When you think of the word “recovery” what comes to mind?
I know from the members at Purify Your Gaze, this word initially brought about feelings of resistance, fear, and loss of hope. But it did not stay that way.
I am eager to share with you some of their comments, as they describe in their own words how their definition of recovery transformed drastically, to something more hopeful, and empowering.
Without further ado, here are some of the comments:
Brother Waleed”Before, recovery meant getting clean. It was all about stopping harmful behavior. It was about the outward, the external.”
Sister Sameera”I thought recovery was for those with serious issues who just cannot function normally. I thought recovery was for those who have dug themselves so deep into a hole that they need major help to get out.”
Perhaps you also have similar thoughts:
- Maybe you think it’s just about stopping the unwanted sexual behaviors, once in for all, and something you do once in your life and that’s it. You can bury it somewhere deep in your past.
- Maybe you feel disappointed about yourself, as you question how can a practicing Muslim be struggling with unwanted sexual behaviors, that now you need to “recover?”
- Maybe you think you’re a loser and feel defeated, because you could not control yourself from engaging in your unwanted sexual behaviors, your desires.
- Maybe the word is scary, as it reminds you that you have a problem, and this is bigger than you, a big, dark, long path that looks impossible. And you’re looking for every possible way to ascertain that you don’t have a problem, or it’s not a big deal.
Whatever is the case, what I want you to know is that you’re not alone. It’s important though to go deeper and explore what this word means to you because our words carry meanings that impact us more than we think and realize. How you are looking at the word “recovery” could be the very thing that is holding you back from healing from your unwanted sexual behaviors.
Sometimes the meanings that we carry only change when we go beyond our fears and do the opposite of what our beliefs and meanings limit us to doing. And this is the experience of the Purify Your Gaze members. It’s as if through this path, another world full of beauty, and magnificence opened right before their eyes that drastically changed their vantage point of what recovery means to them.
Recovery to them, now means something much more than quitting the behaviour:
Sister Fatima”The words that first come to mind to define recovery are: freedom, surrender, feeling, living life with purpose, accountability, responsibility, ‘growing up’, vulnerability, pure and blessed intimacy, real and fulfilling relationships with friends, family, and others. This community, Alhumdulillah 🙂
Brother Zaid”For me, as the word implies, it means to “recover what I lost”, to find the connection to the core of my being that got disconnected as a child, to be capable of FEELING my heart, to be embodied and be human again. Too long have I retreated into the confines of my mind. Ya Allah, please help all of us find the majesty of Your design within us, and to feel you “closer than our jugular vein.” Ameen.”
Sister Sameera”Recovery now means support, family, and encouragement, and accountability through Purify Your Gaze.”
Brother Waleed”Now, recovery means so much more. It is about recovering everything that was taken from me, that I gave away, that I missed out on developmentally due to my sexually compulsive behavior. It is about recovering my connection with myself, with others, and with Allah (SWT). It is about recovering my manhood, my nobility, my integrity, my honor, and my sexuality. It is about learning to love myself and dream again like when I was a kid. It is about embracing new and wonderful possibilities and working towards them everyday. It is about reinitiating myself to life and living with new principles like radical honesty, integrity, and sexual purity.
Recovery is also about this community and about finding friendship and support from caring and gentle souls like we have here. Recovery is my chance at living a full and rich life. And I am trying to learn to love the process and look forward to the vision of where I hope to be in the months and years ahead.”
Brother Noor”Recovery reminds me of an ayah from the Qur’an (Surah Al-Ahzab, Verse 43):
“He it is who sends blessings on you, as do His angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of darkness into light: and He is full of mercy to the believers.”
Whenever I hear an ayah that includes “yukhrijakum min adhulumaati ila an-noor”, (He brings you out of darknesses into light) that to me is recovery.
During my pre-recovery period, I thought recovery meant from a physical injury such as break a bone or undergoing a surgery. Now, what I find interesting about that is if you break your wrist, for example, you have to wear a cast to let the bones heal. Or, if you undergo a surgery, you protect the area where you had stitches while you shower, etc. Those are boundaries. Similarly, we have “deep wounds” that need healing. And we need similar protections (i.e., boundaries) to allow our wounds to heal. May Allah deliver us one and all.”
As you may be able to tell from these heartfelt comments, recovery holds so much more meaning in the hearts of those who are actively seeking help for their unwanted sexual behaviors masha’Allah.
In the darkest of situations, that which used to bring so much pain, suffering and despair, recovery has allowed them to discover much hope, inspiration, and faith, by the tawfeeq of Allah SWT alone.
Perhaps you are in that situation as well, where the damage that your unwanted sexual behaviors have caused to you is hard to fathom, and perhaps you are not aware of how much it has permeated your life.
And this is what recovery is all about. Recovery is that opportunity to recover the lost and broken pieces of you and put them back together. You are recovering you, recovering your life, recovering your wellbeing, and recovering the person that is beneath the fears, sadness and emotions, that so desperately wants to come out.
You may be afraid of taking that first step of your own recovery, wondering how dark, scary, and uncertain this path will be like. But once you step into it, you will notice and experience, as these individuals have, all the goodness that can flow in your life because of it.
As unfinished and incomplete as that painting is on that canvas right now, those who are just a couple of steps ahead of you in their recovery wish for you to join them as well, to explore the vastness of the scenery together. You are certainly not alone in this path.
There is something beautiful that awaits you.