Over the years, I’ve come to believe that each of us is addicted to something (or a number of things) in one way or another. This addiction can be positive or negative; it can be dangerous or completely safe, but it’s an addiction nevertheless.
I define addiction as a compulsive feeling that drives you towards a thing or activity, and which if you stopped yourself in one way or another you start feeling some type of withdrawal symptoms.
When we think of addictions, we normally think of drug addicts, alcohol or pornography addiction. Yet there are other forms of addiction which are seemingly ‘harmless’ e.g. addiction to facebook/twitter/Blackberry, addicton to work, addiction to sleep..etc.
Can You Flip Addiction on its Head?
My question today is: since addiction is such a powerful force that sometimes is hard to resist, can we harness this propensity to be addicted & get ourselves addicted to positive things?
Can we get addicted to Salah for example? Or to the Quran? Or to giving Charity? or performing Hajj/Umrah? Or even get addicted to doing something positive in the community or to what we passionately believe in?
Why Are You Addicted?
In order to understand how we can get addicted to such positive activities, we need to understand why we get addicted in the first place:
There are two triggers for addiction:
1) It drives us towards pleasure.
2) It drives away pain and makes us forget our life problems. A lot of the powerful addiction substances have both triggers in them, e.g. alcohol and drugs give pleasure to their users AND numbs their reality helping them forget their problems.
Get Addicted to Positive Habits!
So with that in mind, we can now better answer the question posed above; how can we get addicted to powerful positive habits?
1. We need to derive a great sense of pleasure from them; let’s take reading Quran for example.
If you want to get ‘addicted’ to reading Quran and by addicted, I mean it becomes the habit you love to do all the time and in fact you might even get withdrawal symptoms if you don’t read it for a few days, then you need to understand the Quran, appreciate the Quran, love the Quran and really enjoy reciting it in order to derive immense pleasure from such habit.
Uthman Bin Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) once said: ”If our hearts were pure, we would never be tired from reading the Quran.”
2. The positive habit needs to be able to drive away pain; let’s take another example, Salah.
If whenever you’re faced with affliction or trial or even a little bit of stress, you turn to Salah, won’t you be addicted to Salah and love Salah?
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) used to say ”O Bilal, give us comfort with it (i.e. Salah)”.
Not only will your problems wither away with the power of a sincere salah, but you’ll gain reward from Allah and feel much better afterwards.
3. Addicton doesn’t come overnight, it builds over time
This is an important point, if you notice any ‘addiction’ you have, e.g. constantly checking Facebook or e-mails, this didn’t suddenly happen – you gradually developed an addiction to it and then can’t stop yourself (from checking facebook/e-mails, etc.).
So keep in mind that any positive addiction you want to develop needs time, you simply need to constantly build that habit into your life and soon enough it’ll become a positive addiction that you’ll enjoy, insha’Allah.
I want you today to take a good look at your life and ask yourself what are you really addicted to?
What are the things that you can’t stop doing, or feel depressed/down/frustrated if you stop yourself from doing? If these are good/positive addictions, that’s great, keep them and harness them. If these are bad/negative addictions, try to replace them with new positive ones and work your way to gradually unwind/withdraw from the negative addiction until it disappears from your life, insha’Allah.
(P.S. Speaking of addiction, if you or someone you know is finding themselves addicted to pornography or haram sites, I highly recommend my good friend Zeyad Ramadan’s website www.PurifyYourGaze.com He’s got a great program with proven results to help you get out of this addiction, insha’Allah!)