Category Archives: True stories of Recovery

The Ramadan Buzz

Once upon a time if someone said the word “buzz” I would automatically think they were talking about getting high. That is what it used to mean to me. As a Muslim addict in recovery from substance addiction, that word no longer has the same meaning. “Buzz” to me means totally different things, as I now live in a way that values the natural high, the spiritual cry, the family tie. And that is just the way I like it. And the biggest high of all in this life is that moment when I feel connected to Allah and I literally feel my heart softening and my skin tingling and those moments come most frequent of all during Ramadan.

So let’s take a moment to compare the fake buzz of addiction to the real buzz of turning to Allah.

Buzz 1 – Squad Goals

Fake Mates So you think you have your crew, the ones that will have your back when the isolated-youthproverbial goes down or hits the fan. You think these childhood mates will be your mates forever and they love you, “I bare love you man”. Wrong! Addiction generally takes us to a solitary place. Not only do we end up losing our families and sober friends but we also end up drinking and using drugs on our own in the end. Addiction takes us to a selfish place, where often those people we thought would stand up for us when we needed them, don’t ever come to our aid. And in those times we try to get clean and overcome our addiction, they pull us back. If they really cared, they would not help us to relapse.

Real Deal “A muslim is the brother to another Muslim” so our Prophet taught us,  loving for eachsquad.goals2 other what they love for their own self. A friendship built on love for the sake of Allah is the strongest. In Ramadan, as we remember that the entire global Muslim community is fasting, squad.goalspraying and making a conscious effort to get closer to Allah it becomes easier for us to also step things up. We are not the only ones who returned back to the mosque, we don’t feel like a stranger when there are so many other new faces around. As we stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers (or sisters) we feel as though we belong. Warm smiles, hugs and hands shaking salam bring the soul alive – that’s genuine love. The best squad of all is the family. Ramadan is the perfect time to improve ties and seek forgiveness and make amends with those we love and who deserve our affections the most. 

Buzz 2 – Guilt Free Prayer

The sinners prayer – So we hear often the people tell us that Allah accepts all prayers, no matter how much we have sinned. So why do we feel so guilty in front of Allah. Some of us feel so guilty about all the stuff we have done that we cannot even go to pray to Allah because we feel so ashamed before him. When we do pray, we might think “Why wouldallah.hate.sin Allah want me, why would He answer me, who am I kidding that He will help me this time when I just keep messing up.” Shaitan loves to fill our heads with these thoughts to keep us away from turning back to Allah. Allah does not love sin, but He loves the sinner who repents. We know this, but still we cannot shed this feeling of guilt – often a ‘reason’ to just keep using.

The Ramadan Prayer Ramadan gives us the opportunity for all our previous sins to be forgiven insha’Allah. When we fast all day and make that sacrifice for Allah the feeling of sincertainty that Allah will accept us is almost guaranteed. We no longer feel like we are different to other Muslims. So many of our friends and family, who are not addicts, start talking about seeking forgiveness and having hope in Allah that He will forgive them. We are all seeking the same goal. Suddenly, those guilty feelings don’t feel so strong anymore and where all those tough emotions lurk in dark places within, Allah allows the light of faith to enter. As we touch our foreheads to the ground we feel closer to Allah than we did outside of Ramadan and our hope in Him as our Forgiver just gets higher and higher. 

Buzz 3 – A sense of achievement

Useless Being – Let’s face it, when we are active in our addiction we feel pretty much aimagesnot-totally-useless waste of space, useless, liability to the rest of the world. We feel lack of purpose and when
we do try to do something good it can often go unappreciated, unwanted or just go terribly wrong. Addiction makes us low in self esteem, feel worthless and all this leads to depression and negativity about ourselves. It can be hard to get out of this mindset and this is often what prolongs us in our addiction and prevents us from finding the motivation to pick ourselves up and try again (and again, and again and again). 

