May 30, 2024

With Firsthand Understanding, Dr. Isaac Deas Commits His Life to Helping Others

5.9 min read| Published On: May 30th, 2024|

By Roxanne Brown

With Firsthand Understanding, Dr. Isaac Deas Commits His Life to Helping Others

5.9 min read| Published On: May 30th, 2024|

Style’s Man of the Year 2024

Isaac Deas’s story is one of resilience and redemption, a testament to the power of faith, determination and the human spirit. 

Born into a loving, two-parent family, Isaac was raised with a strong emphasis on education and personal responsibility. His parents, married for 57 years until his father’s passing, instilled in him the values of hard work and integrity. 

Despite that solid foundation, Isaac found himself entangled in a life of addiction. His downfall, however, was the start of something greater than himself. Today, Isaac is a beloved pastor and renowned licensed mental health counselor who helps others with heart and understanding that transcends barriers. 

The Early Years of Success 

Raised in West Haven, Connecticut in a supportive, church-going family who stressed education as a crucial part of life, Isaac was a success by any measure. He earned multiple degrees, including a bachelor’s in education from Columbia University and master’s degrees in public administration, Christian counseling and education. He was also working on his doctorate in education.

Isaac had a respected job in the juvenile justice system making $100,000 a year and was living in a beautiful new home with his wife and family. His probation office was top in the state in terms of production.

“I had it all; everything anyone would want,” Isaac says.

Despite his success, curiosity led him down a dangerous path. His decision to try crack cocaine as an experiment quickly spiraled out of control. What began as a once-a-week indulgence turned into a daily habit. When his drug use started to affect his work, he couldn’t admit he was using, and instead claimed he had an alcohol problem. That led to a 30-day rehab program. He relapsed within two weeks.

Hitting Rock Bottom

Isaac’s descent into addiction began during his 19-year tenure as a probation officer and the first black supervisor in the State of Connecticut’s Probation Department. “I got mixed up with drugs and absolutely lost everything,” he recalls. “My home, my kids—everything to the point of being homeless. At that low, low point, even his parents’ offer of refuge seemed unattainable. 

“The drugs had me so consumed, I could not stay off long enough to even go home. I witnessed a lot of horrible things, and I was sleeping in the snow and rain,” says Isaac, explaining that today, those experiences serve as a teaching tool. “There are very few people I see who can say I do not understand their situation, but even so, I tell people they can use me as an example. I don’t hide my background.


Isaac’s life continued to unravel as he underwent multiple stints in rehab and spent time in jail. He lost his job, his home and his family. He sold his daughter’s belongings to buy drugs and lived on the streets of New York, surrounded by others trapped in the same destructive cycle. His addiction stripped away everything.

In November 1988, Isaac reached out to his mother, who had been waiting for his call. This led him to enter a Christian drug treatment program in Wildwood then known as Youth Challenge (now House of Hope). There, Isaac finally began his journey to recovery.

“When I came to Florida for drug treatment, I weighed 85 pounds,” Isaac says. 

He was also emotionally emaciated.

There, Isaac experienced a profound spiritual awakening. He recalls a moment of clarity and divine intervention that marked the turning point in his recovery. This spiritual experience, coupled with the unwavering support of his praying mother, played a crucial role in his complete recovery. 

Isaac completed the 18-month program and extended his stay to 22 months by continually on as a staff member. 

Rising from the Ashes

With renewed purpose, Isaac rebuilt his life “piece by piece.” He began working for LifeStream Behavorial Center in substance abuse counseling, where he also started a youth program.

Isaac’s dedication eventually led him to Cornerstone Hospice, where he served as a chaplain for 19 years. His experience there deepened his understanding of loss and the importance of family connections, especially for young people. “Children, a lot of times, are closer to their grandparents,” he notes. “When a grandparent transitions, they feel lost because the grandparent has been the main mother or father figure.”

Today, Isaac is a pastor at New Bethel Community Church in Summerfield, a multi-denominational, multicultural congregation. He also runs a thriving counseling practice based in Tavares, seeing clients from 8 to 80 years old.

