How Can I Recover from Porn and Lower My Gaze?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I was exposed to porn at the age of 11 years and then became addicted. But for six months with the help of Allah, alhamdulillah, I stopped. I am not fully recovered. I am ashamed to say this I can not control my gaze even to my mahram ladies.

How should I recover from this and also recover my mental health? I can not afford a psychologist.

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you tremendously for overcoming this addiction and may you continue to increase in goodness and healing.

Lowering the Gaze

Lowering the gaze is obligatory if you find yourself attracted to the ladies in your immediate family. It says in the Reliance of the Traveller, “(…) And any permissible looking that leads to temptation is unlawful.” If temptation also occurs through other means, such as hugging, then you must avoid that as well. Continue to do this

Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity, also known as neural plasticity, or brain plasticity, is the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization. It is when the brain is rewired to function in some way that differs from how it previously functioned. Because of neuroplasticity, our brains constantly change in healthy ways that help us learn and complete tasks more efficiently.

Yet, supernormal stimuli such as porn can trigger measurable changes that can influence our lives in unhealthy ways. This is why you are finding yourself attracted to the mahram in your family. Porn has made your mind deviate from what is healthy and normal, and desire what is repulsive. But don’t lost hope. Be grateful that it hasn’t gotten further out of hand than it could have. Please listen to this talk by Shaykh Hamza which touches on this:
The Issue of Pornography with Muslims – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Recovery

Avoiding a relapse from porn is harder than quitting it in the first place, and maintaining your sobriety, so to speak, will take a mountain of effort. Staying away from it for six months is already incredible, and I am sure that you can keep it out of your life for good, by the grace of Allah.

Please try these steps:

  1. Pray five times a day, and learn the meaning of every word of your prayer;
  2. Ask Allah after every prayer to keep you from slipping, supplicate often;
  3. Avoid all triggers;
  4. Keep yourself busy with exercise, sports, supportive friends, hobbies, volunteering with the poor, and especially Islamic classes to learn your religion;
  5. Read the book of Allah every day and study the meanings;
  6. You have many special prayers and times at your disposal, use them: the Prayer of Need, the last hour of Friday before maghrib, the Prayer of Tawba, etc.;
  7. Pick up a completely new project, task, or job where you build a skill set that will help you later on;
  8. Use these resources to recover:
    Three-Step Recovery Model
    What Is Porn Addiction Withdrawal? Symptoms and Guide to Recovery
    Porn Addiction Relapse

Please see these links as well:
A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation
I Am in Recovery from Sex Addiction. How Do I Tell My Prospective Wife This?
Finding God Through The Chains Of Pornography Addiction

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.