A sense of purpose – Ramadan gives us an opportunity to have things to do, people to see. purposeWe begin to busy ourselves with the things that we know will help us to gain that spiritual high. We listen to talks, we go to the mosque, we recite or listen to Quran, we meet family for iftah, we pray. We begin to feel a sense of being back “I’m back!” as our mind clears and we start to feel as though we have found a purpose again – we find Allah again. This adds meaning and depth to the things we do and how we spend our time. As we begin to feel a sense of ‘normality’ again and begin to embrace life and faith we start to feel good about ourselves. A Muslim who realises their purpose in life will have increased self-esteem as they begin to understand that Allah has chosen us for something better. 

Buzz 4 – The physical buzz

Lost in the fog – Being caught up in sin and addiction is a bit like being caught in the fog and just feeling our way around, looking for a way out. We feel lost and confused. Wefog cannot see or think clearly. The arabic word for “Khamr” means something that “befogs” hence why we often feel that way. The phsyical buzz that we seek  out in addiction, is short lived. We are forever chasing the first buzz, the high of the early days when we first started getting smashed. We spend years, some decades, trying to chase that initial high – deceived by the thought that it is possible, yet knowing deep down that it is not. The fake high of our addiction brings only misery with it, what goes up must come down. And we hit the deck hard and manage to smash up all loved ones and everything we own on the way down. The body begins to die, the heart begins to die, the mind begins to die – we die. 

I can see! Ramadan helps brings clear skies. The actions we perform in this Holy Month, Rose-Colouredour efforts to come closer to Allah, help us to start living again. Our bodies begin to detoxify, throwing out all those nasty chemicals that were killing us. We spiritually feed and nurture ourselves so that our hearts are purified and our mental well-being begins to heal. There is no bigger buzz than starting to notice the birds singing again, the colours of nature, the sound of our own laughter. It is like coming back to life with new passion. 

Buzz 5 – Hopefullness

The ‘No hopers’ Addiction takes us to a place of such depression and sadness that we begin to lose hope day by day. Every time we have tried to sort things out, we have fallen.hopeless Each time we fall, the bump on the way down is more and more painful. Hope begins to vanish. We feel doomed in this life and doomed in the Hereafter. We begin to start giving up on everything and everyone, even Allah. 

This is it! Ramadan brings hope back into our lives at a time we thought we had nothing else to live for or even die for! Our spirits are lifted, our faith is increased, our family encourage us. This is our moment! Ramadan teaches us that anything is possible when we have Allah. We begin to think that Paradise is possible for us. We begin to think – maybe I am not so worthless after all and we KNOW yes KNOW that Allah does love us after all. 

The Prophet saws said: “…there are two moments of joy for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord…” [Bukhari]

So let us embrace this Ramadan and if we put in the effort and try our best we will definitely feel the buzz! There are a few moments where we can say we can get a spiritual high, and Ramadan is one of the best of them. So seize the moment and do your best!

Reverting to Islam filled the gaping hole – Becky’s story

imagesIt was the morning after the night before. I could still feel it running through my veins. A mixture of regret and anticipation tangled together in the very pit of my stomach. Every time I pulled on a cigarette I could feel the warm feeling come back. It made the temptation even stronger to do it all over again.

Last night was the first night I took heroin. And it was all the cliché’s said it would be; warm fuzzy feeling, cotton wool, all my worries just disappeared. This day I visualised in myrsz_man-hides-in-gutter-women-skirts-japan-02-415x260 minds’ eye as though I was standing before two windows into the future. Behind each pane of glass I could see myself. The first window was clean and I could see a warm glow in which I was happy, healthy, laughing. I was among people who loved me and I loved them back. It was a happy scene. The second pane of glass was more difficult to see through, but as I wiped back the grime with my sleeve, I saw a pitiful creature lying down on a dirty concrete floor, thin and emaciated, discarded needles around her. It was then that I stepped back in shock, as I realised – that could be me.

As I stood at the fork of the two paths I knew deep down that if I took heroin again that path would lead to a life of desperate misery and pain. I foresaw the high chances of becoming homeless, destitute and turning to illicit methods to fund an addiction, maybe nothing-changes-if-nothing-changeseven becoming a prostitute. The time had come. The time had come for me to change. Now or never.

