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Breaking Free of Illicit Addictions

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Mr.President View Drop Down

Joined: 07 July 2014
Location: United Arab Emirates
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    Posted: 07 July 2014 at 12:59am
As'Salamu Alaikum,

I hope everyone is having a perfect and blessed Ramadan. Introducing myself, I am a licensed professional counselor with 11 years of experience in counseling youth for different problems.

The problem I came across most was the problem of being addicted to different sexual habits. So, from this Ramadan, Insha'Allah I will be educating you about ways to leave those habits. The main reason that young people are not able to leave is because they think there is no way to leave these powerful habits, that almost control your mind. That's not the case, there is a way, and alot of young Muslim men and women are leaving those habits.

"Why We Become Addicted in the First Place"

There's this fact of life, that I've come across more and more in my career as a licensed counselor; we fear that which we do not understand, and that fear paralyzes or hampers are ability to react.

The same goes for addiction. The fear of that powerful sexual urge taking over our mind, mixed with a concoction of guilt and hopelessness over the present condition, blocks out your will-power to fight it. So what do we do? We attack the basic building block of sexual addiction, which is a lack of understanding.

That, Ayyu'hal Muslimoon, is the root of addiction. The difference between an addict and someone in recovery, and the key element that a counselor seeks to instill is developing an understanding of the underlying process. The more you understand what goes on inside you, the less you fear it. The less you fear it, the more your possible you feel to fight it, and the more your will-power starts to flex its muscles. To the point that you break free of sexual deviations, perversions etc.

On the top its a sad and often frustrating mix of sinning, repenting, crying, feeling the urge crawl up again, sinning, repenting, crying, and so on.

OK, PAUSE. Clear your mind.

Here's what's going on inside of you. The way Allah has created your existence, pretty much everything you do is based on an internal chemical process. The framework of sexual addiction is based on Dopamine, a brain chemical. The job of Dopamine is that it is a neurotransmitter which sends signals from one neuron to the other. So, it's pretty well-embedded into your mental system, and consequently your body, and that's why the process is powerful enough to start getting you to do something that you don't want to do.

Carrying on, Dopamine in itself is not something bad, it is THE natural chemical that helps you create bonds with others, emotional linkages, alertness, learning, creativity etc. It is the imbalance of dopamine in excessive levels that leads you to develop addictions. That imbalance basically hijacks the pathway of the brain related to reward and pleasure. There's other brain chemicals involved as well, but let's not get too technical.

Now that you understand the key element of this process, what happens is that what you call "addictive behavior" is really the result of your body becoming dependant on the release of those chemicals. Why? Because your brain's reward pathway is now hijacked and dependent on this stuff for getting it's high, it's daily dose of emotional surge, sexual gratification etc.

So let's implement that into what goes on in daily life with any sex addict. First, people get illicit thoughts, right? The thoughts create a feeling of euphoria and sensation in the body, and that makes you look forward to acting it out physically. Well, here's what really happened. The moment you got that first thought--since we're Muslims, the moment Shaitan put that Waswasa or whisper in you--those first thoughts triggered a chemical process in your body, the one that you are dependent on. And that chemical process then triggers the sexual domino that leads to sinning.

Also, important to mention, the way Allah has designed the brain, the more you utilize a certain functional pathway, in this case the reward pathway, the more that pathway will strengthen itself. Your habit taking over you is actually that pathway becoming stronger and stronger. The pathway does not know it is becoming a source of sin, it is merely functioning according to its biological function.

In a nutshell, that's what causes people to become sexually addicted. So sexual addiction is essentially just the strengthening of the reward pathway in the brain along negative lines. Now that you understand what goes on, Insha'Allah you should be able to conjure up the strength to say that all you've gotta do is reverse that mental process.

How? By utilizing your pathways differently. By attaching your mental connotations of reward, pleasure, gratification to other alternative activities. It's as simple as that. But it's not always that smooth, right? I mean it's not just the brain we're talking about, it's about the presence of that eternal public enemy, Mister Shaitan. Well, that's where the spiritual medicine comes in. The duas, the recitation of the Book that serves as "a healing for (the diseases) in your hearts" (10:57), then the Istighfar to open up the doors of guidance and mercy etc.

At the same time, we need to alter our lives to make way for alternative activities which help channel the brain's pathways to normality, and finish the chemical imbalance that led to your addiction in the first place.

The only problem is, especially in the times we live in, we don't usually find that incentive ourselves. Plus, the way this Ummah has been designed, one link pulls up the other. That's why, it's always good to get in-touch with people who are trying to change their lives, who are getting out of addiction with the help of their co-recovering addicts, counselors, religious scholars etc.

Now that you understand the problem, Insha'Allah you should have the clarity to see that it is not something that will destroy you to the point of no return. You can deal with it with the help of the Almighty. May Allah solve the problem of addiction, and finish the tribulation of explicit material from this planet, Ameen.

Any questions, feel free to pour your heart out

Edited by Mr.President - 07 July 2014 at 1:00am
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aabdullah014 View Drop Down

Joined: 04 July 2015
Location: United States
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aabdullah014 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 July 2015 at 7:01pm
How would we go about utilizing our pathways differently, or gain the "reward" experience from something else?
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