Salam brothers. Canadian brother here. I’m a long-time lurker of this subreddit and I just wanted to let you all know I really appreciate what you guys are doing here and I wanted to share my own story of addiction to help encourage some of the brothers who are still struggling.
TL;DR: I slapped together a video if you prefer go watch.
When I was a teenager, I got in the habit of listening to a lot of music. And I’m not talking about just listening passively, occasionally. I’m talking about spending somewhere between 6 to 10 hours a day just listening to music and exploring different genres and bands and whatnot.
It got so bad that I pretty much stopped going out. I stopped doing my schoolwork. I got in a lot of trouble with parents. I had no friends. That’s literally all I would do, just listen to music (and play video games).
And looking back, this really affected my personality. I started to become very secular. I moved away from Islam and its teachings. I stopped praying. I became very westernized in my perspective on the world. This whole idea of “you live only once”, “enjoy life while you can”, “only God can judge me”, etc.
And I also became very depressed. Not to the point of being suicidal but it was pretty bad. I used to get into a lot of very depressing music. Things that would enable me to wallow in my misery more passionately. I spend the whole day with a constant headache, self-doubts, thoughts that I wasn’t good enough, thoughts that the world was out to get me. I felt like I had no future, I had no way out. Because of some family issues, which I blame myself for, I had to move out and so I was on my own at this point.
Basically just a downward spiral of spending the whole day listening to music, getting depressed because I got nothing done and I had no friends or family, listening to more depressing music, going to bed and waking up and doing the same all over again.
But at some point, in the midst of my misery and depression, I really internalized that I didn’t want to live like this forever. I wanted to make a change in my life. I didn’t want to be a failure. I didn’t want to be a loser.
So that started my struggle with addiction. My active effort to get rid of this cancer from my life. And, to be honest, it took years for me to fully get away from my addiction. I tried reducing the time I spent listening per day. I tried going completely cold turkey. I tried to replace music was something else like audio books. Every single time I relapsed. Every time.
I know there’s so many of you on this subreddit that are going through that exact same phase right now. But, there is an end to this cycle. And what helped me break this cycle was Ramadan.
I swear by Allah, Ramadan is one of the greatest gifts we’ve been given. Ramadan is when we have desires, but we are required to stop ourselves from fulfilling them. We have to stop that impulsive act of eating as soon as we feel hungry.
And there was one year that I went into Ramadan with the mindset of, “If I can stop eating for a month, shouldn’t I be able to stop listening to music as well?”
And that was really a turning point for me. I prepared myself mentally before Ramadan. I got rid of all of my music playlists on YouTube, deleted all my music from my computer and my phone. I deleted my browser history to make sure I didn’t get anything auto-filled when using Google or YouTube. I removed anything that could pop up and remind me of music.
I went into Ramadan, and I came out music free. One of the happiest moments of my life. For the first time in maybe 10 years, I went a full month without listening to any music, whatsoever.
And I actually went another five months without listening to music after that before I eventually relapsed again. But it didn’t matter. This time I had confidence in myself. This time I knew that I could do this. I knew that I could get rid of my addiction. If I could go half the year without music, I could go way longer.
And when the next Ramadan came, I did the exact same thing. I prepared, I went through it, and I haven’t listened to music since. That was 3 years ago.
The struggle against addiction is a war of attrition. It’s a marathon. Maybe for some people, they can just quit cold turkey and that’s it. But for most of us, it’s a constant struggle over a long period of time.
I thank Allah for time. Time. The years I have alive. I thank Allah that he gave me these years so that I could overcome my addiction and that he gave me hope and a desire to better myself.
To those who here who are still struggling, may Allah make it easy for you and may Allah give you more than what he has given me.
And to those here who have already conquered their addiction, thank you for staying and encouraging and giving advice to your brothers on this subreddit. May Allah give you the greatest of rewards.
We’re all gonna make it brothers. May I meet each and every one of you in Jannah.