Tag Archives: heroin

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.


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.