A Journey Through Alcoholism and Abuse, to Islam and Peace
By Crystal Daulton
As an adopted child, I always felt a longing for love. In school I felt like an outcast. I lived in a tough neighbourhood and was attracted to the lifestyle of the streets. At 13 I took my first drink. The liquid courage saturated my body and gave me a false sense of belonging. I would sneak out of my parents’ house to drink and hangout with boys. I would lose my virginity at the tender age of 13.
During my adolescent years I had my my first brush with Islam. A woman in my neighbourhood invited me to the masjid- there was something about her that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I was excited by this woman’s invitation to the masjid. I don’t remember much about that first trip to the masjid other than the fact that the ladies were separated from the men.
Aside from this, my youth was filled with bad choices. At 19 I gave birth to my first born. A beautiful baby girl with a round face with curly hair. By this time alcohol began to take its grip. At 26 I was a full blown alcoholic living in public housing with 4 small children, with little education and no support. I had the responsibilities of a mother, but the little girl inside of me still needed nurturing. My ability to be a good mother was over shadowed by my alcoholism. Eventually my children and I found ourselves homeless living in a shelter. It was here I met another Muslim sister. She took me under her wing. She shared food with me and gave me my first Islamic clothing.The only thing I remember from this, is my slim frame drowning within the golden fabric. I did not keep in touch with the sister but I’ll never forget her kindness.
In the years that followed, my children were in and out of foster care. I knew my life had to change. I was a prisoner in my own mind. I felt empty. I had nowhere to turn to, except God. I remember thinking in a drunken yet sombre state that I was going to be a good Christian or Muslim. Up to this point I had attempted to practice Christianity but my life remained unmanageable.
I came to meet a man who treated me like I was special, He bought me things and took me to places I had never been. He prayed, but in a way I had never seen. He told me he was Muslim, and told me about Islam. I shared my casual meetings with the Muslim sisters earlier in my life. He would later disclose he was looking for a wife. That was the first time I ever heard a man utter the word wife concerning me. It was during this time I stumbled into an Islamic store and tried on a hijab. I looked at my reflection in the mirror and for the first time, felt pride within myself.
I visited the masjid along with my future husband. The women looked so poised yet so humble. The atmosphere was filled with peace and tranquility. I soon got married amidst a flurry of excitement at the promise of a new life and a new start, and my husband taught me more about Islam. I later took my shahada.
The next several years that followed, I lived as an alcoholic house wife in which I bore two more children. My husband had become controlling and abusive. I had managed to hang on tentatively to my six children for 7 years between blackouts and bruises but then CPS would remove my children from my custody yet again.
My husband went to jail for abuse and I found myself homeless again. I hit rock bottom. Oh, how I wanted to change. The seed of Islam was planted in me, but had yet to sprout. I had attended a support group for my drinking while living in a shelter. I had been sober a few days. It was at this support group I met a Muslim brother who helped me get into a sober living house. I enrolled in a drug and alcohol treatment centre. Early sobriety was scary but with Allah’s help I continued to stay sober, got my own place and got my children back. I even went back to school and graduated with studies in drug and alcohol addiction counseling.
In Surah Al-Araaf (7:43) Allaah says “…And they will say all the praise and thanks be to Allah who has guided us to this. Never could we have found guidance were it not that Allah guided us.”
Alhamdulillah Allah has guided me to Islam and chosen me to be Muslim, just as He has chosen you, too. Islam is a way of life. A direction on a straight path and a finding of purpose. I now feel I am living up to my potential. I no longer feel emptiness in my heart. I now have closure to my past; it was the qadar (fate) of Allah. Islam has taught me to become a better mother – I even like the reflection looking back at me in the mirror. None of this would be possible without Allah.
To those who are reading this, hold on to the rope of Allah, be patient with yourself on your journey in Islam. You will continue to grow in every aspect of your life. People may not understand, but as they see you grow and become content with your faith, you will become an example for others.
May Allah continue to protect every one of you and keep you firm on the path Ameen.
About the author:
Crystal Daulton attended the Los Angles Training institute of Drug and Alcohol Counseling and is a registered drug and alcohol technician. A native of Pittsburgh Pa, Crystal is an aspiring writer who resides in Lancaster Ca, with her six children.