‘Why bother with all of this?”
Br. Haseeb, a coaching client of mine was frustrated.
It felt like the more committed he was in trying to make the lifestyle changes that would support his recovery, like getting to sleep earlier, the more annoying challenges would rise up in his path.
It was bothering him especially because for the first time since he had started his recovery, he was going to be living separately from his wife because of a new job opportunity until she would relocate with him.
This anxiety of being alone was adding stress to him and causing his withdrawal symptoms of his addiction to also flare:
“When I’m by myself, my gaze is a little different when I’m around my wife. I feel like my looks might be a little more elongated, I still kind of come back to myself, and recognize, I feel like I have to surrender to Allah, because I really don’t have anyone else to lean on when I’m not around my wife.
When I’m going to be spending nights to myself without my wife, I don’t know how I’m going to handle that, I don’t know what to do to avoid falling back into the danger zones or I’m scared of what if I lead to relapse, what if I can’t handle it?” – Br. Haseeb.
His wife was struggling and going through a rough period, and on top of that things were also tense between his wife and his mother.
“As a lot of these issues come up, whether problems with my wife, my mom, dealing with withdrawal symptoms of recovery, having to face girls from my past, I have to face these things, how do I navigate through them? Right now, I feel fed up, I feel drained, I feel like I need a break, I feel like I can’t take it.” – Br. Haseeb.
These were the “storms” that were throwing Br. Haseeb off, and that he felt were sabotaging the gains that he was making in his recovery which led him to say out of frustration, “Why should I even bother right now?”
The reality of the matter was this was just life and the normal tests it throws out at us!
Many times my clients have an expectation that when they have cleaned up their lives from sexually acting out that things things should become easier for them but what they have forgotten is that for many years their acting out was stunting them from being able to face the trials and tests of life.
It feels as if it is unfair now that they have become “good” that things are difficult. This is why in these moments I ask them to reflect on what is greater than this moment, greater than the pain of this challenge that will give them the strength to persevere through and not fall back to old behaviors?
“It’s not easy to be a man and be that anchor for those around you, but when you are it is an extremely rewarding experience.”
With Br. Haseeb, I took the very same question he made of “why bother?” and turned it back to him and asked him, “Why are you going to bother right now? What is your rock that keeps you grounded? What is something that is worth fighting for in your life?”
He responded back, “I don’t think I’ve ever articulated one.”
And this was the beginning of the breakthrough Br. Haseeb had on his coaching call.
He didn’t realize it but this past year in his recovery, his rock had been his wife. She had been that grounding certainty for him but with the challenges she was facing and their impending temporary separation, she needed him to be the rock!
“…Whether it’s your mom or wife bickering back and forth, the flashbacks from the past, the withdrawals, what all of these have in common and are calling you to be is to be a man, to be strong. The concept of istiqama. To be steadfast,” I said to Br. Haseeb.
For any storm to be weathered in life itself, Br. Haseeb would need to have a strong anchor that will allow him to stay steadfast in those inevitable moments of difficulties.
Instead of looking to navigate through storms in his life, these are storms that he would have to be that strong anchor for.
“You’ve got to anchor the ship and let the storms pass through,” I said to Br. Haseeb. “Maybe it’s not for you to control these storms, the storms are going to come, it’s part of life. But you’ve got to be that anchor you can drop, to weather the storm. And when you yourself are anchored, you can be that anchoring presence for all the loved ones in your life!”
I shared with Br. Haseeb that this is what Allah asks of us, and what our wives want from us. They want us to be strong, to endure, and to open our hearts wide, not to close off, or to shrivel. And this is where the man gets his strength from, from facing these storms and being that strong anchor for his family.
It reminds me of the following commercial:
In this commercial, there is a clothes line outside and there’s this jacket on the clothes line. It’s blowing through storm, rain, lightening and then it says “father.”
Inside the jacket is a whole set of tinier pants, shorts, women dresses, etc.
That’s dad, the protector, the one who endures the storms.
It’s not easy to be a man and be that anchor for those around you, but when you are it is an extremely rewarding experience. So, let’s create that anchor so you can drop it in the ocean, and weather the storms that will come.