Kickstart Your Recovery Episode 8: Just Show Up!

Kickstart Your Recovery Episode 08: Just Show Up!

The #1 reason people stay stuck

When it comes to trying to break free from those old lustful habits, it’s very common for people to wonder “am I really making any progress?” Especially when that dreadful event happens that they relapse to their old behaviors after abstaining for some period of time and it seemed like things were going well.

Now, just because you relapse doesn’t mean you’re not making progress – remember in episode #1 we talked about how this process is a journey and it’s important to be open to that.

Nevertheless, it’s not uncommon for people to simply “stay stuck” and not make progress. When the relapses keep coming and you’re not learning something new from them, when months pass by and you can’t identify any significant changes for the better, or when things are in fact very clearly getting worse – then you can’t really sugar coat that and say it’s OK I’m still making progress. Because the truth in that case is that progress is not being made.

And many people, whether early in recovery or if they’ve been working on their recovery for sometime, you’ll sometimes find yourself in a place like that.

Why does that happen?

I believe when that happens it’s not because the task is too difficult for you. I don’t believe it’s because you don’t have what it takes to make progress. Because Allah does not test us with what we cannot bear.

But, when we find ourselves stuck, I believe it’s often because we’re just not showing up.

What does it mean to show up?

Some of our veteran Purify Your Gaze members were asked what advice they would give to new members, and among their responses one thing stood out over and over and it was “just show up”.

You see, when you join a program like Purify Your Gaze, you’re given a framework within which to work on your recovery. There are things you need to do – watch the training, do the exercises, have a presence on the weekly group calls, contribute on the discussion forums.

And new members are often so eager to make the results they seek happen that in their eagerness they can forget to simply trust the process and to do these simple things.

when we find ourselves stuck, I believe it’s often because we’re just not showing up.

Let me share another example.

In my final semester in college, I was having a rough time keeping balance between my studies, my work, and my personal life, and it was quite stressful. At the suggestion of a trusted friend, I went to see a counselor at my university’s counseling center.

In one session as I was sharing how I was stressed out about the various things that are on my plate, my counselor’s advice to me was “Bara, why don’t you just show up?”

You see I was holding on so tightly to control in my life, that I assumed that “just showing up” to my various tasks and responsibilities wasn’t enough, I assumed that I had to somehow be exceptional, I assumed that I wasn’t enough and that I had to be something bigger than myself.

But he told me “just show up” and as I practiced simply showing up as my true self for a week, I came back and reported that it made a huge difference in my life. Not only was I experiencing less anxiety, but I began to learn that I am enough as I am, and that I can trust that if I simply show up where I’m expected to be and keep the commitments I make, then everything will turn out OK.

I learned to trust Allah and to trust the process, rather than relying solely on my own will and knowledge.

Why does “showing up” matter so much in recovery?

Now you may be wondering “how does this relate to overcoming my bad habits?”

Let’s take a look at a common story.

In episode 6 I shared with you how Abdallah had been turning to pornography, and eventually chatting online, and eventually actually meeting up with women for sexual encounters. This started as a boy and continued into his marriage. And each time he faced the reality of his actions – for example when he saw his academic dreams were being destroyed, or when his wife caught him chatting with a girl – he would promise himself that he would never go back. Time and again – “I’m not ever going back”.

Like many, he was relying solely on his will power to solve his problem.

That’s where many people start from; however, “showing up” in recovery starts by embracing that this is not something where you can just flip a light switch and change.

In the very first episode we talked about how this will never work and the only way forward is to accept that recovery is a journey, it is a process, and you have to trust the process.

Now once you accept that, how do you move forward? You’re not relying on yourself anymore, you’re trusting there is a process and there are powers outside of you that will help you move forward. So now, what do you do??

The key, once you accept that there is a process to recovery, is to show up!

You see, the process is like an escalator. What happens if you stay on the escalator? You keep moving up! But what happens if you get off the escalator? You go nowhere.

By showing up you are staying on the escalator of recovery!

So what does that mean to you in practical terms?

It means knowing what step you need to take now, and taking that step.

If you haven’t yet reached out for support in your recovery, well that’s probably a step you want to take as soon as possible. Who is there in your locality you can reach out to? Have you explored the resources that we have at Purify Your Gaze to support you in your recovery?

If you’ve already joined a program like ours, are you watching the training material? Are you showing up in the community? Are you doing the monthly challenges?

If you’ve made certain commitments in your recovery plan are you implementing those commitments? Whether you’ve committed to reaching out for support, or keeping certain boundaries, or doing certain self-care habits everyday, are you doing what you committed to?