How did I get here? I asked myself how a young girl who was once so anti drugs could end up taking heroin. How many twists and turns in my life had I taken to come so far away from the girl I used to be? Was I just in the wrong place at the wrong time, in the wrong frame of mind? Was it so easy? Of course I spent so many years of my life blaming my upbringing. When I first got into drugs as a teenager, with that first spliff of cannabis, or the first cheap beer I convinced myself it was because no one loved me so I may as well destroy myself too.

My parents never showed me love or support. I never really knew my father because he leftbroken heart when I was a toddler. I always felt worthless, like what was the point in even trying to make a go of my life when no one ever told me they were proud of me. No one ever said “I love you”. So how could I love myself?

So my drugs journey worked it’s way up the classification scale from C to B to A. And with each rung of the ladder I convinced myself it wasn’t that bad. Everyone is sniffing coke right? From celebs to salesmen to high class brokers and bankers. That day I smoked heroin I was also offered crack. Though tempted to give it a go, the scared part of me held me back. I thank Allah for that because they say once you taste crack, it’s hard to turn back. The pull of heroin was strong enough but crack is something else. I have seen so many addicted from that first pipe and who are never able to just stop there and then.

bannernevergainBlackSo my stupidity woke me up to where I was going. I started questioning myself and I knew I was worth so much more. This life was worth so much more. I decided that day, the morning after the night before, that this would be the last day I would ever take drugs. And it was. I didn’t even drink alcohol ever again as I also considered this to be a drug, for many years I had battled it. Alhamdulillah – thank you Allah for helping me see where I was headed.

So I took myself into seclusion, switched off my phone, locked off from everyone. I closed every door possible to my old life, wherever I could. This lone time, it took me to a place of reflection. Being away from the people it brought me back to myself and then ultimatelyremembrance-of-allah Allah. I praise Allah because I was not even looking for Him at first- though He wanted me to find Him. My willingness to change myself and my life around inevitably brought me back to my Creator. As one begins to listen to the soul yearning, one has to ask it “what are you yearning for?”. As a Muslim, I now know that the soul only yearns for one thing and one thing only – to have a relationship with God, whereby we only want to make Him happy with us.

So I started talking to him. Quietly at first, just a whisper, just a few words. Before I knew it, the tears were flowing and my heart was melting. Then I could do nothing but beg of Him for His Help and Guidance. I wanted signs, I wanted miracles and I begged for them.

Then one day I ventured out of my flat to town. Head down, not looking around so much, “in and out” I promised myself as I wanted to just pick up a few things and get back to my solitude. But then someone started talking to me. I tried to ignore it at first as I walked past, but then deep within myself I felt this urge to look up and see. As I lifted my head I saw a table with lots of leaflets and things on it. I dared to lift my head slightly higher as a dtablesmiling bearded man asked me “Hello sister, would you like to learn something new today about Islam?”

“No not really” I thought in my head, and honestly it was just out of politeness that my feet stopped walking and I shrugged my shoulders in reluctant compliance. Those reluctant feet did not move for another two hours. Day light began to fade, and along with it dimmed my sense of fragility and sadness. The bearded man told me he was going to pack up now as it was time for sunset prayers but he invited me to meet his wife the next day and I agreed. The story of my shahada (acceptance of Islam) is another story altogether but all you need to know is that becoming Muslim gave me life.
Without Islam I never loved myself, I was a lost soul wandering this earth looking for something or some one to fill the ever increasing hole within my soul. Islam made me a complete person, it gave me purpose, it gave me a reason to live – to wake up each day! It gave me structure. It gave me a routine that secured my recovery from substances. Islam gave me my soul back. Allah does not need all my prayers, my fasts, my charity, my deeds – I do! The minute I let go of any of this, I start feeling weak, I start getting cravings for something I shouldn’t. Islam keeps me clean and most of all happy and complete. Thank you Allah for guiding me to your Beautiful Path. I hope you are somehow inspired by my story. Any one looking to get clean must know that our dean will get you there.

