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Simple Plan to Start Your Addiction Recovery

Questioner

B

Reply Date

Jul 29, 2017

Question

As-Salamu Aleikom. I am suffering from drug addiction. I usually use hashish. I sometimes drink alcohol, too. I am getting away from Islam. I plan to improve myself, but I feel I can't. I am getting worse grades in college. Sometimes, I am very motivated to change, but it doesn't last for long. The biggest problem is that I am getting away from Islam. Please guide me how to deal with this problem.

Counselor

Answer


Simple Plan to Start Your Addiction Recovery

Answer:

Wa ‘Alaikum As-Salaam brother,

Some people ask for advice just to feel better, and some ask because they are ready to do whatever it takes to change their situation. I hope you are the latter. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said what could mean “A Muslim is not stung from the same hole twice.” (Bukhari) It means a Muslim should be on the alert and benefit by his/her experience to avoid mistakes in the future. S/he is not deceived twice. But what if you have a relapsing brain disorder where you don’t learn from your mistakes and have a compulsion that drives you to do haraam things that you really don’t want to do?

This is the case with addiction related issues. A person with an addiction has a destructive, powerful habit where the brain justifies a love-hate relationship with something that can predictively change their mood. This love-hate relationship weakens the will power and faith of the person, the two things people rely on to get out of a bad situation. This lack of power gives the personal shame and pain. Part of the person wants to quit, the other doesn’t. Many good people struggle with this issue who work in a variety of fields from doctors to lawyers.

The addictive cycle can be summed up as follows:

  1. Person experiences pain.
  2. The person wants to get high to escape the pain.
  3. They get high.
  4. They get pain and trouble from getting high (shame, loss of work, anger, family etc….).
  5. The person wants to get high to escape the pain.
  6. They get high.
  7. They get pain and trouble from getting high.
  8. The person wants to get high to escape the pain.
  9. They get high,…etc.

To make matters worse, the addiction changes the person’s behavior which negatively affects the relationship they have with their family. This causes family problems, loneliness, and more pain.

As you are well aware, using any type drug non-medically displeases Allah (swt), and dying in that state puts you at risk for a bad end. The good news is that you are still alive and have a chance to stick to a life of recovery. Trying hard, having will power, promises and motivation alone are not enough. You must commit to a system of addiction recovery and make it your lifestyle.

This problem will get worse and worse until you make jihad against it. You have to be 100% active in recovery, daily for the next 5 years, if you want to save yourself and your soul.

Here is a simple plan you can use to get started:

– Go to amazon.com and buy Recovery by Choice: Living and Enjoying Life Free of Alcohol and Drugs – A Workbook Paperback – May, 2011 by Martin Nicolaus.

– Go to Jum’ah prayer every Friday.

– Buy a journal and start writing at least 1 minute every day (yes, at least 1 minute) about addiction recovery and date the entries. You want it to be something you can look back on and know where you are headed, and you can only do that over time by tracking your progress and your thoughts. Write about whatever you want as long as it’s objective and positive. You can write about things you have accomplished in the past to remind yourself that you have overcome challenges before; about what helps you stay away from the addiction; what makes it hard to stay away; when do you usually relapse, and what would your death be like if you die as an addict. Write about resources in your city that help addicts, and why you have not taken part in them yet. Write about relapse prevention methods like meditation. Every day, take a little time to write.

– In every prayer dedicate the first sujood to your addiction recovery even if you think it’s not helping.

– Remind yourself that consistency is the way of learning to live a happy and normal life while you keep the addiction at bay. If you are not willing to be consistent in recovery, then you will get no long term results.

– Eat as healthy as you can.

– Exercise at least 2 days a week(walking in a park, bike riding, join a gym or martial art studio is great)

– Stop being around people who are okay with drinking, using drugs and low life activities.

– Pick an early time every night you will go to sleep and wake up.

– Customize this list to something that suits you and writes it down in your journal.

As simple as this advice is, the hardest part is not quitting every time things go wrong or you relapse. You have to follow the plan when you don’t feel like it or even after your relapse. image

You will need to change the way you approach your addiction recovery by changing the feeling of failure into learning experiences to write about, changing loss of hope into seeing Allah’s plan in your struggle, and changing the feeling of being lost in a written action plan. Every day when you wake up, you must do the opposite of what a low life drug addict does. Think about these words as it’s a case of life and death.

As far as Islam goes, try to be the best Muslim you can be while you work on your addiction related issues. Don’t use your illness as an excuse to not follow Allah’s law. Just do as much as you can while acknowledging your wrongs and not making excuses for them.

One of the things that keep people in the addictive cycle is living in denial and making up excuses for why they are addicted instead of saying “I messed up, and I have a serious problem that I will overcome in sha’ Allah by working on it every day”. If such a person does it with the correct intentions, then his/her recovery can be an act of worship.

Salam,

***

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About Tahsin Floyd

Tahsin Floyd has started Muslim Sober Companion.com to help offer addiction counseling, life coaching and sober companionship to Muslims. He is the addiction counselor at Islamic Online University, and a lover of foraging and Islamic wisdom.

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