4 min readPublished On: September 28, 2023

Like a Phoenix Rising: Restoration from Ashes is Nothing but Miraculous

From living on the street to living for the Lord, Isaac Deas’ restoration from ashes is nothing but miraculous. 

Looking into his eyes, you’d never know how far Isaac Deas fell.

A dynamic public speaker, licensed mental health therapist since 2000, and a drug counselor and Hospice chaplain for 19 years, Dr. Deas is senior pastor at New Bethel Community Church in Summerfield.

The game changer was the chapter that came before.

Opening the door

Raised in a supportive, church-going family in West Haven, Connecticut, Isaac was a success by any measure.

He earned multiple degrees—including three masters—and was working on his doctorate in education from Columbia University. He had a respected job in the juvenile justice system making $100K a year and was living in a beautiful new home with his wife and family.

“I was the first African American supervisor of corrections in the State of Connecticut,” says Isaac, whose probation office was top in the state in terms of production.

Isaac had everything a 33-year-old man could ask for, but he never bargained on where curiosity could lead.

“I wanted to try crack just to see what it was like. It started off as experimental,” says Isaac, who was working as a probation supervisor at the time.  

His once-a-week “experiment” turned into twice a week, then daily.

When he started showing up late to work, he certainly couldn’t admit his drug use, so he said he had an alcohol problem.

“They sent me to a 30-day rehab program,” says Isaac, who was back on drugs within two weeks of completing that program. 

The following year, he finally told his family about his addiction. They attempted a crisis intervention, which ended with him in a holding cell at the police department.

“They said if I didn’t agree to go to this second drug treatment program, I’d go to jail,” says Isaac, who’d been fired from his job by that point.

His parents paid for the program, but Issac’s smooth talking got him sprung.

“All drug people are con men. By the time I got done talking to the counselor, he said I didn’t have a problem and I went back home,” says Isaac.

He had yet to hit rock bottom.

Crash and Burn

Over a two-year span, Isaac was in rehab three times and jail once.

“I did what addicts do–lie, cheat, steal. I lost my wife, job, house, everything,” says Isaac, who shamefully admitted to his daughter that he’d sold her bike, camera, and television to buy drugs.

“I’m an educated man, but the drugs superseded that. I got high with doctors, police officers, judges–not just people on the street. I saw women give their children to the crack guy,” admits Isaac.

From 1986 to 1988, he lived on the streets, using and selling drugs.

“People who haven’t been in this lifestyle don’t understand, but drugs can talk to you just like a person,” he says. “When you surround yourself with people who are doing what you’re doing, you can validate what you’re doing.”

In November of 1988, he finally called his mother from a phone booth and said he wanted to come home.

“My mom said she’d been waiting for my call,” remembers Isaac, who agreed to enter a Christian drug treatment program in Wildwood, Florida. (Then known as Youth Challenge, it’s House of Hope today.)

He was 36, homeless, and weighed only 85 pounds. He’d officially hit rock bottom.

“This is when I got clean for good,” says Isaac, who stayed in the program for 22 months.

“We had to pray in the chapel for an hour every morning,” he recalls. “It was an overcast day about to rain and I was in the corner praying. I could hear God saying, ‘Think of all the people you’ve hurt.’ I thought of my mom. A ray of sun came in the window, and I felt the sun on me, but I felt the Son touch me.” 

At breakfast that day, he opened a letter his mother had sent three days earlier. In it she shared a dream that described exactly what had just happened to Isaac.

“God showed my mother what He was going to do. The miracle was that God took away my craving for drugs,” he marvels. 

Isaac, now 71, credits his complete recovery to “a forgiving God and a praying mother.”

There’s no question his life is a story of redemption. 

“The God I serve has the ability to turn lemons into lemonade,” says Isaac, who regularly shares this truth with clients he counsels. “God didn’t set out to have me do drugs. We have freewill and I chose to do it. He took my atrocities and turned them into something positive for His glory, not mine.” 

About the Author: Cynthia McFarland

Cynthia McFarland

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