinating in public after he had been drinking and the most recent followed an allegation of sexual assault, which Care denies.
With the help of Harlequins psychologist Kate Hayes, Care eventually woke up to the fact he was wasting a privileged opportunity.
The 25-year-old gave up alcohol and returned to the England squad for the summer tour of South Africa and he is now desperate to atone for his conduct over the last six months.
"I owe a lot of people a big performance on Saturday," Care said.
"I have learned a lot of hard lessons. To be thrown out of the England squad is the worst thing you could ever have happen to you as a player.
"I think I have learned a lot and grown up a bit. My main focus has shifted back to what I do best, which is playing rugby.
"I am a professional rugby player and very fortunate to be in the position I am in. I think I took that for granted and took my eye off the ball.
"The injury before the World Cup probably hit me harder than I had anticipated. The hurt of not going to that World Cup was hard to take.
"That is when a few things in my personal life took over, rather than me focusing on rugby.
"The stuff off the field was something I needed to change. I probably didn't realise that until the second or third time (I was arrested).
"It took me a while to realise that I am a professional rugby player, I am probably a role model to a few people and I needed to sort my life out.
"I took a long hard look in the mirror and did that.
"I have knuckled down and I am really loving playing again. There was a time when I wasn't really enjoying it - missing the Six Nations was heartbreaking but it was my own doing.
"It has been a tough few months but there is definitely that light at the end of the tunnel - and hopefully winning the Premiership on Saturday is that light.
"It's a massive game for me and the club."
Care has done enough to convince England coach Stuart Lancaster he can be trusted on tour in South Africa and there are no legal issues to prevent him from travelling.
But Care will rejoin the England squad behind Lee Dickson, the incumbent scrum-half, and Leicester's Ben Youngs, with whom he will go toe-to-toe on Saturday.
"It has been a tough year and it is nearly a year since I last played for England, against Wales (in a World Cup warm-up match) when I got injured," Care said.
"First things first is the game on Saturday. It is the biggest club game in my life and to play against Youngsy adds that extra spice."
Care missed the chance of a showdown with Dickson after a shoulder injury ruled him out of Harlequins' semi-final victory over Northampton.
Quins sealed their place in the final with a last-gasp try, scored by Joe Marler who touched down at the bottom of a remarkable 14-man driving maul.
Care has been at Harlequins for six years. He experienced the pain of relegation and the turmoil of Bloodgate.
Harlequins were top of the table from the third week of the regular season and Care knows how much a first Premiership crown would mean to the club.
"This club is dying to win a trophy and to win the Premiership is what we set out to do," he said.
"It would be a dream come true to be crowned the best team in England. We have had a few tough times in recent years. Hopefully we can do something special."
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