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How Can I Help My Veteran Father Stop Drinking?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Sep 24, 2018

Question

Salam. To summarize, my father is addicted to drinking and smoking. He drinks all types of alcohol, usually vodka. He used to drink in front of me and my siblings, but he now just does it in his room.

His alcohol and smoking problem started at the age of 16 when he was in the army. I’ve heard stories of what he has done and seen growing up fighting in wars. I can tell you his life was not made for the faint hearted. I know he has done and seen horrific acts during this time that still haunt him today at the age of 56. He has nightmares of those days (I can usually hear his screams in the middle of the night), so I can understand why he drinks. I think it’s to ease the pain of his younger years, but I know this is no excuse.

I love him and I want him to stop the alcohol. It’s a major sin and shameful. He’s slowly losing his faith. None of my other family members drink, so he’s alone with it. I do tell him to give up the drinking because it’s sinful, but he just tells me to mind my own business because it’s not affecting me. Many other people tell him as well, but he just feels like we’re ganging up on him and that we should focus on other bigger problems.

The problem is I’ve noticed my dad has lost his faith. He’s never really prayed in his life and these days he believes stupid things and argues about how the grave punishment isn’t real and that our body is ours and not God’s, so he can do whatever he wants with it.

I just really need advice on how to turn him back towards the path of Islam and how to explain to him effectively that alcohol is bad for him without him getting offended!

Counselor

Answer


How Can I Help My Veteran Father Stop Drinking?

In this counseling answer:

• Your father may be suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, for which he needs professional help from a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

• It is possible for you to explain to your father about the importance of quitting his addiction to alcohol with the help of science.

• Perhaps if he spends time with good people, and they do not necessarily only have to preach and talk about Islam, he might be inclined towards pursuing their interests and becoming and behaving more like them.


Assalamu Alaikum dear sister,

Thank you so much for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your current situation. I am sincerely very happy to see that you are a strong believer and a strong Muslimah who desires to get her father back on track and ease his worldly life and afterlife. I pray that Allah facilitates what you intend on doing.

You mentioned in your question that your father seems to be suffering from nightmares because of the hard past that he has gone through. Your father may be suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, for which he needs professional help from a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

You and your family need to convince him that they are concerned about him and worried about his mental and physical health. You need to request a gift from him, a gift that he will listen to you and your family and agree to visit a professional.

It may be that your father may refuse as there is a lot of stigmas related to visiting a mental health professional. You need to let him know that you understand that his past was hard and that a professional can work with him and help him remove the nightmares so that he may feel peaceful and not distraught from the memories of the past.

Let him know that even veterans who fought during world war II suffered from such conditions, but their mental health was disregarded, and they ended up miserable.

Dear sister, do some research, find a professional who has good reviews and meets up with this person before letting your father meet him/her. Let the professional know about all the issues concerning your father.

Dear sister, you understand that alcohol is not allowed in Islam, and Allah has prohibited it in Islam because you know who Allah is, you believe in Allah and love Him. However, your father has a weak faith. When we love someone, it is easier for us to do a certain act to please the ones we love. Therefore, because you love Allah, and want Allah’s pleasure, it is easy for you to give up what Allah has ordained us to give up, and easy for you to do what Allah has ordained us to do.

Therefore, for your father to be able to do what Allah has told us to do, and not do what we are forbidden to do, your father needs to know Allah, and then he needs to love Allah and believe in Him.

In other words, you need to preach Islam to your father although he is a born Muslim. He is going astray. The main reason behind this may be the trauma he has seen in the past and the pain. Many times, pain brings people back to a source of goodness, a source of Omnipotence, however, in certain circumstances, it drives people away and makes them question the source of trouble.

Dear sister, you must also remember that you are his child. Sometimes, parents do not take their children seriously when we try to prevent them from doing something wrong, or when we want them to do something right. It usually backfires when children, especially given how you are only 16, try to guide and advice parents.

Therefore, I advise that you do not try to preach to him directly, as it is possible that your relationship with your father may falter and he may become verbally abusive and start disliking you.

The truth about alcohol is that it acts as a depressant to the nervous system and that it can cause shrinking of the brain and even senility. Alcohol can affect the digestive system, cause high blood pressure, even in small amounts increase the risk of brain hemorrhage and strokes, AND it can affect sleep patterns. However, many people fail to see the negative effects of alcohol and are simply blinded by its short-term gains.


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It is possible for you to explain to your father about the importance of quitting his addiction to alcohol with the help of science. In fact, there are many documentaries that shed light on the negativity of alcohol. Here is an article published on AboutIslam explaining some of the disadvantages of being addicted to alcohol.

Therefore, I suggest that because your father has taken a disliking to Islam, you try to explain to him the implications of too much alcohol using science and medicine. This may convince him. It may also help him stop his bad habit.

You cannot make your father change his outlook on Islam overnight, dear sister. It will be an uphill battle, and you will need to take one step at a time.

First and foremost, do not try to force Islam onto him. Make du’aa’, and pray to Allah during the time of Tahajjud (30 min before Fajr Prayer) that your father may leave all his bad habits, and sincerely start loving Allah.

 “And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.” (Quran 6:59)

Your dad’s heart is controlled by Allah. Allah knows everything and is the controller of everything. However, we can only hope to do and try, but the result is in the hands of Allah. Make your father love Islam.

As a family, pray together, and most importantly recite the Quran aloud with its meaning. As a family, read the Life of Prophet together so that your father can hear. As a family, supplicate to Allah together, each of you taking turns. At first, it may become annoying for your father and he may try to insult and annoy you, but remember, even water consistently being poured over a rock will make a hole. Therefore, your father’s heart will one day see light.

Take your father out to places and give charity. Make him see the pain in other people’s lives so that he can see that he is blessed and that Allah has given him ease. This can make him feel humbled and trigger kindness. A kind and a humble heart cry for Allah’s mercy, whereas a hard and a proud heart denies Allah’s presence.

Understand his interests in life. Are there any activities that he likes doing? If so, make him do those activities with good believers. Your company has a profound effect on you. Perhaps if he spends time with good people, and they do not necessarily only have to preach and talk about Islam, he might be inclined towards pursuing their interests and becoming and behaving more like them.

Focus on the fact that Allah loves us. Do not only talk about punishments.

Dear sister, Allah loves us more than our mothers can love us. He can even forgive all our sins on the Day of Judgement and place us in Heaven. It is Allah’s mercy.

Teach your father that Allah loves him, and he has been saved from a harder time in life and has seen hardships because Allah made him stronger than He has made others.

Dear sister, these are some of the suggestions I can make. Again, I highly suggest that you do not overuse the word Islam, Allah, and death around him. This will not do what you think it will do, but it will make him hate Islam in general. Slowly and steadily, you need to understand his psychology and his thoughts and introduce it bit by bit.

I sincerely pray that Allah brings your dad on the right path again.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

This is Why Islam Prohibits Drinking Alcohol

Genetics of Alcoholism

New Year Without Alcoholism




About Madiha Sadaf

Madiha Sadaf in an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, enrolled in BSc. with Major in Biology and Psychology with Minor in Health Social Sciences.

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