Monthly Archives: December 2015

I am Muslim my husband is a drug addict

This is the story of Sister Rasheeda, please raise your hands and make dua for her:

When you are a wife and your husband is a drug addict life passes you by in cycles and circles.We think back to every time when just before Ramadan we are ready to kick them our or leave ourselves. But then we hope this Ramadan will be the year that they give up once and for all. We sit there on the day of Eid, looking at every ones Facebook uploads of happy family times and our mind goes back to 11 months and 355 days before when we remember the last Eid when we shed tears and we wish we had left him afterall. You remember every Eid day that was spoiled and every dark cloud that was caste over that day because he relapsed. We think back to every parents evening when last year we toyed with the idea of not telling our husbands about it because we were afraid they would turn up looking a mess, saying something strange or the teachers expression would falter for that brief moment. We think about the anniversary of when we found out they were using drugs, when our world fell apart and we say “another year”. Every birthday, every school holiday, even every non Muslim festival like Halloween and Christmas. We remember this time last year things were the same.

We find letters that we wrote to our addict 8 years ago telling him how his drug use makes us feel. We tell them we love them but they need to stop, that we cannot take it much longer. Then we look at the date and we say to ourselves “I could have written that today”.

We kick them out in a moments burst of energy and confidence in ourselves and Allah’s permission and we remember ‘hang on a minute this time last year I did the same’. And then I let him back in, only for him to start using again. We gave them the benefit of the date. “Relapses can be helpful if the addict learns from what went wrong” say the experts. Shame the addict does not read the book.

We think about all the times they went and got help, rehab, raqi’s, day programmes, counselling, fellowship meetings and they were clean for a while and our hopes went high and our relationships with our husbands improved. Our defenses went down and we even risked a smile or two. And then they relapsed. And the cycle begun again and these cycles of help seeking, abstience and then falling became cycles in themselves, usually prompted by an ultimatum by the wife of the addict – you and me – when we just could not take it any more.

So what does it feel like when you can’t take his addiction anymore? This is what it is like for me. This is my rock bottom.

Driving my car, in a daze, I saw a tree. ‘What if I was just to drive into that tree. Not too fast maybe 30 miles per hour. That’s all. No I don’t want to die. I just want to be knocked out for a while. Just maybe in a little light coma for a few days. Just enough to take me out of this world for a while and maybe even scare my addict enough to know what it could be like to lose me.’ What is this mad thinking? This is the mad thinking of the wife of an addict. This is my rock bottom.

Stupid stupid me. ‘You let him back. You don’t deserve any better.’ I lie in bed at night fighting the shaitan who shows me pictures in my mind of just snipping my skin with scissors. I see myself squeezing out some of my own blood, just to relieve the pressure. I say “authoo billahi min ashaytaanir rajeem” (I seek refuge in Allah from the Devil, the outcast). I try to knock the thoughts away by shaking my head, spitting over my left shoulder and trying to breathe deeply. I do my ayat al kursi (verse from the Quran known to help ward of the evil from the unseen world). The urge to rip my skin comes again. I scratch it a little with my finger nails. It isn’t enough to fight the urge. I stop and pray again. I feel so low and desperate. Is this how my addict feels when he fights the urge to use drugs? I make it through the night without hurting myself but the feelings of lowliness and depression sink in.

Another reason I know I have sank to my lowest point is when I shouted upwards to Allah “Why? Why Allah have you done this to me. I don’t want this test. Haven’t I suffered enough?” Never in my 36 years of my life have I ever questioned Allah, shouted at Him, worse of all been angry at Him. I have bore every single test with trust in Him, patiently awaiting the ease, praying and crying to Him for help and support. The day I looked up and had anger in my heart towards my Creator was the day I knew I had reached my rock bottom.

I don’t want to die but I don’t want to live. This is the dark thinking living with an addict has caused. I just need to add two words to that sentence to make things a little more bearable. I don’t want to live like this. My kids need me. I need me. Allah has a purpose for me.

