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Anonymous Mark wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a strong desire to go to Confession but am not sure if it is appropriate or not.

I'm currently battling an active drug addiction. I recently reached out for help and will be starting a rehabilitation program in a few days. Even though I have a plan in place, that I pray will give me the assistance I need to overcome this, I can't do it without help. I am still an active drug user.

  • Do I have to wait until I've successfully completed my rehab and am in full recovery before I can go to Confession?
  • Would it be a sin or invalid if I went now?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time,

Anonymous Mark

  { Does a drug user have to wait to successfully complete their rehab before going to Confession? }

Bob replied:

Mark,

It is not a sin to go; you have the intent of full repentance and amendment, although you realize you will likely fail in the short term. I would explain it to your confessor and he can help counsel you on some appropriate penance in the midst of this crisis. You may not have control of this addiction, but you can pray and fast in other ways that you do have control over. You will need frequent confession, daily rosary, fasting and other acts of penance all throughout your recovery. Consider how some alcoholic folk go to meetings all the time, even when sober for they understand their own vulnerability and weakness and the need to support others. You must adopt the same mind set. For me, daily mass has become my “meeting” because I’m a sick sinner who needs medicine everyday to do this walk. You need to become all in on your sobriety and ditch the excuses, otherwise you will die a sick slave to this evil.

You can make it, you were never meant for slavery, but that is what you have become. With God's help and your cooperation, freedom awaits.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

John replied:

Dear Mark,

By all means go to Confession. That will enable you to receive the Eucharist. Both Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, are encounters with Christ and strengthen us.

I battled addiction for decades . . . to no avail. It took God's grace to prompt me to surrender my life to Jesus Christ. The solution is not in our own actions or plans. Yes, we might need to take steps but the single most important step is giving the addiction to Jesus Christ. Place your faith in Him and Him Crucified. Make Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice the object of your faith. Jesus said:

"with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

But He also said:

"without me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

St. Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, that walk according to Spirit (Romans 8:1). and in the same chapter Paul makes it clear that it's only by the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells us, that we overcome the sin. (Romans 8:11)

We must really on Jesus Christ to sanctify us. We can't sanctify ourselves. The author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ is author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) We comply by surrendering to Him and placing our Faith in Him and His atoning Sacrifice on the Cross.

Now that doesn't simply mean mental assent. Our free will cooperation is required, but we must allow Him to work in and through us. And so the Sacraments, which are encounters with Christ that He gives us through the ministry of the Church, give us the strength to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. They strengthen our faith.

Virtually none of us are perfectly sorry when we go to Confession. By perfectly sorry I mean — our sorrow is motivated because we've offended God and not because of the consequences of our sin as it relates to us. So we go to Confession with partial sorrow or imperfect contrition. Through this sacrament however, we are able to tap into the Faith of the entire Church, including the souls being purified and the Saints in Heaven, all through the ministry of the priest, who acts as Christ. So absolution makes up for what is lacking in our imperfect sorrow and imperfect faith.

As Bob said, we must go with the intention to not sin again, even if we fear that, because of our addiction, habit, or human weakness, we will likely fall into our habits again. Nevertheless, we go place our faith in Jesus to do the work in us. He died for your addiction on the Cross 2,000 years ago brother.

Focus on that . . . He has set you free.

John

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