Participant #6
Deborah La Bello
62 Years Old
Divorced, currently single

Bio of Addiction

Deborah was raised by her mother and father in Rochester, NY for the first 10 years of her life.  She and her family moved to Gates Chili as a young teen. Deborah describes her family as intact but dysfunctional family unit. Deborah began smoking marijuana and drinking at 13 years old. Her drug use increased after being molested at 13 years old. “Everybody in my neighborhood did drugs. I thought it was ok.”
At 16 Deborah became pregnant with her first child and soon married. She had another child at 20. Her husband was a drug and alcohol user. 7 years later they divorced.

Deborah became involved in another drug related abusive relationship and she had her 3rd child at 31.
At  38 years old, Deborah 2nd husband introduced her to smoking crack. Over the years, Deborah had another child and often forfeited time with her children because of her crack cocaine addiction. Deborah attempted drug rehabilitation many times but was unsuccessful. Deborah and her husband separated. Due to the trauma from her husband having another relationship with another woman Deborah sunk into a deep depression. The emotional pain became greater than the high that her drug addiction began to lessen.  Deborah and her husband divorced soon afterward while she was in outpatient addiction recovery.

Turning Point

Deborah was left alone, financially insolvent, and homeless. Deborah sought treatment in out outpatient addiction recovery.

“I was a chronic relapser.”

“How can I work toward not using. How do you not do that? How do you stop? Everyday that I craved, I could not understand why I craved that.”

“I didn’t know what they meant when they said you had to have the willingness. I didn’t understand when they said it was a thinking disease, what do they mean?”

Deborah found shelter at the Alternative Living Residence. Her drug use continued to decline. While she was there a women gave Deborah a purple pair of pants and a purple jacket. “Someday you will speak in front of many people. I want you to have this jacket, so you will have something to wear.”  Three and a half years later to the date Deborah spoke in front of 250 people and she wore the purple jacket.
Deborah used drugs for the last time while staying in the alternative housing in October 9th, 2009. Deborah found a bed in a halfway house ten days later. Deborah was 53 years old as she entered recovery.

“That’s when I knew I was going to beat this.”

Addiction to crack 17.5 years
Recovery Attempts multiple

“I did whatever they told me to do.”

Deborah began attending mandatory 12-Step meetings.

I had to go to 12-Step meetings; I did whatever they told me to do. I’m a 53 year old women living with 12 other women in a halfway house, with counselors younger than me, I learned how to humble myself.”

“But by the grace of God everyday, I walked through what I had to walk through. Exhaustion, exhaustion, tapering myself off of benzodiazepines, because they gave that to me for anxiety.”

While Deborah was in an outpatient program  she was told by a counselor she could control her thoughts. She taught Deborah mindfulness thinking and meditation skills.

“Getting divorce papers and having to leave my son, is when I started to implement the mindfulness steps. Because it was the only thing I could do to save my life.”Deborah always loved God. She began the journey into a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. This is when Deborah made a decision to turn her will over to God.

In 2010 Deborah returned to school. In her first semester she celebrated one year in addiction recovery. In 2011 Deborah celebrated 2 years free from drugs and Deborah graduated with an associates degree in addiction counseling with a 3.9 GPA. “I’m a woman who smoked crack and thought my brain cells were dead.” In 2013, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. Today Deborah is a NYS Certified Addiction Recovery Coach.

“There’s a process in recovery.”

“I learned how to love the person I hated  one day at a time one moment at a time.”

Life in Recovery
Recovery 8 Years

“God gives you peace and a sound mind.”

One of Deborah’s dreams was to implement spirituality into treatment centers. She points out even in 12- Step programs, if you are unaware of a higher power, how will you be able to do Step 2?

“I teach people how to implement Step 2 into ones  everyday living.”

In 2011 while at church, she was exposed, to the works of Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist. Dr. Leaf combines the study of neuroscience and scripture.
“She teaches how to detox the mind. How to take the toxic thoughts captive by the Word of God.”

Deborah emailed Dr. Leaf telling her, her story. Dr. Leaf sent Deborah books and tapes to further her exploration into her work and herself. Deborah began to correlate Dr. Leafs work with her 12-Step program.

