Because 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 am destined for Hell. Allah could change all this if He wanted to but He must want me this way”. 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.
So 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 even for a split second – you had a choice. There were two paths laid out before us. One was 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?
What 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. It 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 recognition. 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.
Nothing 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.