My Addiction – A Hidden Blessing, Not A Curse

With regards to my secret habit, I so often asked the question: why? Why has this not disappeared from my life, despite my burning desire, despite my efforts, despite my sincere intention, despite my heartfelt prayers? And, why is it in my life in the first place? Why am I cursed in this way?

I spent years in this struggle with no solid answer to this question. Today, however, my perspective on addiction is different. I no longer hold fear nor resentment toward my addiction’s presence in my painful past, nor in my present challenges, nor in my uncertain future. I do not seek to erase its existence, nor to rid my identity of its fingerprints. This is me and this is my challenge, and I am grateful for it because I now finally understand its true purpose.

When I first learned of Purify Your Gaze, I thought I knew what would happen next: I’ll join this 5 week training program, I’ll take really good notes, and soon enough, I’ll be saying goodbye to my addiction. Addiction, to me, was a curse, I had no doubt about it, and all I needed was something to finally get it out of my life.

I did not see any possible good in my addiction. There were the uncontrollable urges and temptations. Feelings of shame and hypocrisy. Confusion and darkness. A quick-fix was all I needed so that I could finally move on with my life.

Why am I cursed?

With regards to my secret habit, I so often asked the question: why? Why has this not disappeared from my life, despite my burning desire, despite my efforts, despite my sincere intention, despite my heartfelt prayers? And, why is it in my life in the first place? Why am I cursed in this way?

I spent years in this struggle with no solid answer to this question. Today, however, my perspective on addiction is different. I no longer hold fear nor resentment toward my addiction’s presence in my painful past, nor in my present challenges, nor in my uncertain future. I do not seek to erase its existence, nor to rid my identity of its fingerprints. This is me and this is my challenge, and I am grateful for it because I now finally understand its true purpose.

Recovery gave me a new perspective on my addiction

I now know that this addiction which I did not choose for myself, this thing which has been the cause of so much pain and confusion, this thing which even today continues to creep up and jeopardize my integrity – all of it is not for nothing.

So, what is addiction’s purpose? And how is it a blessing rather than a curse? I now know that addiction is very beautifully designed to play a pivotal role in my long-term success. Addiction is fertile soil for incredible growth.

Setting the foundations for wholesome living

Dealing with an addiction left me with no choice but to move far beyond a life of just “getting by”. Had addiction disappeared from my life as quickly as I had wanted, I would have lost the opportunity to make so many necessary changes in the way I lead my life. My addiction serves as a trusty compass, always showing me when I am not meeting some important need I have, such as prioritizing self-care or a needing a heightened sense of self-love. The old thought and emotional patterns start to kick in when such needs are not being met – my inner addict starts kicking and screaming, so to speak. When that happens, I now know to respond by adjusting a part of my lifestyle to regain balance.

Below are more details of these two needs which I had to address in order to regain balance in my life and thus achieve sobriety:

1. Learning to care for myself

I have learned how to take care of my body with improved sleep and exercise habits. I was not motivated much by fitness goals, but instead I recognized that exercising revitalizes my brain and allows me to think more clearly. It also gave me a boost of emotional well-being. Both, I have learned, are necessary to maintain my sobriety. The internal compass of addiction always let me know when more care was needed. With its guidance, I established many important self-care habits.

2. Self-Love

I have also learned to provide myself unconditional love and appreciation. I come from a past wherein an internal voice constantly criticized anything about me that fell short of perfect. If you asked me a few years ago about ‘self-love’ I would ask, “What did I do to deserve to love myself so much?” However, dealing with addiction has taught me that there’s just no way around it. If I don’t offer myself love and appreciation, the old patterns of addictive behaviors will reignite. And so, I worked out my self-love muscle until it became nearly second nature.These are two examples among several.

Through my recovery, I learned other foundational lessons in the area of surrender. In all honesty, I was forced to make these changes, because they were so critical in achieving sobriety. However, the lessons learned in the process provided far more than sobriety: they set the foundation for wholesome, balanced living. Overall, a level of balance far greater than I anticipated has been restored in my life, w’alhamdulillah. Addiction made it easy for me to notice where change was necessary, and it forced me to exert myself toward that change. No stone was left unturned as I sought sobriety, and as a result, I emerged with so much of the growth necessary to lead an upright, balanced life.

Endless possibilities

This is where things get exciting! Balanced living and a heightened self-awareness (both the product of my recovery journey) have opened doors for me I never before imagined. The ability to appreciate my own self has made it easier for me to appreciate and love others. I am gaining the ability to give, one of recovery’s most exciting prospects. Free from a constant critical voice, I have embraced new possibilities for myself, such as a business idea involving developing a new product. Finally, after years of delay, I have committed to regular study of the Qur’an. Even how I read and understand the Qur’an is enhanced by the lessons learned in recovery.

As difficult as the journey has been, I truly do not know where I would be without it. When I search deep within me today, I really cannot ask for things to have played out any other way. For those out there who do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, I completely understand. I have spent a long time in that place.

All I can say is: continue the fight, and push forward with all that you have. We weren’t placed in the tunnel only to suffer. No one is better equipped to reach the other side of the mountain than those in the darkness of the tunnel. Have immense hope. You were not placed on this path for your ruin. You were placed on it for no other reason than to reach amazing heights.

About the author

Brother2000

BrTwoThousand is an American Muslim college student. He joined Purify Your Gaze in 2011, when he was desperately seeking an escape from addiction. He loves all things personal development, Islamic studies, family, community work, sharing Islam, and engineering. He is looking forward to developing a new product and marriage. He believes that addiction is simple (kind of), and it is a symptom of incomplete growth. BrTwoThousand's goal in writing here is to (1) help people embrace their untapped potential by sharing with you his own transformation and (2) share the lessons which have provided him with wings allowing him to reach new heights. He hopes to soar together with you all insha Allah!