In 2014, a gift from her children Deborah travels to California and visits the  Los Angeles Dream Center.
The Dream Center is a spiritually based charitable organization with multiple outreach ministries. They connect broken people to a community of support. One of Deborah’s revelations she received from the Lord is to bring a Dream Center to Rochester NY. Deborah’s realizes that she has all the qualities and education to make this vision a reality.

Deborah was invited to the Dream Center in Phoenix Arizona. “The down pouring of the holy was so intense. Now I know why.” “God told me to go. And when I got there he had a special lady waiting for me. And we are the best of friends. This is all part of my recovery process.”

“In Step 1 it’s telling me if I just take one. It is the first one that becomes unmanageable and powerless. It will lead me to total destruction. I learned what that meant. In Step 2 it says “I came to believe,  CAME is an action word. This is your free will to make a choice a decision to take an action. That’s where you come out of your fear and start to have faith. Because I came to believe. It’s a process.  If you believe …….in God, it’s this supernatural power, supernatural being……that will restore me. God says it in the Bible, he will renew your mind, by taking the thought captive and by the word. Which is the word of Jesus Christ. God did this for Deborah in recovery. “The third step is to get out of my will and get into God’s will.  Deborah’s was operating out of her emotions, mind, and will. She was operating out of FEAR and FEAR comes from the Kingdom of darkness that caused her destruction.  When Deborah made a decision to take action and came to believe in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is when she experienced operating out of the Kingdom of God  which is peace and a sound mind. So anything that came to Deborah’s mind that she felt at dis-ease  is when she made a decision and  took the action to walk in God’s will and not her own. Deborah surrendered and surrendered.

When Deborah was 8 months clean she attended Bethel Christian Fellowship on a Thursday evening. That night she woke up and looked at the clock and it read 333. She knew it was from God but what did it mean? Friday night she attended church again and a Pastor said that he woke up in the middle of the night and the clock read 333.  But he knew what it meant.  Jeremiah 33:3 in the Bible. “Seek me and I will answer thee and show great and mighty things this does not know yet.” “God continues to show Deborah great and mighty things all the time”.
“I live that scripture today.”

“In my addiction, I was  psychologically  and physiologically addicted to a substance that gave me an euphoric high , but it caused me destruction.  Now I am psychologically and physiologically addicted to the Holy Spirit that gives me a euphoric high that  I crave to have more and more . The  Holy Spirit gives me peace and a sound mind. Loving and living with Jesus Christ in my life today.

“Look at a person as a human being and put human back in humanity.”

Deborah receives another word from the Lord while sitting at her computer, synapse and laminin.  Deborah makes a correlation between neural synapses and the laminin and researched and wrote a paper on “Divine Transformational Thinking”.

Deborah receives another word from the Lord to attend  a conference in Dallas Texas, to see Dr. Leaf and give her the paper  she wrote. Financial support for the trip was donated by church family and friends. She is there for 2 hours and meets Dr. Peter a neuroscience researcher for Dr. Caroline Leaf.  Deborah hands delivers her paper to Dr.Peter. While at the conference she caught the attention of Dr. Leaf.  She was sitting right behind her. “Another great and mighty moment.”

In  August of 2016, Deborah is invited to the Los Angeles  Dream Center, to attend a  5 week training in the Women’s Discipleship  Program.

In October 2016 Deborah is invited to be on the Dr.Leaf show “Trauma, Addiction and Breaking Free”, which aired on Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Deborah is currently actively working on establishing a Keystone Discipleship Recovery program. The program will combine a -Step program with  Biblical comparisons along with the teachings of Dr. Caroline Leaf . Deborah works as Recovery Specialist and a NYS Certified Addiction Recovery Coach and remains and active member in her church and community combating addiction and spreading the word of God. Deborah has restored her fractured relationships with her children and family and enjoys an abundant life filled with love, joy, and faith.

Bachelors in Organizational Management
Addiction Speaker
Certified Addiction Recovery Coach
Peer Advocate
Community volunteer
Grassroots Activist
12-Step program
Media interviews
Devote Christian
Active member of Churchs United Combatting Addiction


It’s about making decisions and taking action. When you’re in an indecisive state you will struggle and take no action that will lead you back to insanity.


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