The process of recovery is like an escalator. What happens if you stay on the escalator? You keep moving up! But what happens if you get off the escalator? You go nowhere.

Why we have a hard time showing up

What I’m saying here may seem so simple, so why is it even worth discussing?

Well, you know as much as I do that even though we often know the step that needs to be taken, we still hesitate to take that step.

And that’s because showing up has an inner game and an outer game.

The outer game we already talked about – it’s about being present within the process of change you are undergoing.

But the thing that trips people up is the inner game, those moments in life when they don’t “feel like” showing up and doing the work

Have you ever been at such a low point in life and you knew you were avoiding the things you “should” be doing but it just felt so impossible to just show up and do the simple things, there was so much resistance inside?

One member shares how he experiences what he calls a “rock bottom” in his recovery:

Sometimes, I like to wait for the storm to pass, I stay at rock bottom hoping that I would eventually get tired of the low. The thing is though, addiction is progressive and rock bottoms can get even lower. You find yourself making breakthroughs in your addiction. You become numb to the regular stuff, you get used to the guilt and then it’s a downward spiral from there.

That’s what can happen, it’s a very real possibility, because the truth is that the storm doesn’t pass, but you pass through the storm. This member continues…

You don’t have to put up with it though so you have to do the work especially when you don’t feel like it.

The inner game of showing up

Alright, so we need to show up even when we don’t feel like it. But why do we not feel like it?

The reason people resist showing up to the task at hand is because their mind is telling them that showing up equals admitting they are wrong. And the pain of accepting that seems so overwhelming at times, that it is more appealing to wallow in the misery of inaction and shame, than to step up and take responsibility for moving forward.

In order to show up with sincerity wherever you are in recovery, it may mean accepting that “I was wrong. I indulged and I was wrong. I refused to take action and I was wrong. I spent years going down the wrong path and I was wrong!”

Ouch – can’t you see why it’s so hard to accept that and do what it takes to take the necessary steps forward?

Now how do you overcome that?

I’ll do it for you. It’s OK that you were wrong. It’s OK that you made a mistake. It’s OK that you made a terrible, terrible mistake!

You see, you made a mistake, but you are NOT a mistake. Allah did not create you as a worthless being. Allah created you as a noble being. And making mistakes does not take your nobility away from you.

Can’t you see how if you accept that it’s OK to make mistakes, you’ll be more likely to own up to the mistakes you make in life and move forward and show up?

In fact, when I started to appreciate the value of embracing my own mistakes and shortcomings, I embraced a new nickname for myself. Bara who makes blunders! It’s been great fun embracing my own mistakes! And it also meant I didn’t have to wallow in my blunders and I could simply move on to the next step of the process, which is to learn a lesson and move on.

You see, you made a mistake, but you are NOT a mistake. Allah did not create you as a worthless being. Allah created you as a noble being. And making mistakes does not take your nobility away from you.

Show up and take that step!

So hopefully now you see how oftentimes success is as simple as showing up, and that if you let go of the internal beliefs that you must control the situation and you move beyond wallowing in your mistakes, you open yourself up for the process of change to work itself within you.

So my question to you now is – what is that next step of yours? What is that thing that you know needs to be done yet you find resistance inside?

If that voice inside of you says it’s time for action, I say respond to that voice despite the fear you hear inside and “just show up!” Send that email! Pick up that book! Reach out to that support person! Make that phone call! Show up show up show up!

Now if you’ve been struggling with unwanted habits and you haven’t yet reached out for support then one way for you to “take that step” is to get one the phone with one of our team members at Purify Your Gaze.

And the way that starts out is by you applying for a 45 minute Strategy Session with us. This is where you’ll get some private one-on-one time with a member of our team to talk about your recovery and to create a strategic plan to help you break free from your unwanted sexual behaviors.

I’ll let you know that to make sure that those who apply are really committed, there is a $100 deposit for this session, which will be fully refunded back to you after the session, unless you enjoy the session so much that you decide you’d like to apply your deposit toward joining us in our longer-term program.

You can learn all about this opportunity at

The strategy session is a great way to get on that escalator of growth – remember real progress happens by showing up even when it’s uncomfortable, not by merely willing your way forward.

And with that I’d like to thank you so much for spending some time with me talking about this Power Tip, which I pray and hope will help you make leaps toward permanently breaking free and achieving the life that you dream of.

Please do help me out, and if you can think of one person who needs to hear this message, go ahead and share it with them. Like this video so that I can know you found it useful. And finally if you missed any previous episode go to and check out all things related to this show over there.

W’asSalamu Alaikum wa rahmat Allah!