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Deborah King Talks The Business Of Getting On With Life

Ready for my close up. Deborah, daughter of legendary boxing promoter Don King, breaks her silence on addiction and talks recovery and entrepreneurship.
Deborah King - Lioness Magazine
Deborah King

Everyone knows someone who has struggled with addiction, whether it is a loved one, a friend or an acquaintance. Sometimes they are celebrities and their struggles are on display for the rest of the world. It’s no secret that Hollywood and its celebs have a different lifestyle and that so many have fallen victim to addiction and the rest of the world’s critical judgment, until they go about getting help.

The same is true for this woman, though you may not know her story as well as other television and movie stars, she has overcome what so many women and men struggle with and has started assisting others to do the same.

Deborah King, 54, grew up in the public eye next to her famous father, legendary boxing promoter Don King. Because of this she was under a microscope and felt the pressure to do good and excel in whatever she was doing. She didn’t want to let her father down. King explained, “You want to do all of these things because he walks at such a high level that you don’t want to feel like you’re letting them down. For me when it became the drug addiction it was like [I] let him down.”

At the time, cocaine was the drug of choice and it was everywhere. It was common to see it on the entertainment scene and soon King began to dabble in it here and there. She didn’t think it was a problem. With a celebrity father, it wasn’t hard to get into parties and live the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Besides, King was crafting a blossoming career of her own. She assisted her father as a consultant at Don King Productions. Later she became a sports manager for various boxing champions and went on to become the youngest recipient of the “Manager of the Year” award from the International Boxing Federation.

Switching gears, King became an entertainment manager and founded Deb-b King Management which managed both entertainers and professional athletes. She was an instrumental force in the Ice Breaker Tour, featuring the late Tupac Shakur, The Ghetto Boys Reunion Tour, and Bad Boy Entertainment Tour (featuring Notorious BIG) in Cleveland, Ohio. She didn’t use cocaine daily and she didn’t feel the need to have it, but eventually it grew into something ugly.

As time progressed it became something more and more at the places I went,” King said. “That’s what you tend to find out in addiction, it’s the people, places and things that turn out to be your enemy.”

King started to realize that it was affecting her life, saying, “You start to lose stuff. You start to lose possessions. You start to lose responsibility…your priorities begin to change.” This especially affected her mother Henrietta, who was the reason for her to change her ways. “My mother became ill and instead of her praying and going [to church] for herself she was worried about me and it made me realize, you know, something had to change,” King said. This was the motivation and encouragement to get the help she needed. It was the final push.

Going to rehab really helped King to understand what exactly was wrong. While in rehab King came to the realization with the help of doctors that there was something else. It wasn’t just the lifestyle that had driven her to her addiction. It was depression. “I didn’t realize that I was depressed,” King said. “Inadvertently the drugs saved my life because I got to find out that I had another problem.” Finding out she had another issue helped King to take on her drug addiction at its core and turn her life around.

King with superstar Sheryl Crowe at the UNITE to Face Addiction event in Washington D.C.
King with superstar Sheryl Crowe at the UNITE to Face Addiction event in Washington D.C.

Once getting her feet back on the ground, King decided that she wanted to learn about addiction and mental health and help others that were dealing with the same struggle she had. King said, “I want to learn about this. I want to learn what problems people have and beneath every addiction is some kind of core issue.”

King went back to school to earn her Masters in Mental Health Counseling. She also became a certified Intervention and Recovery Coach. She had a goal in mind. “I went back to get all the education I needed to help somebody beat this disease of addiction.” King had big plans in store to help as many people as she could and so she founded Limitless Life and Holistic Group.

Now King is working as a concierge therapist, bringing the help to people’s homes. But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. King wants to get back to her roots and what had been her main interest before her addiction took over. “My dream is to go back into the life that attracted and consumed me, which was sports and entertainment. I saw so many athletes and entertainers that are dealing with the same problems that I had.”

The ultimate goal she has set for herself is working toward creating her own treatment center, The Henrietta King Treatment Center, in honor of her late mother. Both her mother and father supported and encouraged her through the struggle and helped her to understand that it’s not how you fall down, but how you get back up. King has been drug free for the last 10 years.

Are you or someone in your life dealing with addiction? You can learn more about the Limitless Life and Holistic Group here.

shannonShannon Phillips is an intern at Lioness. She is a senior at Western New England University and is a Creative Writing major. The 20-year-old is also the Assistant Editor of her campus literary magazine and aspires to be a professional writer and author. She enjoys, horror movies, fiction writing and soap-making.