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A carers Ramadan

My name is Umm Saeed. My husband is a heroin and crack addict. I have been stuck in a cycle for 8 years now. My family has been through many twists and turns as my husbands addiction has escalated at times, wound down at others and stopped altogether on some fleeting moments. Oh how I live for those moments! I get those times in Ramadan, mostly.

Every year it is the same. Before Ramadan, I am at my wits end. My husband’s, lets call him Fiaz, addiction is usually way off the scale. For some reason it seems every year before Ramadan I want to end the marriage. Things have usually got really bad. I threaten to kick him out of the house. But every year he says “Give me a chance! Ramadan is round the corner. I will get clean in Ramadan and I will change, you’ll see!”. So I do wait and see. On the eve of Ramadan Fiaz makes lots of duah to Allah. He says, this is the year I will do it, and he believes it, even though he said that every year for the past 8 years of our marriage. And the sad thing is, I believe it too.

There is a mixture of true and sincere belief in Allah that anything is possible when you turn to Him for help and submit yourselves. And then there is a mixture of doubt. After years of Ramadans passing me by I feel deep down that this year will just be like the others. I recall each and every Ramadan of the past. It was a beautiful time. It was a break from the chaos of the rest of the year. Where there was hatred between us, resentments and anger, the Mercy of Allah pours down and enters my heart. I start serving him again, like a dutiful wife. I accept his arms slipping around my waist while I prepare the iftah. I enjoy the closeness of his chest as we hug and a tear falls as I wish it could be like this all year around. All my defense barriers crumble down and I let my heart reach out to him. It’s almost like I am addicted to these moments. Its these beautiful times, where I see what our marriage could be like, that keeps me stuck here. I know its possible then you see. People don’t know why I stick by him. But I see that when there are no drugs in our life, its actually almost perfect. In the same way he craves crack, I crave to get these moments back.

Some years he relapses in Ramadan and we are both devastated. But we both feel so close to Allah’s Mercy that we both cry to Him for Forgiveness, and I forgive Fiaz too. We then get back on that horse and get through the rest of the month. I’ve met other women in my position who have said they can’t fast because they are too stressed. But I need this month to bring up my own eeman (faith) and strengthen my own self. Just like my husband is trying to get clean I am trying to be a better Muslim too. I have spent so much of the year angry, shouting, swearing and backbiting him that I feel burdened down by my own sins. I need Ramadan to ‘get clean’ in my own way.

Then Eid day comes and all that love and closeness and happiness leaves with Ramadan. He usually relapses on Eid day, or soon after. And with that, my heart is broken again. With all my defense mechanisms broken down it hurts more than it did before Ramadan. The pain of the heart being broken again, in places where there existed deep scars is hard to bear. And the yearly cycle starts all over again. This has been my eight year wheel.

So what about now? How am I going to make this Ramadan different. Fiaz is clean again, absorbing himself in Ramadan. And I am aware of keeping myself safe. I have not dropped all my defenses this year because I feel the heart ache of disappointment if he relapses on Eid. I am sick of this cycle and I want this to be the year that it all stops. I do not choose to live this life anymore. I want to be brave and say if he relapses after Eid I will kick him out. But at the same time part of me wonders if I have the strength to do it. So I will use this Ramadan to make myself strong so that whatever the outcome I am ready to face anything.

I realise, looking back, that I have spent most of the last 8 years thinking about Fiaz and his addiction. What is he doing? Who is he with? Where is he going? I have monitored him, checked his emails, his texts, his phone bills. I could get a job in the FBI with my skills. I have spent so much time worrying about him that I have suffered from anxiety and feelings of depression. There have been times when I have felt like harming myself, or just wishing Allah would take my soul so that I would not have to bear the pain of living with an addict any longer. I realise now, that I wanted the easy way out. All that head space I have given to Fiaz, trying to get him to come back to the Straight Path of Allah, while all the time I was slipping myself without even realising. I held onto my prayers, just about but my Islam was far from where I wanted it to be. All because I paid so much attention to Fiaz and his actions.

