In this counseling answer:
“Ma sha’ Allah, you have made the first step in overcoming your difficulties. This will put you in a strong place to move forward successfully. There are several things you can focus on from now to further move your forward in overcoming your problems with addictions including making du’aa’, getting close to Allah, and replacing bad habits with good ones by identifying why you currently engage in your current behavior.”
Wa Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh brother,
Many people face some kind of addiction to some extent or another during their life. However, the severity of the addiction and the extent to which it can impact on each person’s life can vary dramatically. If it is something that is impacting on many realms of one’s life, then it is important to seek help in overcoming this addiction.
Ma sha’ Allah, you have done the right thing in stepping up and admitting you have a problem and are taking the first steps in overcoming this issue. This is a sure sign that you are ready to take responsibility for your actions. It is this determination from the onset that will prove to be beneficial to your success with this.
There are a number of things you can do now to make things easier for yourself and quit the habits that are impacting on your life, in sha Allah.
The best thing to start with is to seek help from Allah. Allah is the Turner of hearts. Ask Him to turn yours and guide you aright, on a path that is pleasing to Him.
“Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart. He turns that to any (direction) He likes. Then Allahs Messenger (SAW) said: 0 Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Thine obedience.” (Sahih Muslim 2655)
Be constant with your du’aa’. Know that He won’t necessarily answer your prayers immediately. You need to be patient and persevere with your du’aa’s. Be confident that Allah will come to you aid and help you through.
‘And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided. As soon as the thought of engaging in a bad habit hits your mind, seek refuge from Shaytaan with Allah’ (Qur’an, 2:186)
Get closer to Allah and strengthen your relationship with Him
Attach yourself to Allah, not things of this Dunya, especially those things that can impact your life negatively both in this life and the next.
Humble yourself before Allah. Repent for your sins and ask Him to guide you on the straight path.
‘And when those come to you who believe in Our verses, say, “Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself – indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.”’ (Qur’an, 6: 54)
It is this closeness to Him that will help you to nurture a hatred towards the things He hates, and a love for the things He loves therefore making it easier to abandon your bad habits.
Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. (Qur’an, 29: 45)
Seek refuge from Shaytaan
Shaytaan loves to see people go astray from the path. He knows that addictive behaviors do just that; destroying people’s lives and distracting them from the remembrance of Allah. By listening to his whispers and engaging in such behaviors you are letting him win.
O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. (Qur’an, 5:90)
The way forward with this is to see refuge with Allah from Shaytaan. It is particularly effective to try and remember Allah in all that you do, right down to before you dress, eat and even go to the toilet. This will help you to always have Allah in mind, seeking His approval and fearing His punishment. This will work as both a distraction and deterrent from turning to the destructive behaviors that you do at present.
Don’t allow yourself to be controlled by your lower desires. You are the one in control, no one else.
Actively making du’aa’ and seeking Allah’s guidance will assist you in overcoming these difficulties. However, you also have to take an active role yourself in ensuring that you do not continue to fall victim to these addictions by taking control of your own actions too.
Be prepared for a struggle
Be aware from the start that it won’t necessarily be an easy journey. It may come with challenges, but this is all part of the test. Being prepared for difficulties will make it easier to face them and overcome them should they arise. However, overcoming them will also be the key to showing you that you are strong and determined enough to make it through successfully.
Surround yourself with good people
Be motivated by those around you. Look to your family for support. Even if you don’t want to discuss your problems with them directly, it can be useful to look at them and realize that you want better for them. This can only be achieved by being strong in overcoming your bad habits.
Furthermore, you could actively seek friendship with those who are not engaged in such behaviors. Take part in activities that are going on at your local masjid, for example. This will guide you to others who are doing things for the sake of Allah also rather than engaging in activities that are displeasing to Allah. It will further give you the opportunity to befriend people who could be a positive influence in your life.
Identify why you do it and replace it with more beneficial things
Is it boredom, lack of meaning or seeking pleasure? Start a hobby. This will enable you to replace bad habits with good habits. Maybe there is a sport that you enjoy, a course you’d like to study, for example. Such things can keep you busy in meaningful activities that leave you with less time for bad habits. They can also provide you with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that can provide the same kind of buzz that perhaps your current bad habits do.
Are you seeking approval from friends? If they are truly good friends, they would not encourage you to do things that are harmful for you. Instead, remember that ultimately it is Allah’s approval that matters the most. If what you are doing is not pleasing to Him, then you will face questions about this. What’s more important? Pleasing Him or pleasing them?
This does not necessarily mean that you have to cut all ties with your friends, unless you feel they are too much of a toxic influence in your life. You can reduce time spent with them to avoid being sucked into such behaviors. You might even be a positive influence in them as they see you turn things around for the better and they might seek to follow in your footsteps and do the same.
Ma sha’ Allah, you have made the first step in overcoming your difficulties. This will put you in a strong place to move forward successfully. There are several things you can focus on from now to further move your forward in overcoming your problems with addictions including making du’aa’, getting close to Allah, and replacing bad habits with good ones by identifying why you currently engage in your current behavior.
May Allah assist you and guide you on the straight path. May He forgive your wrongdoings and reward you for seeking to do better for His sake.
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