So I can’t change my addict – never will control something he cannot control himself. But I can change my ‘like this’. Who says ‘this’ has to be ‘like this’. I know what this needs to look like and I know what I want and that has what has kept me stuck in this situation for all these years. 12 years to be exact. 12 years of cycles and circles. And when you go round in circles it only creates dizziness, disorientation, nausea and feet that can no longer stand firm. So here is my vision that has kept me stuck.

Me, my kids, my husband all sitting smiling around the dinner table. He doesnt have ‘an errand to run’ or a reason to go out. He stays, we laugh, we enjoy eachother. And there is no drugs. No using. No smelling of smoke. No bits of foil. No money going missing. No crack pipes. No slurred speech, no half open eyes. No stupid comments that make no sense. No erratic behaviours. No bailiffs. No dealers texts. No police cautions. No paraphernalia. No arguments besides the usual ones like who’s turn it is to empty the dishwasher. I tell myself. that if the drugs were not in our life then life would be close to perfection. And those weeks here or there when he hasn’t used, its pretty close.

But only my husband can make that vision come true. Only he can choose to stop using drugs once and for all. Meanwhile, why should I be the passenger on his ride of self destruction. Why should he take me down with him. I choose to get off the ride and stop being a passenger on this never ending loop the loop, going round in circles, just waiting to fall and hit the ground hard.

I choose another life. I do not know what that is today but Allah Knows. And with a good pure intention only His Mercy and Help can rain upon me. So today I make istikara (seeking Allah’s counsel and direction)

(Please also consider reading Breaking Free and Fighting The Ten Headed Monster, both about detaching from the addict, from our carers articles from Editor)

 O Allaah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allaah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it.”

(Reported by al-Bukhaari, 6841; similar reports are also recorded by al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad).

dua istikhara

Is Addiction Recovery Possible?


recovery-relapse-roadsign212Because it just does not feel possible does it? Real talk now. Either yourself or your loved one has been trying desperately for years to give up the addiction or addictions and failed over and over again. We have seen friends try and fail or even die in awful ways. We’ve tried rehabs, day programmes, meetings, books, spiritual interventions, marriage/divorce, geographical moves, career changes, fasting, praying, new friends. No matter what we have tried to do, we take 1 step forward and 2 or more back. Is it any wonder we give up on hope. Is it any surprise to anyone that sometimes just carrying on with the addiction just seems easier. It hurts less to not be let down again – or so we think. National statistics show success rates in addiction treatment clinics are painfully low. Very few make it.

The top search terms that lead visitors to this web site are “dua” and “Allah makes the impossible possible”  and variations of those spellings. As Muslims, our knowledge and our spirit tells us that these two things are our survival to keep hope alive. It is these two beliefs that keep us giving recovery another go because we hang onto that glimmer of light, cast down to us from Allah. We cling to it, never giving up on the fact that dua (prayer and supplication) with the certainty that Allah can make it happen is what can turn our situation around. The only problem is like all our other dependencies, we rely on it coming true without being consistent about the part we ourselves play in it. We think one prayer called out in regret will solve everything and don’t understand why we keep slipping when we yearn for Allah so sincerely. So we stop asking. And hence why we give up on hope and begin to ask “is recovery possible?” And this takes us to a very dark place.

This leads us to negative and ruminating thoughts like “I will never get better” or “I amisolated-youth destined for Hell. Allah could change all this if He wanted to but He must want me this”. We begin to despair of Allah and sometimes we even blame Him. The belief that Allah can do all things makes us angry because we think Allah is choosing for us to stay in our sinfulness. We no longer think Shaitan made me do it, or my nafs made me do it – we are led to dangerous thinking – Allah made me do it. And this is a very rocky tract to stand on. Carers are on a similar thinking train, full steam ahead with thoughts like “My addict will always be an addict – they will never change”. And all the carers stop caring, abandoning the addict, giving up on the advise, meeting them with silent disappointed stares. Marriages and relationships break down. Mothers bear the guilt of breaking away from their sons. Daughters rejected by their addicted fathers left asking “why does he choose drugs over me?”