This Ramadan I want to focus on myself and my relationship with Allah. I realise, how can I offer myself to anyone else if I am already feeling incomplete? The only way for me to complete myself and feel whole is to attach myself to Allah. To do the very thing that I encourage Fiaz to do. If I have Allah then it does not matter what happens with Fiaz. I will have the strength to bear whatever test Allah presents me with. I encourage all other carers of addicts to do the same this Ramadan. We worry about our addicts 11 months of the year, at the very least we must worry about ourselves for this month, we owe ourselves that at least.

Quarter of a Century on Drugs: Majids Story

My story of drug abuse spans over 25 years. I am almost 40 and first tried drugs when I was about 13 or 14. It first started with smoking a cannabis joint with some school friends. Drugs quickly became very central in my life, taking, selling or facing the consequences of drug use. This could be lying to my parents, avoiding police, bragging about my drug use or discussing who has the best drugs or who can smoke the most spiffs. Drugs basically dominated my life. Looking back now I see some of my failures were also linked to my drug taking, for example, not finishing college, missing job interviews, wasting many years, were all a direct result of indulging in drug use.

By the time I left school and until the day I got married there was hardly a day that went by when I did not use. During my college days I started experimenting with harder drugs like LSD, Speed and Ecstasy. It was the early 1990’s and the rave scene had emerged, to which I flocked to with my friends on a weekly basis like it was a religious pilgrimage. I did somehow manage to get in to a local university as a mature student at the age of 19, but Uni became another place where I could find like minded people to not only use with but to whom I could sell to. I don’t remember wanting to be an actual dealer or wanting to carry the status of one but I found a gap in the market and decided to exploit it to fund my own use. By now I was taking harder drugs like Cocaine and crack which were not cheap. During this spell of selling I got caught by the police and ended up getting 6 months in prison. It was inside prison where I first smoked heroin and although I did not have a habit inside I did continue taking heroin when I came out on a ‘social level’ or so I convinced myself at the time. Having seen addicted heroin users and watched some suffer in prison from withdrawals I always kept long gaps between each use. Along with a small group of friends, we decided to only do crack and heroin one day a week to avoid any of the pitfalls of withdrawal, we chose Tuesdays and even called it “Tuesday night sessions”.

At the age of 25 I got married and decided to stop using drugs for a year but soon after my daughter was born I started seeing my old friends again. Friends from the Tuesday night sessions, who had by now forgotten the risks of getting dependent on opiates, were now full blown junkies. It didn’t take long for me to get addicted to heroin and now started a ten year battle of being in and out of active opiate addiction.

25 years of drug abuse is hard to summarise in a few words and I can go on about my war stories but I do not think there is much benefit so I will focus on recovery and breaking free from the drugs hell. I do want to say that I hurt many people so dear to me as a result including my wife, children and parents.

It has taken me a long time to get some clean time but I honestly believe that I am most at peace when I am drug free. I got kicked out of my house for continuous relapses so decided that I had to stop once and for all. Having been raised a Muslim I knew true peace and serenity can only really be achieved with spirituality and that giving up drugs alone will not be the answer to solving my worries and anxieties.

I found myself in a cheap hotel, disowned by my family, even my own children. I felt as though my world had fallen apart once again. I had two choices, I could have taken this solitude as a freedom pass to carry on using without being caught out and questioned by my wife. But my soul was screaming out for something else. That night I sat and prayed to Allah. I got on my knees at maghrib time and begged Allah to remove the addiction and guide me to The Straight Path. I took the second choice. I started going cold turkey from the heroin and fought the urges and cravings.

I knew being alone would be too much to endure so I set up a support network for myself which included attending evening prayers at the mosque each night, N.A (Narcotics Anonymous) Fellowship Meetings regularly, support from friends who had achieved some clean time and very quickly started to regain self worth, confidence and living a guilt free life.

