The road to recovery is full of thorns. The journey is filled with hardships and difficulties, which require patience, perseverance and a very strong commitment to overcome.
Speaking from my own experience, often times I feel like recovery work is overwhelming and draining, so much so that sometimes I feel very exhausted and feel like I have no more energy to continue. However, the only reason why I am still able to continue walking this path is because of my hope in my recovery and my belief in the help of Allah subhana wa ta’ala.
Many a time I have put all the efforts in place – whether it is identifying my emotional needs or recognizing my triggers or more so even applying first order changes in my life such as using an internet filter – yet whenever I have fallen back and relapsed, I have been completely devastated. It has been as if my whole world has fallen apart and worst of all sometimes, I remain in that fallen state, not knowing how I should resume my journey, and I start doubting my own self – how will this new commitment be different than all those previous ones? That is the time when the phenomenon of hope kicks in, and my hope in the mercy of Allah subhana wa ta’ala refreshes me and makes me move forward and recommit to my recovery journey.
We all know that Shaytan is the source of all evil and has been named as ‘Iblees’ by Allah subhana wa ta’ala in the glorious Qur’an which basically means ‘the one who despairs, the accursed one.’ In other words, he is given this name because he has no hope for his survival and revival. Based on this fact, the source of all hopelessness is Iblees. Such hopelessness is one of the main tools and tricks that Shaytan uses to derail us from the straight path. Because he knows that once we have lost hope in the mercy of Allah subhana wa ta’ala, then we will stop trying and will give up on ourselves. In this context, each time we make a mistake or face a slip in our daily life or in our recovery, Shaytan will try to use the opportunity to create a barrier between us and Allah subhana wa ta’ala by igniting hopelessness and despair in our hearts.
On the contrary, Allah subhana wa ta’ala is the source of hope, love, and joy. He has mentioned in the Qur’an that “Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Az-Zumar:53)
Through this verse and numerous other verses, Allah subhana wa ta’ala teaches us to have hope in his mercy and guidance. That is what really drives us to move forward and not despair, despite our sins and shortcomings. In reality, our entire life circles around hope – it gives us the energy to live our lives and perform our daily obligations, be it in matters of this dunya or in matters of akhirah.
As an example, students study with the hope that their education will secure them a better career; if there was no hope of a better career, then why would one spend days and nights studying and working hard? Similarly, we worship Allah subhana wa ta’ala because we have a hope in His mercy and forgiveness, and we hope that He will admit us to Paradise where we can live an eternal life of happiness. Likewise, as we recover from our unwanted sexual behaviors, we put a lot of effort into activities such as our self-care rituals, and other tools of healing, because we have the hope that Allah subhana wa ta’ala will put barakah in our efforts and will empower us to overcome our pornography addiction and live a more fulfilling life.
If we consider ourselves as vehicles on the road toward recovery, hope is like the fuel for this vehicle. Without having strong hope in the mercy and guidance of Allah subhana wa ta’ala, we cannot reach our destination.