Faith has helped Deb turn her life around
Deb Noble is central operations officer for South Yorkshire at City Hearts, the Sheffield-headquartered charity which works with victims of trafficking and modern-day slavery.
Deb has an incredible story to tell, having been a homeless drug addict.
She tried cannabis in her late teens and became a regular user when she met her boyfriend.
Together, they developed a heavy habit.
They ended up marrying, but most of their relationship was spent in a haze of drugs.
Deb went on to use cocaine and speed and ended up losing her job as a bathroom designer.
She became homeless, living in a tent in the woods, and suffered a succession of mental breakdowns.
She was desperately unhappy, emaciated and thought her life would never be anything else.
Deb is now aged 41 and completely unrecognisable from the young woman whose life spiralled so out of control.
She had grown up in the church, but had walked away at 18.
At the age of 30, in 2008, she turned to her faith for help.
She says: "I surrendered my life to God. My mum helped me find a place at City Hearts on a rehab programme.
“I was there for seven months from January 2009 and it transformed my life.
“I now work as the South Yorkshire region operations coordinator for City Hearts.
My day-to-day role involves helping facilitate the smooth running of the region.
"This includes overseeing the finances for South Yorkshire, human resources administration, inducting new staff members, our IT, projects and assisting the regional manager.
“Before becoming a Christian, I was a bathroom designer by day and a party animal by night. I lived a double life with a secret drug dependency, which I hid from my family and family friends.
"I grew up in a Christian household after my parents’ marriage broke down when I was three.
My mum started taking me and my older sister to church then.
“However, aged 18 I decided church wasn’t for me and I walked away. I finally gave my life to God in 2008, following 15 years of drug abuse and a seven-year battle with mental breakdowns.
"My Christian faith is foundational to my life. It has not only carried me through the daily challenges of life, it has also freed me from many life-controlling issues including drug addiction, pain through broken relationships and mental health challenges.
"In 2008, my double lives collided, and my drug addiction directly affected my family. Within a few months, I found myself living in a tent in a local woods.
"I’d lost my job, my home and my family were working in crisis mode to try and help me.
“After a few months I was allowed home.
“By this time, I was grey in pallor, underweight, I’d shaved my head – my hair was the only part of me I liked – and was taking drugs 24/7.
"One night I asked God, if he was real, to take this drug addiction away, and that if he did, I would give my heart to him.
“I remember at the time thinking it would truly be a miracle if he could do anything with my heart as it was so broken.
“I couldn’t trust anyone and didn’t know how to be in a healthy relationship.
"But I surrendered my heart and within a week I was clean from drugs and didn’t have a mental breakdown.
It felt like a grey cloud had been lifted off me - I felt free! I then started the process of looking for a rehabilitation programme.
“My faith has been an integral part of my life ever since. So much so, I came to a Christian rehab, graduated seven months later and did two years of bible college."
In the past five years, City Hearts has supported more than 3,000 people through their safehouses, long-term support and integration programmes.
To find out more about their services, visit cityhearts.co.uk