After a long week, the weekend is finally here, but for the Islamic activist, that doesn’t mean a couple of days of rest and relaxation. Their weekend routine starts early on Saturday morning with a volunteer effort downtown involving the homeless, followed by a working lunch with the organizing board to assess and plan events for the future.
Saturday evening and most of Sunday are blocked off with time to catch up on assignments for Islamic studies classes and another meeting raps up the weekend on Sunday night. On Monday morning it’s back to work, and then in the evenings it’s time for emails and more executive work for other nonprofit organizations.
Why we chase being “busy”
Such is most weeks, but for the activist struggling with sex addiction, this non-stop lifestyle is a conscious choice to avoid any bit of free time. Free time is seen as the enemy and an opportunity of Shaitan to cause them to relapse and fall further into despair. If “an idle mind is the devil’s playground” then the only way to fight addiction effectively is to never be idle.
Despite all efforts however, the activist still finds herself falling into relapse. The little gaps between activities remind her of just how much she has to complete and how exhausted she is. The weight of the responsibility feels too heavy to bear.
Sometimes we can be so selfless that we end up harming ourselves. The neglect creates a hole in our well-being that we fill with methods of distraction and destruction through addiction.
Everything feels like just “something to get done” and the passion she used to have is long gone. She stares at the full page of tasks in front of her and craves anything to distract her from it. She opens up youtube in a new tab and begins to binge on entertainment, this familiar sequence of events fast approaching a relapse.
Why your approach isn’t working
If this sounds like you, your approach is failing because of one simple reason: you’re tired. Going non-stop for so long is not expected of you and it’s completely contrary to how humans were meant to exist.
Think about athletes for example: at any level, from amateur to professional, training non-stop without any rest days leads to more harm than good.
Overtraining can cause muscle fatigue, injury and an overall lower level of performance in the long run. To build muscle, the athlete couples periods of high intensity training with adequate rest and nourishment. Why then, do we neglect to apply the same ideas to our daily lives?
Needing a break is natural
Contrary to popular belief, being tired and needing a break is completely okay. We often relate falling into relapse with failure and the inability to work hard enough, so our natural inclination is to push even harder afterwards by adding even more to our schedule to fill in supposed “gaps”.
However, without opportunities to rest and recharge in a healthy way, we become stuck in a perpetual cycle of unengaging work. Our only form of temporary relief is to resort to unhealthy habits like pornography and the addictive cycle continues.
Find your sources of renewal
The key to breaking out of this cycle is to slow down. It is absolutely necessary to find methods of healthy renewal that you can substitute into your routine. These breaks serve as rest stops along the journey of sobriety and allow you to rekindle the passion that propels you towards your goals.
When was the last time you were able to quiet your mind of all responsibilities and take some time out for you? For me, pushing out involvement in certain organizations was essential so that I had time for activities just for me, like going to a coffee shop to journal for an hour or so. During this time, there are no deadlines, no expectations from your peers or the community, no pressure to perform.
The time is for you alone and physical, emotional, spiritual and mental nourishment is your goal. Activities like painting, yoga, meditation or prayer, sports and martial arts, or even reflective walks have all been used by many and proven to work, but the activity should be as personal and specific to you as you can make it.
Sometimes we can be so selfless that we end up harming ourselves. The neglect creates a hole in our well-being that we fill with methods of distraction and destruction through addiction. But being a little selfish and taking time out for ourselves to slow down allows us healthy renewal.
Then we can experience true sobriety and live life with passion and real energy. With this kind of engagement, we can push the limits of our individual capacities, and we end up truly benefiting ourselves and everyone around us.