I also took care of my physical health by attending the gym and slowly my family started to accept me again once they saw I was taking responsibility for my recovery and looking healthier and feeling spiritually motivated. I would like to mention that on previous attempts to get clean I often failed and looking back feel that it could have been because I felt external pressures to give up. This time I had an internal, personal desire and a strong intention to change.

Having been clean now for some time and it feels like I have found the real me. Every aspect of my life has improved, from work and my family to my health, self-confidence and self-esteem. To prove to myself that my drug-taking days, although at the time seemed so special and exciting, in fact were irrelevant. I say this, because I really don’t remember any particular using session but any real joyful days in recovery, such as family outings, dinner parties etc are locked into my memory and are the highlight moments of my life and the ultimate highs. Drug using days are never looked back on with a happy feeling, but these good times in recovery bring a true sense of contentment when I remember them.

Make duah for me as you read this story that I stay on the Straight Path and I pray that Allah blesses all the readers with recovery and happiness in this life and the next. Ameen

Sophias’ Choice: My baby or heroin?

Many people will be shocked when they hear my story. But I am not alone. There have been many Muslim women like me who have made the same choice and there will be many more after me.

When I was a little girl I dreamed about my wedding. I would wear a traditional red sari and my husband would be kind and caring and look after all my needs. How wrong was I?

I met my boyfriend while I was still at school. I wasn’t one of the most clever girls in the class but I tried. After school my friends and I would head down the local park where some older boys would hang out and smoke weed. They called us over to join them and before I knew it we were pretty much all paired up in couples. Saj seemed to be the leader among them. I caught his eye and he definitely caught mine. Saj wasn’t in college or working but he always seemed to have money. Soon he had enough to buy a car and after that it seemed he was always out and about running errands. I soon worked out, he was a drug dealer. At first I was upset and told him I didn’t want to see him anymore, but he was always so kind to me, or so I thought. He never smoked anything stronger than weed himself, but one day he suggested I try something for him to test it out.

He took out some beige powder and added it to a spliff and I tried it. I trusted him when he told me I wouldn’t get addicted from just a few pulls on the spliff. He was wrong. As the heroin ran its way though my blood I began to feel this amazing feeling like I was being wrapped up in a warm fuzz of love. I took more than a few lugs that day and I could not wait to take it again. I found myself, just the very next day, asking Saj if I could have some more. He was more than willing to let me and I thought he was being generous to me. He bought me clothes, and soon my status among the local youth was elevated. I was the girlfriend of the most swag drug dealer around and I started to like the attention I got. Saj started taking me out with him on his runs. He was the gangster and I was his moll. heroin

I soon ended up with a daily habit. I progressed from smoking the heroin on spliffs to smoking it on foil, getting a bigger hit in one go. After a few months like this I began to notice I was getting withdrawals around the same time every day. I would sweat and feel feverish and nauseous until I got my fix, and Saj was always there to provide it for me, free of charge. In return, I gave him what he wanted physically. The heroin caused my periods to stop so I didn’t realise I was pregnant until i was nearly six months gone. Pregnant with a heroin addicted fetus.

Of course by now my parents had pretty much already disowned me. They didn’t know I was on drugs at this point, or pregnant, but they told me I had to leave the house. I had brought shame on them for riding around in cars with Saj and coming home late at night and missing school. I packed my things, 16 years old, pregnant and completely dependent on my drug dealer boyfriend.

As my belly continued to grow, so did my addiction. I felt guilty and I hated myself but I still took that brown (heroin) every day until my beautiful boy was born. In the hospital, baby Omar cried and cried in distress. babyThe midwives fussed around him and questions were asked. In the end, in a state of desperation I told them I was a heroin addict. My baby was born a junkie and he needed his fix and I was so desperately ashamed but the only way I knew to get rid of that shame was to use more drugs. Texting Saj from my hospital bed I begged him to bring some brown. And he did. Ever willing Saj, always ready to give me my fix. It took me a long time to realise how sick this was. How all the time I thought he loved me and did it out of care, he was slowly poisoning me along with his own child.

