Brs. Javed, David and Brighstars members of the Purify Your Gaze community share with us a compiliation of their best tips to stay sober in the month of Ramadan
A warm Ramadan Mubarak to all of our readers.
May Allah (SWT) accept each of our deeds and grant us forgiveness during this holy month.
Ramadan is a time of striving towards nearness to Allah (SWT) through increasing in ibadah and sincere prayer. Through the baraka of Allah’s blessings we are able to find time and energy to do more ibadah. However, it is important to remember that self-care is a year-round activity. Amidst our hectic schedules, Qur’anic recitation, and Tarawih prayers, it’s important to keep some sobriety essentials in mind and in practice.
With that in mind, we have compiled a list of 8 sobriety essentials to help each of us stay sober this Ramadan.
Tip #1: Renew Your Intentions Daily
If you observed fasting, consider yourself sober at the end of every day. Congratulations!
Make a mental note of what you were able to accomplish without the need to act out, and remind yourself daily why this is Worth Fighting For. The goal now is to extend your sobriety a few hours longer, which is not as daunting, insha Allah, and create new habits that will carry you far into the future.
Tip #2: Prepare Yourself For The Rigours Of Ramadan
Plan your Ramadan for proper mechanics of sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Productive Muslim is a great resource for Ramadan tips. Fasting gives relief to the senses, so help the cleansing along by not overindulging in dunya since that could lead to that “special private reward” that we give ourselves. Doing too much will jeopardize the foundation of self care.
Prepare your mind and body for fasting before the month arrives by fasting a few days before the month starts so that your body will be able to adjust easily during this month.
Find tips on how to maintain nutrition and exercise during this month.
Tip #3: Use Ramadan As An Opportunity To Practice Your Surrender
Improve your relationship with Allah, especially surrender. Define what surrendering your addiction to Allah means to you. Opening up our hearts takes practice. With every salah we have a chance to make our love for Allah get bigger than our love for escape. Seek contentment (acceptance) for what Allah provided, and tune into what role or special skill you have that will allow your love for Allah to flow into others. We each got created for a special purpose in His perfect design.
Make a list of duas that you will make during the month of Ramadan, and remember that Dua’s are more accepted, inshaAllah, during this month. Choose at least five things that you will consistently make dua for in your sujood, in taraweeh, and at any moment you have free time.
The first 10 days of Ramadan are days of Seeking Allah’s Mercy. Recovery questions: What can we be grateful for in our recovery? What does Allah teach us every moment about turning to Him for sobriety?
The second 10 days of Ramadan are days of Seeking Allah’s Forgiveness Recovery questions: Are we truly willing to leave our sin’s behind? Can we forgive ourselves like Allah can?
The last 10 days of Ramadan are days of seeking Allah’s refuge from Hell fire. Recovery questions: Are we committed to start a brand new a life? Is our heart ready to let go of our past, or is there something left to learn?
Every night there are a group of people who are released from the punishment of the Hell-fire. Aim to make sincere dua every night so that you are one of these blessed people, inshaAllah.
Perform a Ramadan supplication. One of our favorite Witr Duas is by Shaykh Muhammad Jebril. Learn what the imam is saying in Arabic in those emotional Witr prayers so you can feel a connection with Allah (SWT) as well!
Tip #4: Be Realistic About What You Can Get Done Each Day
Plan to do less, way less, on ambitious personal projects and up your recovery game instead. The added sobriety will gather your strength and you’ll resume your projects with greater focus and confidence after Ramadan. Call in to Sobriety Mastermind, 12 step conference calls, AIR challenges. Start or renew a Forum accountability thread, contact your support networks. Make your game plan for the month and celebrate your wins! Use every moment to get closer to Allah (SWT).
Tip #5: Practice Your Fire Drill
Practice your fire drill. Do you have a plan for when feeling anxious? Who can you call when feeling weak? Have you made a list of what you consider risky behavior that could lead to a relapse?
Tip #6: Fast And Take A Break From Media
Include media fasting and extend personal restrictions into the night. Watching TV and movies increases your chances of being triggered. For serious recovery, set up restrictions on technology use to the month of Ramadan, such as no internet on phones for this month, or no checking email and going on line after iftar.
Tip #7: Expand Your Definition Of Intimacy If You Are Married
If married, work on redefining “intimacy” with your spouse in a way that doesn’t involve sex. Nurture emotional intimacy by shifting your attention to your spouse and away from triggering distractions. Explore how to create differentiation from your spouse, that is, to foster closeness while keeping a sense of yourself. Practice being more honest every day about how you’re feeling, your struggles, and what kind of help you need and how you’ll get it. Remember that your spouse is not your parent, so do share, but the emotional lifting is all yours!
Tip #8: Do Not Isolate Yourself Or Be Alone
If not married, this is not a time to be alone.
Brothers, Are you feeling your inner strength yet? Focus on getting closer to your family, specially
the women in your life, supporting their needs and dreams. Relieve them from the routines and chores that keep them from being their best selves. Be vulnerable with those you trust, and nurture a caring energy, the kind that allows us to give of ourselves. If you won’t see your family one night, or you can’t make it to the masjid, Is there a Muslim brother you can connect with to reason through a particular fear, or to brighten up after a tough day?
Sisters, Are you glowing with inner beauty yet? You are more than a cook in a patriarchal culture.
Delegate the housework and cooking to be equitable between men and women. Make sure to take care of your needs as well, such as having personal time with Allah, taking care of your hygiene and focusing on making duas for yourself. Focus on getting closer to your family, friends, and the important people in your life. Open your heart to give and receive love for the sake of Allah, even to those who may not reciprocate. This small gesture will open the doors of healing between the hearts.
All of the advice thus far still applies to you as well. Remember that sexual compulsion is an intimacy disorder, and we’ve unfortunately learned to abuse and shame women, even if that woman is yourself. Nurture your feminine by serving others and also a bit of your masculine side by being a leader in your family. A great way to do this is to make special plans for your family and friends when you are not praying or fasting. When you are not fasting and praying, take advantage of the blessing given by Allah and use your extra energy to give to others: Take care of small children so mothers can pray taraweeh, make a special iftar for your family or masjid. Also, find alternative forms of worship. As sister Shazia Ahmad writes in her article Closed Doors and Open Eyes, “Being in a state of ritual impurity really has no deeper connotation or implication as to a person’s worth or standing before Allah … They can be regarded as a dispensation, to allow us an interim for comfort and rejuvenation while in a state of physical weakness and tiredness.”
We hope that you enjoyed reading this list and found practical ideas to implement this Ramadan. But do to come up with your own ideas and share what works for you, in the comment section below. lnsha’Allah through making a consistent effort each day to take care of ourselves, we can not only have an enjoyable Ramadan, but also make progress in our recovery as well. May Allah (SWT) grant us a Ramadan full of His forgiveness and rahma and help us to maintain and strengthen our sobriety (Ameen).