In the name of Allah [SWT], the Most Beneficent, the Merciful.
By the grace and ability of Allah SWT, I was Alhumdulillah recently able to celebrate six months of sobriety, and I have been asked to share my reflections on this milestone.
I admit, I have some reservations about writing this. Why me?
Some of my fellow brothers and sisters in recovery also have 6 months, a year, two years, even several years of sobriety, Masha’Allah! What can I possibly contribute?
Clearly my inner addict is throwing some pretty negative self-talk my way! I just hope and pray that I, like each and every other member of this Community, can offer a unique perspective on this process.
Alhumdulillah now, after nearly 4 years since starting the Purify Your Gaze Program, I have finally begun to understand and appreciate what sobriety means, and am realizing that it is definitely not the same as abstinence.
I will share some of what I have learned here:
First and foremost, complete and absolute powerless and dependence on Allah SWT is the foundation of recovery.
The second we forget our true reality as slaves of Allah SWT and consider ourselves to be self-sufficient, we will once again become slaves to our desires and weaknesses.
Ustadh Zeyad outlines this beautifully in the Purify Your Gaze Program’s modules and there are many threads in the Purify Your Gaze Community forums which address this topic.
For myself personally, I felt an immense shift when I began talking to Allah SWT regularly. By talking, I mean conversing with Him.
This seemed scary at first. How could I talk to my Lord, the Creator of the universe as if I’m talking to a friend over a cup of green tea?! It seemed crazy and even blasphemous.
It started one day earlier this year when I was deciding whether or not to leave my Masters Program. I knew I wanted to, and eventually did, but it was a very difficult decision for a number of reasons.
“For myself personally, I felt an immense shift when I began talking to Allah SWT regularly. By talking, I mean conversing with Him.”
– Sr. Iqra
For months I felt stressed and I had barely a month of sobriety when one day I just asked Allah SWT for help and for Him to guide me since I felt truly lost and confused.
It wasn’t after prayer or while I was making du’aa, but rather as I sat there feeling stuck and wondering what to do with my life.
It helped and I began doing it more often, to the point where I was talking to Allah SWT throughout the day; whether about leaving the Masters, or something upsetting a family member or friend had said or done, thanking Him for all the little ‘wins’ and daily pleasures like a nice meal, or even just conversing about nothing in particular.
SubhanAllah, it has made such a difference! I feel lighter, I’ve found that these conversations have led to making more duaa and most importantly, I just feel that I truly can trust in Allah SWT and that He knows best and is taking care of me. Alhumdulillah.
When I don’t talk to Allah SWT daily, I immediately feel like something is missing.
Allah SWT already knows every single thing we’re experiencing, thinking, going through and feeling and He loves us in a way that none of His creation ever can. When we turn to Him, He is always there. SubhanAllah!
The other thing which has helped me a great deal is self-care and accountability and support through the Purify Your Gaze Program. I know that seems like more than one thing but they are all linked, at least for me.
On a coaching call, immediately after my last relapse, Ustadh Zeyad told me to start an accountability thread in the Community forums where I would post daily on how my day went and whether I fulfilled the items on my Self-Care tracker.
I’m still writing on this thread regularly Alhumdulillah and I have the incredible support of Community members who take the time to read my updates and offer advice, feedback and accountability.
It has really helped me personally to know that I must not only maintain my self-care but that I must report daily to the whole community on whether or not I am doing so.
It’s also essential to have someone who you have opened up to who you can call up, text, or meet up with if possible.
We have been escaping the real world for so long that it’s essential to have real human connections beyond cyberspace.
Many of us have our accountability buddies Alhumdulillah but it may also be a family member, a friend, or a Purify Your Gaze Community member.
Alhumduilllah, this has been hugely beneficial for me as I always have a group of wonderful friends who I can turn to and be fully open, honest and vulnerable with.
Last but not least, coaching with Ustadh Zeyad is something which I recommend to every single person in recovery. I know it is has been greatly beneficial for myself and for past and current clients.
Yes, it may be difficult financially or for other reasons but ask Allah SWT for His help and to give you the means to pursue this very worthwhile and beneficial means of help.
Ustadh Zeyad can offer personalized advice, action steps and guidance that is not otherwise available. Alhumdulillah.
Recovery is a deeply personal journey and there is much more to sobriety than I have written here. I still have a long, long way to go but Alhumdulillah, sobriety so far has been wonderful.
It’s about being vulnerable with others, about being present [something I’m definitely still working on!].
It’s about reclaiming my love for art after suppressing and minimizing it for the last few years.
And it’s about constantly turning back to Allah SWT and asking Him for strength, patience, ability and courage.
I hope and pray that He blesses all of us with the true gift of lifelong sobriety. Ameen.