If you’re reading this, then you either struggle with pornography addiction, or care about someone who does. Please know that you’re not alone, and with the help of Allah, it is possible for you or your loved one(s) to overcome it.
How to quit a pornography addiction
1 – Accept that you have an addiction
Healing always begins with acceptance. Nobody likes labels, but accepting that you have a pornography addiction is the first step of your healing journey. You are not alone, and countless of people around the world have overcome their pornography addiction.
2 – Find a trustworthy support group
I strongly recommend the online resource, Purify Your Gaze. The founder, Brother Zeyad Ramadan has both sincerity and years of expertise in this field. Recovery from addiction is a lifelong journey, and that path doesn’t have to be a lonely one. There is strength in community, and Purify Your Gaze offers both that as well as the safety of anonymity, through clients using online nicknames.
3 – Be gentle and patient with yourself
Recovery is a lifelong journey, so don’t expect instant results! The more pressure you put on yourself, the more likely you might actually fail. Think of recovery as a marathon instead of a sprint. It is normal to feel disappointed when you relapse, so use that as an opportunity to surrender to Allah, repent and start again.
4 – Understand what drives your behavior
What are your triggers? Are you more likely to relapse when you get stressed about exams, feel lonely after attending weddings, or after you argue with difficult friends or family members? Try your best to notice the patterns in your behavior. When you notice the patterns, then you’ll be better able to look after yourself during those stressful moments. There isn’t a foolproof way to completely prevent stress, but it always helps to be aware of what presses your buttons.
5 – Cultivate a rich spiritual life
A closer connection to Allah will help you feel better connected to yourself. Struggling with addiction is often a sign that you find it really hard to stay emotionally present, and don’t have better coping mechanisms. Think of what you can do on a daily basis to help you feel more connected to Allah. Is through regular dua? Regular recitation of Qur’an? Fasting regularly? Everyone has different paths to Allah.
6 – Practice daily self-care
Check into your moods throughout the day until it becomes a habit. Use your five daily prayer times as a way to mindfully slow down and check into yourself. How often are you able to exercise every week? Is your diet healthy and balanced? What kind of books and media are you consuming? Make conscious decisions to choose to consume what is good for you, so that your heart and limbs can also manifest what is good.
7 – Choose your friends wisely
Don’t keep the company of people who indulge in pornography. Instead, spend time with God-fearing people who do good, and invite you to do the same.
8 – Buffer yourself during times of extra stress
When you know that you’re going to go through a rough patch, then do your best to prepare for it. Schedule in rituals into your daily and weekly routine to help you feel more balanced. It could be working out at the gym, going for a walk, or meeting a good friend for coffee.
9 – Forgive yourself when you relapse
Only Prophets are protected from sin. Everyone else is wired to make mistakes. Repentance is how we find our way back to Allah. Instead of beating yourself up and losing yourself in guilt, pick yourself up again, and consider it a learning experience. What can you do better next time?
If you were to commit sin until your sins reach the heaven, then you were to repent, your repentance would be accepted.” -Prophet Mohammed, narrated from Abu Hurairah (Sunan Ibn Majah)
10 – Reflect on how you can give back
One of the biggest gifts of striving to overcome pornography addiction is this – having empathy. And from this empathy comes the ability to support others along their own recovery journeys. This is is a lot better than shaming, blaming and judging fellow Muslims for having pornography addiction
Consider the childhood roots of pornography addiction
Maybe you came across pornography by accident. Maybe you were curious about sex, but looked for information through pornography. Whatever the reason, being involved in a pornography addiction may point to some difficult realities about your family home. In his must-watch video Brother Zeyad Ramadan describes the childhood home of pornography addicts having three unspoken rules.
1 – The Don’t Trust Rule (I don’t trust my parents)
2 – The Don’t Feel Rule (I survive by not feeling, my parents feel threatened by my feelings)
3 – The Don’t Talk Rule (Denial, we don’t speak the truth, we don’t talk about problems)
Grieve for the little wounded child inside you. You were an innocent and trusting child, and you deserved a safer family home. No matter what your parents did to hurt you, you are an adult now, and you are responsible for your own healing journey. Take ownership of your actions, and decide that it’s time to break that cycle. Your own future children will benefit from your courage and commitment to change, inshaAllah.
Benefits of insight
When you become a parent some day, then you will be a strong advocate for your own child’s emotional health. Because of your own lived experience, you’ll also be much more prepared to protect them from the dangers of pornography. There’s no running away from the reality that the tide of pornography is a growing one, so through your own healing journey, you will help your own children navigate their way to safety, in this world and the next.