What a terrible thing is addiction and what a sorrowful state for the addict and all those around him or her. How lost we become. Lost until the point we see no way of returning.

waySo the verse on the left from The Qur’an where Allah tells us that He will get us out of any difficult situation can both aid us in our recovery and aid us in our addiction. “What a strange thing to say” you may be thinking. There is nothing so strange as the addicted brain. We are in a constant fight between our rational thinking and our addictive thinking as well as our soul that yearns for Allah and our desires that yearn for sin. The head and heart double battle. We know this verse is meant to give us hope, and it has many a time. But we want it quickly and easily. Instant gratification. We feel let down by Allah when think He has turned away from us. We know He can get us out of this hardship and yet here we are years and years later still stuck in this life. But we have to fight this negativity. We have to stop those blaming thoughts. We have to realise that Allah is always providing a way out, and always has done – we have just failed to walk through the opening.

Think back! Think back to every situation you were in before you sinned. No matter evennotleft for a split second – you had a choice. There were two paths laid out before us. One was one straight and one was crooked. We chose the crooked path. Every time it was like an opening was there but we decided to cloud it out, ignore it or pretend it was not there. Why else do we carry so much guilt? Because deep down inside we know we took the wrong path. We allowed that guilt to eat us up until it gave us another reason to just use, to blanket it out, to not see the door that Allah had just swung right open for us. So then we realise this – and then we blame ourselves. And then the self-loathing has set in. We look in the mirror and cannot catch our own eyes. “You disgust me” we think. Pain upon pain. And we allow this self hatred to keep us right where we are at. Throwing dirt at ourselves only buries us deeper. But do you really think Allah hates the one who sincerely regrets?

helpWhat a battle we have. What a busy mind full of thoughts and arguments with ourselves. Is it any wonder we lost sight of ourselves until it feels like we are drowning in confusion. Do you think Allah will turn away from such a soul who is fighting so hard to keep their head above the dark waters of despair? Do you think Allah would let go of a heart that continually questions, fights and yearns? Allah loves the soul that battles to stay close to Allah and cries when it thinks Allah has abandoned it. Always remember Allah never abandons any soul in this world.

So what can we do to make the impossible seem more possible? We believe in Allahs attribute that He is Capable of All Things but what we need to start doing is believing that WE are capable of all things with Allahs Help? Addicts have very low self esteem – even before our addictions took hold of us. beleive-in-yourselfIt was low self-worth that led us to make choices that took us to dark places. Most of us had a tough childhood with little praise or When you grow up without feeling truly loved you tend to give up on yourself pretty soon into adolescence. Once we set the path of addiction we are frowned upon by society and family, colleagues and neighbours. We begin to feel like the lowest of the low. An outcast. It is hard to set your sights so high when you are peeling yourself off the rock bottom dirty ground. It is hard to ever believe we can achieve recovery when we have told ourselves so often that life will always be this way and when others have told us we shall never change.

But without believing truly, deeply and ever lastingly that change is possible – it cannot be possible. We have to never give up the belief that we will make it to recovery. That we can do it with the Help of Allah.

changeNothing changes unless we make the changes. BE THE CHANGE. We must not think that crying to Allah from time to time, no matter how sincere, is enough to get us out of this dark hole. We have to know that if we are at the bottom of the well, Allah always leaves a ladder on the side. It is us who has to take the first step on the bottom rung. Once we place our feet upon it, we have to trust that it will not break and Know that Allah will help us take the next step, then the next and the next. We must never look back, unless it is to remind ourselves of how far we fell. We must keep moving up the ladder and never stop. Because every time we have paused in the past, we have fallen back down. And if we lose our footing from time to time, keep hold of the ladder with your hands and get back up. Never let recovery out of your grasp and never let the way out of your sights. The way out has always been there. We just haven’t had the belief in ourselves to make our way towards it. If you have kept reading this far – then now is the time.

Is recovery possible? Yes! So start making it possible. Because miracles do happen for those who believe in Allah and those who believe in themselves!