When I first joined a 12 Step group to overcome my addiction to pornography, I remember another member speaking with his sponsee after the meeting asking him to say the words “I love my addiction”. At the time, I believed this was very harsh, but now, after years of recovery work under my belt, I have come to realize the importance of stating I loved my addiction more than I loved God and other people around me. I was attached to my addiction which included the pleasure, the negative self-beliefs, the shame, the guilt, and the pain. Being able to admit my attachment to addiction and the powerlessness it brought, allowed me to to detach from it and attach to a loving God that could bring me joy and happiness (not always pleasure), positive self-beliefs, mercy, and forgiveness. This was not an easy task. For me, it required divine intervention which started by way of the sacrament of confession.
It would happen that one day I was leaving my therapy appointment, and I was filled with grief and shame for all the years I wasted in my addiction, and I feared that I was not worthy of love or forgiveness. My therapy appointment happened to be next door to the Cathedral (I know this was not a coincidence). I decided to stop in to the Church, which was not common for me, unless it was Sunday. At the time. I only went to Church out of obligation which was on Sunday. It would so happen the 12:15pm Mass was starting so I decided to stay. The Gospel for that day was when John called the Pharisees out for coming for baptism with wrong intentions, which the priest in the sermon related this to someone coming to the confessional wanting forgiveness with no intention for making their behavior right. This gospel and sermon most certainly convicted me because I knew I was the pharisees in that scripture passage. The miraculous thing was that confessions were being held after that Mass which I decided to participate in for the first time in many years. I was overcome with fear that if I confessed my sins of masturbation and pornography to the priest he would throw me out of the confessional and damn me to Hell. God gave me the courage to participate anyway. It was during this confession that I poured out those sins of masturbation and pornography use and first admitted to the priest that I couldn’t stop on my own. My Alleluia moment to finally admit my powerlessness. I had confessed these sins before but never had I admitted I was powerless and couldn’t stop. This priest, acting in persona Christi, showed me the mercy and forgiveness of this incredible sacrament by reminding me that God loves me and desires to help me overcome this addiction if I seek Him for help. Leaving that confession that day I was encouraged by hearing the words I am loved by God and He desired to help me to detach from my sins. From that day on, I began to believe the solution to detaching from the pain of addictive behavior was seeking attachment to a God of mercy, forgiveness and love. I found this attachment to God through many sources. God did say in scripture I have many dwelling places. I will leave you with three dwelling places, where I have been able to attach to God and progressively detach from sin.
- Weekly confession where I can receive absolution and words of encouragement, counsel, and instructions for making resolutions to overcome sin.
- Daily Mass attendance where I can receive the grace of God through the Eucharist and be taught from scripture to grow in relationship with God.
- Attendance at meeting so I can grow in relationship with and learn from other people that want healthy attachment to God and detachment from their sin.