I'm a devout Muslim...and a raging alcoholic

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I’m originally from Pakistan, where I lived until my family immigrated to New York when I was seven. Where I’m from, there is no drinking; even ingesting the smallest amount used in cooking is strongly condemned. I work at a big investment bank, where heavy drinking is part of the culture and a necessary way to blow off steam after working a 16-plus-hour day.

My family doesn’t know I drink and I’ll do anything to keep it that way. I’m the oldest male in my family and am expected to take care of everyone else. I have an open relationship with my mom and can talk to her about everything, just not this. Every time she comes to visit, I have to clear out my apartment of anything that references drinking—posters, pictures, mugs, bottles, empty beer cans—and you have no idea how difficult it is to rid a guy’s apartment of that stale beer smell. I hate having to lie to my mom, but it’s for her own good—I wouldn’t want to make her think she raised a failure.

Being a Muslim isn’t just a religion, it’s a part of my identity. Even though I drink, I do everything else right: I don’t eat pork, I pray, I give alms. I even fast for the month of Ramadan, which has proved especially tricky since I can’t eat or drink anything from about 4am to 8pm for 30 days. It’s meant to teach sacrifice, but I don’t think I should have to give up alcohol for the sake of a religious holiday when I never gave it up in the first place. So I just continue to have eight to ten drinks a night when I go out even though I’ve barely eaten all day and my tolerance is down. I really feel it the next morning when I’m hungover and can’t drink any water.

I love the social aspect of drinking. It makes everything more fun. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I’m sure if I were still living in Pakistan I wouldn’t have had a sip of alcohol in my life, but it’s not my fault my family brought me here to this country where drinking is the norm. I simply adapted. All right, enough with this. Go get me another beer.

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Anonymous
Anonymous

Most people would view this as hypocrisy but I view it more as a weakness or maybe even a sickness. I too am a Muslim and yes it is very hard to function socially outside of a Muslim network of friends, especially when it comes to work related socials. I try to isolate myself or become tighter with the Muslims around but there aren't too many and for the some that there are, they are college kids living the good life so to speak so really they'd actually look up to me as I am the older one here. Unlike you though Brother I was born and raised in America and only became Muslim a couple years ago so my long history of my self abusive habits tend to overwhelm me even after coming to tears while praying and reciting Quran. I believe Allah SWT knows best and hopefully He understands that I love Him more than anything and that I truly do wish I could live up to all of His expectations. May He have mercy on all of us who fail to always make the right choice in pursuit of Jannah. We're here as well.