An interview with a person who has been addicted to various drugs/substances for the past seventeen years. He is his father’s only son, an entrepreneur, a loving and caring father of three girls and a struggling student of Quran and Hadeeths.
What has been your weakest point?
I have suffered a lot due to a lack of self-control. There have been times that I lost all of my control, when any friend initiated a plan. The mind-numbing urge can make a weak person go to extremes, without looking at the pros and cons of consuming a drug.
How did Deen help you in your withdrawal times?
Well, substance abuse also took away my biggest power – my Deen. I was bewildered; this is what drugs can do to an addict. They ruin a person psychologically and morally.
What suggestions do you have for the families who are in pain, as someone in their home suffers from addiction?
Talk to the addict as much as you can. Please, do not make the person feel responsible for each and everything that goes wrong at home. Avoid shaming them as much as possible, because the shameful remarks make the painful road to recovery worse and the next relapse is more intense than the previous!
You seem fond of poetry. How did poetry lift you up? Can you share a couplet that helped you in hard times?
Every time I read Allama Iqbal’s phenomenal poetry, it lifted up my soul to fight my Nafs. I feel Iqbal’s poetry is mandatory for spiritual recovery from drugs.
To my Muhammad be but true, and you have conquered me;
The world is nothing you will command my pen of destiny.
What role has the Quran played in the journey of your recovery?
Addiction is a calamity! The Quran lifted me up and enabled to continue fighting addiction as much as I could. I failed so many times due to my lack of self-control. I always knew I needed to enter Deen completely, rather than choosing selective parts to implement. It is the most powerful Book for the entire mankind!
Share an Ayah that you can relate to the most in this struggle to battle the urges every day?
فَبِأَيِّ آلَاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ
“So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?” (Ar-Rahman 55:13)
Allah (swt) gave me a brain, and I have been in denial all of my life. I have been ungrateful enough to disregard my own potential. We must take help from learned people and reconfigure our state of mind according to Shariah. I used to be very shy and started enjoying my loneliness, ending up in self-destruction. I should have reached out for transformation and help, accepting Allah’s (swt) favours upon me.
Are there any Sahabah that you think about in demanding times?
I always try to read about the hardships of the four caliphs of Islam, when I think about my own pain. That definitely gives me a boost to fight for another minute and another day.
What will you say to the youth, who are hooked to drugs from an early age?
Please, do not be shy. Talk to your immediate family and trust your parents, siblings and life partner only. Please, do not be scared to confront your father, for no one will help you more than your parents. They cannot put up even with a second of your life, which is indulged in this havoc-wreaking substance abuse. If you pick up the most beautiful rose, you will have to deal with the thorns. That is life of this world! Do not hold back because of the fear of a small prick. Whatever is bothering you and intensifying your urge, kindly, address it at home. Some fathers are strict but that is okay!
What is the importance of therapy and psychiatric treatment for addiction?
Therapy can alter your life perception but it must be done along with strengthening your relationship with Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (sa). Our Prophet (sa) faced social stigmas, pain, social boycott and what not! Please, show compliance to all the therapeutic procedures and regularly use Ruqyah with full faith of it being the best medicine for your calamity of addiction.
How did you deal with the guilt of breaking Allah’s (swt) laws?
This guilt has damaged me the most to be honest. It shattered me, when I needed a boost! For a decade I was stuck in the cycle of Tawbah (repentance). I could not keep my promises to my Rabb, myself and my family. The guilt killed me. I still need some cognitive and spiritual training, where my deviated mind is assured that Allah (swt) is Ghafoor-ur-Rahim and my true, rock solid repentance will be accepted. I have cried in Sujood for hours to get rid of this evil, but I always got back to square one. I sometimes felt that Allah (swt) had put a seal on my heart that prevented me from reaching the true potential of Momin.
In your journey of eliminating drugs, what have been your regrets or blunders that you would not want anyone else to make?
Being an introvert and a shy person, I had always made the blunder of planning the evil peer gathering to avoid uncomfortable family or friends’ gathering. My shyness has forever been under the shadow of the sick substances that I have sniffed, injected and consumed. I could not address my shyness early on, and the fear of socialization along with the peer pressure got me stuck. For an addict, the ability to say no to an immoral invitation is as burdensome as a mountain! So if there is anything you need to address and solve, I would say do it right now. As soon as you can, talk to your parents and request them to open the doors of communication. Confide in your life partner in an apologetic way and take help from him or her. Please do not ignore the innocence of your kids. Your family needs you. Nip the evil in the bud and you are good to go!
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
“Say: O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Az-Zumar 39:53)
Hiba prays to Allah (swt) to grant ease and guidance to all the souls who are battling the trials of substance abuse. Ameen!
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