Of course, referrals were made to social services. And before long I was visited and told I had a matter of time to get clean or else my baby may be put into care. Still only a few days after giving birth I attended a prescribing agency for drug addicts. Never have I felt any more shame than the day I walked in with Omar in my arms getting a prescription for methadone. I thought it was the wake up call I needed. And a part of me really wanted to do it, to get clean and be a good mum, but the drugs just kept calling me. I missed my mum and I was terribly sad and depressed and the only way to get rid of the feeling was to turn to heroin. I just started using on top of my methadone and my dependence for opiates hit the roof.

I had to keep returning to the agency for testing ever few weeks. I would make excuses, say I was sick, then the next week that the baby was sick. I would do everything I could do avoid testing but in the end they told me that failure to comply would mean my baby could be put into foster care. It took 9 months for that to happen. Help-heroin-addict-get-help-and-recover2The day that happened was the day my heart felt as though it was ripped out.

And of course with a half ripped heart, all I could do was try and fix the feelings through drugs. I stopped taking methadone and gave up hope. I never got rid of the pain. It was always there. I took more drugs to try and numb it out but they stopped working. I thought if I tried another drug, that would work. So I asked Saj to get me some crack. At first, I thought it gave me back a sense of control, by heroin use reduced and I felt more alert and more able to function. But as the crack took a hold my drug use escalated to another level.

Cycle-of-AddictionI started missing the contact days to see Omar. I thought every time I see him it just gives me more pain. I missed his first steps. I missed his first word, and it wasn’t “Mumma” as it should have been. I hated myself and the more I hated myself, the more I wanted to destroy myself. Social services gave me clear boundaries, many opportunities and chances but I blew it. I gave up hope of ever seeing Omar again, and I stopped fighting. I stopped fighting my cravings, I just gave into them. I stopped fighting with the social workers, I told them “do whatever you want”. I stopped making dua to Allah because I thought He had abandoned me long ago.

Proceedings started going ahead for permanent adoption. My family didn’t step in to offer to take Omar in. Hearing that I may never see my beautiful boy ever again, I had one waking clear moment. I cried and I cried and I sobbed and I sobbed. I begged my social worker to give me another chance. I told him I would do whatever it takes, and I meant it. They gave me an opportunity to go into residential rehab and I cried with relief. I thanked them for this chance.

They sent me 200 miles away to a rehab out in the country. As the car drove through the winding roads, a part of my brain was already mapping out the roads in my mind, planning an escape. I was withdrawing, shaking and sweating. Nerves took a hold of me and all I could think of was jumping out of the car and running back to the motorway to hitch a lift back home. But I stayed sat in the back of that car, silent and trembling and looking at pictures of Omar on my phone, whispering “Mummy’s gonna do it this time baby”.

I got clean. I got every bit of opiates out of my blood in a horrible sickening detox programme. I stopped withdrawing and I sat in those group therapy sessions. and I listened to the stories and I gave mine. So, did I make it? Did I get clean and have a happy ever after? If I had made the right choice then I could say yes. But I made the wrong choice. And it was a choice. No matter how much I tried to convince myself that I didn’t  know what I was doing, or that it was beyond my control, I know I chose heroin over Omar. I chose drugs over my baby.

Before I left the rehab I had written down my plans. I had written “Leave Saj, go home until I can get my own place, keep going to meetings, attend my appointments and all contacts with Omar and get tested clean every time”. But even as I had written those words, I knew the reality would be much different. 

The same day I got back to my area, after a three month residential programme, I was back on the gear. It wasn’t long before I had my last goodbye with Omar. That was the worst day of my life. Heroin couldn’t take that pain away no matter how hard I tried. guilt

There are many more women out there like me, Asian women, Muslim women. I am not alone in this choice. And we will have to live with that choice eternally. I am five years clean now and am working in a support center for homeless women. I see my story in many others almost every day.
I know I can never turn back the clock but I am trying to do everything I can to repent to Allah and prove myself to him. Saj is in prison now and I never want to see him ever again. Even though he supplied me with drugs, I cant blame him. I made my choices. It was my choice. I beg Muslim women, don’t make the same choices I did.