Religious husband succumbed to alcohol for anxiety


Question: I’ve been married for 20 yrs now. My husband has been a good man, studied deen, and has so much knowledge mashaAllah. However, the last two years have been the worst. He was diagnosed with mental health issues after becoming a different person overnight. He’s currently medicated and seeing a psychiatrist regularly. He started drinking alcohol which I discovered last year. He has stopped and started numerous times, saying this is the only thing that helps his intense anxiety. His psychiatrist has told him he couldn’t drink. He feels like dying when he’s like this, and he fights every day to live. It breaks my heart, I still love him and don’t want my marriage to fail, but I don’t know how much longer I can try. How do I treat someone who is fighting these demons?
I am torn between anger and ignoring him when he drinks, and trying to help him to stop. I’ve tried both, and nothing helps. No one in his family cares to help. And I feel so alone and so much shame on his behalf. I’ve told him to start praying, but in his state of depression and mania, he says he cant shower let alone, pray. He will not shower for weeks unless I force him.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you are going through so much pain and suffering from your husband and his condition.

Addiction

Know that your husband has an addiction and sickness and cannot control his actions in this state. The only way he will ever get out of this is with love and support, and you seem to be the only one who is providing it. Please use as many resources as possible to help you with this. It is excellent that he is seeing a psychiatrist, but it is not enough. Please contact this rehab center for Muslims in Sydney and ask them if there is a center closer to you. Also, consider placing him in rehab for his addiction:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-13/drugs-alcohol-addiction-forbidden-muslim-community-rehab/12225578
https://www.rehabmelbourne.com.au/
https://www.rayhaderclinic.com.au/
And try this resource for online help:
https://www.addictioncenter.com/treatment/faith-based-drug-and-alcohol-rehab/muslim/

A means for drawing closer to Allah

I can’t give you concrete advice about making him better; you will need to consult a combination of professionals for that. However, I can tell you that if you see this as a test from Allah, and turn to Him, rely on Him, and endure through this, your reward will be immeasurable, and your Lord will not abandon you.

Be the religious rock of the family, be an example of fortitude, prayer, patience, devotion, kindness, positivity, and gentleness for your children and husband, and your goodwill will not go unrewarded. You honestly deserve a medal of honor for your hard work and devotion to him, and I pray that your husband comes out of this and is completely healed.

This is a tremendous opportunity for you to get closer to your Lord through du`a, ultimate submission to His will, and contentment with His decree. Therefore, channel all of your pain into discourse with your Lord in the depths of the night and wait patiently for Allah to send you what is best in the timing and manner which He deems fit, without rushing or being impatient.

Self-care

Please take care of yourself during this trying time, as you will experience caregiver burn-out. Take some time out for yourself every day, and don’t feel guilty about it. Focus on getting exercise, fresh air, healthy food, tea, coffee, and make sure to see friends that can help and support you and not judge you. Consider taking a course at Seekers for spiritual elevation and increasing your knowledge. Don’t be ashamed of his sickness; Allah is the one who sent the problem, and Allah can take it away, remember that how you will deal with it is how you are dealing with Allah. Consider homeopathy and naturopathy; both have helped me a lot.

Most importantly, remember this prophetic hadith: “Wondrous are the ways of a believer for it is good in every affair of his, and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer. If he has an occasion to feel delighted, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.“ [Muslim] Trust that Allah will make him better and do your best for him, spiritually, emotionally, and medically. May Allah give your family the very best in 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, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.