“Zeyad Ramadan help me…. I am sick of this I don’t know what to do. I’m disgusted with myself. I have lost hope with myself. I hate myself. I wish suicide wasn’t haram in Islam. I just dont want to exist anymore. If I die right now I know I’ll go to hell. I’ve my first exam in less than 2 days and I haven’t studied at all. I hate myself. I am a disgrace.” Perhaps you can relate to this brother’s feelings of despair after having an episode of sexually acting out. However, these same feelings are just a symptom of a harmful process that is happening at the same time as when you sexually act out. And the process is this: Each time you engage in your unwanted sexual behaviors, or slip into them, you are losing a part of yourself. It is similar to committing suicide on an installment plan. You’re killing yourself but it’s a drawn-out, prolonged painful process. Here is a snippet from a sister that conveys how the addiction resulted in her losing parts of herself: Sister I.”I led a secret life. I never felt whole. I was a fake. I didn’t feel that I was who I said I was or who others thought I was. Even when I was with others, I felt isolated and alone. I could never be my true self around them; it was like always having a mask on. And I kept everyone at arm’s length so that they couldn’t discover the real me. I couldn’t be open, vulnerable, or let others in. Because if the shell ever cracked, I was sure no one would ever accept the real, broken version… the real me. As a result, I was constantly searching for their validation and approval – their love – that would let me feel, even momentarily, good enough. I was always putting more and more pressure on myself to do well, to be perfect, to make up for the deficiencies I couldn’t deal with and others couldn’t know about.” As we can see from this sister’s example, the constant need to be someone she is not, to completely reject herself and to seek people’s approval is another manifestation of how the addiction is destroying and eating away at her very core, at that person she truly is deep down inside. The feelings of numbness, emptiness and toxic shame, that overtake you when you engage in your unwanted sexual behaviors are debilitating because it is more than just indulging in your behaviors unlawfully. Each and every episode of sexually acting out you begin losing your identity, your faith, your personality, and your sanity, and so much more. The scary question to ask is how many episodes will it take before you lose all of yourself to the addiction?