This paper is a brief overview of addiction among Muslims in North America. There is an increasing number of Muslims in North America coming with experiences of trauma as a result of the violence and war occurring in parts of the Middle East. These individuals often experience depression, difficulty integrating into Canadian culture, and intergenerational conflict as the new generation adapts to Canadian culture faster than the parents want to accept. These difficult life experiences can ultimately lead to addiction. In this paper, I will identify addictions in general and alcohol addictions specifically, the Islamic principles regarding addictions and the experiences of addicts in the Muslim community. In my work as a Muslim Family Support Service Worker, I encountered a Muslim client with an alcohol addiction. I will discuss his case using the Metaframeworks approach. Addiction
Addiction has many faces and it affects people from all backgrounds. It does not discriminate between race or religion; however, it does affect people’s lives in different ways. Addiction is a very complex brain disease that impacts 1 in 4 families (Hoffman & Froemke, 2007). Addiction is triggered in several ways, including community, family, peer, and work environments. Dysfunctional communities and families pose an increased risk of addiction. Friends are also a major factor; having peers with addictions increases the likelihood of addiction. Another major trigger is stress; when experiencing stress, people who respond in a destructive manner have a much greater risk of addiction. Choosing to drink alcohol when stressed can lead down a very dangerous path, as opposed to making constructive decisions to spend time with friends and family, go to the gym, or see a therapist to address the causes of stress (Kipper & Whitney, 2010). In addition to impairing functioning, alcohol addiction severely impairs relationships. Alcoholics quickly learn manipulation, deception, and lying techniques to avoid the truth. Their untruthfulness is often what destroys their relationships with loved ones (Garrett, 2012). The cause and impact of addiction varies for every individual; however one thing is certain, “brains harmed by addiction can be repaired. It may take more than one try; it most certainly won’t be an easy road, but it can be done” (Hoffman & Froemke, 2007).
Addictions and Islam
The Islamic religion, similar to other religions, has restrictions on alcohol. However, Islam differs in that it instructs total abstinence of using intoxicants. In the holy text, called the Quran there are several verses prohibiting the consumption of alcohol, "O you who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed" (Ali, 1983). Alcohol is forbidden because it is considered to alter to use of the mind therefore leading people to be involved in other forbidden behaviors. Alcohol addictions and Islam is an understudied topic and there are many gaps in the literature on the topic. Although Muslims may not like to admit, there are Muslims who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. The prohibition of alcohol in Islam works in two ways. There is a relationship between the number of Muslims who drink alcohol and their degree of religiousness. The more religious Muslims are, the less likely they are to consume alcohol. In a national alcohol survey conducted in the United States, researchers found that Muslims were among the four religious categories with the highest rates of abstention (Michalak, Trocki, & Bond, 2007). On the other hand, religion can be a major factor preventing treatment because alcohol addiction among Muslims is often hidden from others for fear of being shunned by the community. Families of addicts often cover up...