“What I always tell my clients is, ‘You don’t represent a client to me. You represent a person to me,’” he emphasizes. “I do counseling because I want to, not because I have to.”

Compassionate Counseling

Isaac’s counseling approach is holistic, integrating mental health support with spiritual guidance. He addresses a wide range of issues, from drug addiction and mental health to women’s empowerment, youth and family issues. “With youth counseling, if the parents aren’t involved, then I’m not going to see their child because they may undo what I do. They have to commit to being involved.”

He also acknowledges the significant societal challenges his clients face, particularly the breakdown of family structures. “A lot of younger folks are unhappy with their parents because they feel the parents aren’t truthful with them,” Isaac says. “They see their parents smoking or drinking and then telling them they can’t do the same. There’s a lot of dynamics going on.”

“Another problem is that nowadays, these young people I’m working with, they’re making more money selling drugs than people working 9 to 5 legitimately.”

The well-being of families is one of Isaac’s primary passions. “The breakdown of families in our communities and our society is something I’m pretty passionate about,” he says. “The lack of communication, the negative examples that have been set for our children, the role models they’re picking out for themselves.”

Isaac’s work extends beyond individual counseling to broader community initiatives. He often purchases uniforms for needy student athletes and collaborates with organizations like Joe Ziler’s Mike Endowments, which funds counseling for those who can’t afford sessions. He also works with Rob Spering, who provides clothing and other necessities to disadvantaged individuals. 

Divine Realization

Isaac’s recovery was not just about overcoming addiction; it was a spiritual awakening. 

“God gave me a gift. After I got through my drug treatment program and gave my life back to the Lord, it made me more sensitive about what some young people are going through,” he says.

Newfound faith and sensitivity became the cornerstone of his mission. Isaac committed himself to helping others avoid the pitfalls he had encountered. “I don’t judge people,” he explains. “I try to build them up. I try to find something good in them and say, ‘Let’s work on this,’ and maybe that negative behavior will dissipate.”

He also realizes how important it is to bring God back into the mix, both personally and as a community. 

“I don’t want to sound preachy and all that kind of good stuff, but in my heart of hearts, I truly believe we have to bring God back in the mix of our lives and let him take control,” he says. “What he’ll do for one, he’ll do for another, and I always remind my clients that God loves us.”

“People think, ‘Oh, I’ve disappointed God and he doesn’t love me the way he does others who’ve done better, but it’s not like that. He doesn’t always like our behaviors, but he always loves us.”

Passing the Baton of Hope

For Isaac, success is measured, not in financial terms, but in the lives he touches and transforms. 

“If I can change just one life, I feel like I’ve done my job,” he says. “None of us are perfect but you can really learn from your mistakes and then move on.”

Realizing that people can also learn from his mistakes moved Isaac to author “Don’t Let Go,” which offers inspiration and guidance to those facing similar struggles. Isaac says some of the book’s chapters, per his request, were even written by various people in his life to show how his choices affected their lives, as well. “Don’t Let Go” is available for purchase on Amazon.

Isaac says he is not shy about sharing his story to help someone realize that no matter how far they have fallen, with the right support, determination and faith, it is always possible to rise again. 

“We never know what God’s plan is for our lives and that’s why I say, ‘To God be the Glory.’ Isaiah 55, verses 8 and 9, say: “My ways are not your ways, nor are my thoughts your thoughts. But as high as the heavens and the earth are above you, so are my ways and thoughts above you.” 

Isaac is thankful God was in the picture throughout his life.

“I thought I was lost, but God had a whole different plan.”  

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About the Author: Roxanne Brown

Originally from Nogales, Arizona, Roxanne worked in the customer service industry while writing independently for years. After moving to Florida in 1999, Roxanne eventually switched her career path to focus more on writing and went on to become an award-winning reporter for The Daily Commercial/South Lake Press newspapers for 16 years prior to coming on board with Akers Media as a staff writer in July 2020 – her dream job come true.

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