Recovery from alcohol, drug or any other substance abuse is always difficult, so you shouldn’t rule out any available source of help. Family and friends, though they can help, are not enough. Addiction treatment is holistic, requiring cooperation and treatment of the whole person. You also need professional help, medical and psychological – body and mind – but that still ignores one important avenue: spiritual. If you are a follower of the Islamic faith, then it may be helpful to look into Islamic addiction treatment centers.
Why Choose Islamic Rehab?
Faith, as a popular song once said, can move mountains. Faith-based addiction treatment also can aid in recovery, especially if the treatment is relevant to your faith. In the U.S., most people follow a Christian faith. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous – though not overtly Christian – were founded by people of Christian faith, not Islamic. While they do not exclude members of another faith or no faith, the 12 steps do make reference to “a Power greater than ourselves” and “God as we understood him.” The Lord’s Prayer is often recited at the end of meetings, not the Islamic Fatiha.
If you are a devout Muslim who follows the Islamic faith, you may feel excluded by specific references to another faith, and that could interfere with recovery. If the recovery treatment program references the Qu’ran, Muhammad and Allah, it may increase your chances of success. At least it may make you feel more comfortable.
Even if you aren’t a Muslim, if you feel lost and rudderless, Islam or some other faith could give you direction. Islamic recovery from alcohol and drug addiction in the U.S. sometimes is credited to the example and help of Malcolm X, who overcame his own addiction following conversion, and then worked to bring Islamic-based substance abuse recovery programs to incarcerated and urban African-Americans.
If you seek Islamic alcohol or drug recovery treatment programs, There are people, centers and resources that can help you.
What Makes Rehab Islamic?
Islamic rehab doesn’t mean necessarily that the drug and alcohol rehab programs or treatment centers take place in a mosque, or that they are conducted by a mullah or an imam. It just means that the drug and alcohol rehab programs or treatment centers, insofar as religion is a component, will reflect Islamic principles and references. Indeed Muslim clergy may be a part of your recovery treatment team, along with physicians and psychiatrists.
Islam teaches moderation in all things, but forbids intoxicants, sometimes even coffee. The Qu’ran both praises and condemns wine, but no one in recovery should drink alcohol until intoxicated. If you are a devout Muslim but still abuse alcohol and drugs, you may feel shame not only for transgressing against yourself and Allah but also against your community.
Malcolm X, in his Autobiography, wrote of the Nation of Islam movement’s “six-point therapeutic process” for drug rehab and recovery. While not an official Islamic program, it was based on Islamic principles. The process involved ex-addicts “fishing” for current addicts, making them realize that they are addicts, why they started using, and building them up until they could stop. The addicts in recovery in turn would then go on to “fish” for more addicts.
What Does Islamic Rehab Have In Common with Other Faith-based Rehabs?
Rehab for alcohol and drug addiction is mostly based on evidence. Alcohol or drug addiction is no longer believed to be primarily a moral failing. It is a chronic illness, perhaps a genetic predisposition, but not evidence of a weak will, sin or the will of Allah. Even Islamic rehab should reflect this.
All addiction recovery, including Islamic, begins with an acknowledgment that you need and want help, like confession. Then you must reflect on what alcohol or drug addiction has done to your life, your employment, your relationships with family and friends. Finally, repent and accept what you need to do to be a better and healthier person.
Substance abuse, according to Islamic teachings, is a sin – the Qu’ran states, “Intoxicants and gambling are abominations of Shaitan’s handiwork” – and as an addicted Muslim you or your loved one may need to address this aspect of addiction recovery. Guilt can be a powerful motivator for recovery, but it can also lead to despair, to the fear that nothing can be done, that no one can help, so don’t even try.
If you don’t give in to despair, the incentive to not disappoint the deity is powerful. And believing you have the deity’s help can make recovery easier. An Islamic spiritual counselor on site also can be a comfort. In Perspectives on Drug Addiction in Islamic History and Theology, Mansur Ali writes, “God may forgive [sin] out of divine grace when one sincerely repents.”
What Does Islamic Rehab Have In Common with Non Faith-based Rehabs?
Islamic rehab has a lot in common with non-faith-based rehab, too.
- Detox. Continued drug or alcohol dependence is dangerous, but sometimes stopping abruptly can be fatal. That’s why medically monitored detoxification – not stopping cold turkey on your own – is recommended. Safe alcohol or drug detox sometimes requires a gradual weaning or substitution of another, transitioning drug (medication-assisted treatment or MAT).
- Exercise/Nutrition. Addiction can lead to poor health, so physical activity and nutritious food can aid recovery, or at least allow the body to survive the rigors of recovery. Itisn’t un-Islamic. Muhammad taught that “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both.” Relaxation, movement and contemplation also can aid recovery. Endorphins released by the body during physical activity can even give you a temporary high (just don’t overdo it).
- Psychological Treatment. Getting the drugs out of your system and learning or adopting new habits isn’t enough if you don’t correct the underlying problem that led to addiction. Prayer, even Islamic prayer, won’t do it by itself.
- Dual Diagnosis Evaluation. As many as 40 percent of substance abusers also have a form of mental illness, a co-occurring disorder, according to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Whether addiction led to the mental illness or vice versa, both conditions have to be treated at the same time.
After Islamic Alcohol and Drug Rehab
No matter what your addiction, you will need aftercare. Addiction recovery, like faith, is a lifelong vocation. The best information available strongly suggests there is no cure, only control. The failure and recidivism rate for addiction is high – estimated at 40% to 60% by the National Institute on Drug Abuse – but is comparable to other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. You don’t stop stop taking insulin and go back to eating doughnuts if you’re diabetic.
Any rehab programs or centers that do not include aftercare are not first-rate. That’s why continued care after rehab is important. This can include further therapy, individual and group, regular physician visits and some form of support group. There are Islamic 12 step programs, including Millati Islam, and there may be others.
Whether you’re aSunni or Shia Muslim, observant or non-observant, active or lapsed, help is available through rehab treatment programs and centers. Just look and ask for it.