Hello! Who are you?
I'm De’Vannon Hubert and I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am recently single after a 4.5-year relationship. I have two Maine Coon mix cats - The lovely Ms. Felicity Cleopatra & the amazing Mr. Felix D’ Kat
Discovering my sexuality while growing up as a Christian in the South wasn’t easy, but I didn’t get into any real trouble until my own church told me I wasn’t welcome in God’s house, in my twenties. Dejected, I spiraled into drug addiction and crime, and my drug of choice was crystal meth.
Today, my life is a very different story and much has changed. I’m not homeless, I don’t think my life is ending any time soon, and I have an evolving perspective of what it means to live a balanced and spiritual life. I feel called to tell my story and connect with others to help them find a greater understanding of themselves and a path to spirituality as well.
I am exuberant with joy! After having survived and been delivered from a litany of dangers that would have consumed most people, what on Earth do I have to be sad about?
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What is your struggle and when did it start?
I've struggled with depression, anxiety, and drug addiction. For my depression and anxiety, I believe this started growing up in a very chaotic household with a physically and verbally abusive dad.
After high school, I went to the Air Force and thus went on to endure even more verbal and mental abuse. I also grew up in the Pentecostal church and that was mentally abusive as well.
The pinnacle of this type of trauma came crashing down on me when I was fired from volunteering and kicked out of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX for not being straight.
My drug addiction really kicked into overdrive after I was fired from Lakewood. I was around 25-27 years old when this happened and up until this time I had refused every drug anyone had ever offered me. I allowed Lakewood’s decision to cause a rift between me and God and thus I threw all caution to the wind.
Everything I used to say no to I started saying yes to without question. Looking back I can see how I was using drugs to numb the pain of being rejected by Lakewood Church.
These are thoughts and feelings I deal with on a daily basis still to this day. I try to keep a positive outlook but I also keep an array of mental health practitioners at my disposal as well.
How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?
I remember waking up on Sunday mornings and feeling a strong void within myself as I was no longer attending church anywhere after I got kicked out of Lakewood.
I had been a regular church attendee all my life up until this point so this was a major change. I was not happy and did not know how to become happy again. The drugs made me feel better than the sadness did and so I leaned into that. This new reckless path I was on led me to contract HIV and Hepatitis B, which caused me to become completely undone.
I found out I was Hep B positive in a letter from the Blood Bank rejecting my donation. I found out I was HIV positive on New Year’s Eve 2011 by listening to a voicemail a doctor left me.
I attempted to replace the community I had lost within the church by fully embracing the criminal underworld. There, I found a new family and became a drug dealer. I felt a great sense of validation by once again being needed by people even though looking back I can see how this was all an illusion.
Being a drug dealer and thinking I would be dead in a matter of months from my infectious diseases caused me to become really sloppy. This led to a S.W.A.T. raid on my apartment which led to me becoming homeless.
Everyone around me thought it was only the drugs that impacted me. No one knew of the internal mental and emotional issues I was experiencing and no one knew about the infectious diseases either. To everyone, I was just another gay who couldn’t handle his dope.
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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?
The last time I was in jail in Harris County, Houston, TX, I was sent to a doctor who explained the infectious diseases to me in a way I was willing to accept.
Once I realized I wasn’t actually going to die I began to understand it was time to start trying to rebuild my life. 90% of this was the doctor believing in me and 10% of this was my willingness to believe.
I was honestly carried by other people and humanitarian organizations during the years it took me to fully come back to life. This is why I wish people would have a lot more patience with people in unfortunate circumstances because it takes quite a lot of resources just to successfully rehabilitate one person.
What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?
Being a military veteran, I was able to enroll in what is known as Compensated Work Therapy Program. This program allowed me to get hired at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical clinic as a janitor making minimum wage. Being a veteran also allowed me to benefit from a special allocation of Section 8 housing, set aside specifically for veterans which allowed me to move out of my parent's house and into my own apartment again.
This settled the issues of homelessness and my lack of income.
In order to get the HIV and Hepatitis B under control, I was placed with a very good Physician Assistant at the VA in the Infectious Disease Clinic. She got me set on a routine for both medication and regular checkups, which eventually led to both viruses getting lowered to the undetectable range.
As for the mental health challenges, well, those are still ongoing and I continue to see a variety of therapists. I have a hypnotherapist and an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker).
With each of them, I work on specific things at a time. So for a while, I might focus on mental clarity and combating negative voices in my head. And then for another while, I might focus on self-control, etc.
Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?
I have shared all my struggles with as many people that will listen. I do this via my podcast, books, blog, and other works.
Once I began to settle and heal, I quickly realized that my life was spared so that I can share everything I had been through in order to help other people. So I have no fear at all.
The only person I could not talk to about my struggles was one of my siblings. They seem to hold everything I went through against me and somehow they have interpreted my homeless, drug addiction, losing everything, getting sick, going to jail, and so on, as in their words “a sense of entitlement” and they feel like they were hurt directly by what I went through.
This particular sibling would not stop insulting and berating me in order to have an adult conversation so therefore there was no conversation. This is an odd stance for someone to take when examining my history but I have seen it come up a handful of times in Amazon reviews of my memoir. There have been one or two reviewers who agree with my sibling that I have a sense of entitlement and want pity for what I went through.
Most people get the benefit of being transparent in order to help others but it seems there will always be those who seem to lack empathy and just don’t get it. Oh well.
If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?
I would say, whatever you do, don’t cut off yourself from your spiritual source. Keep some type of mental health therapy going at all times. Don’t make decisions when newly traumatized and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?
Find Your Fuck Yeah by Alexis Rockley: This book helped me find my voice and my strength again.
Cry Until You Laugh by Kim Sorrelle: This book showed me how someone with far worse struggles than me could keep a positive attitude and still move forward.
Where can we go to learn more about you?
My website, Sex, Drugs & Jesus, houses all my written works (blog, books, free courses, etc.) plus it houses my podcast. The subject matter of the aforementioned revolves around me using my troubled past, through intense transparency, to help other people. Topics covered include spirituality, sex, jail, drug addiction, and any topic that makes people uncomfortable.
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