The sacrament of Confession is a sacrament of healing. But for those who struggle with addiction or habitual sin, it is easy to allow shame or despair to keep you from going to Confession and receiving the healing you desperately need. Maybe you’ve confessed the same sin over and over, and you think that you’re not worthy of confessing it once again.
That was the case for a listener named Jason, who called in to The Patrick Madrid Show for advice. Jason told Patrick that he has had a drinking problem for some time, but he is scared to go to Confession because he doesn’t feel that he is worthy.
He told Patrick, “I know that I need to change my ways, but I feel that I am not worthy of the Eucharist at this point. And I’m not worthy of going to Confession and confessing that I’ve abused alcohol. I have in the past, but I just feel like God is not forgiving me. I feel hope when I come out, but I fall back into it.”
Patrick told Jason, “First of all, you know that the voice whispering in your ear, telling you that you are not worthy to go back to Confession, and how can you go back to Confession and confess the same sin, that God must be exasperated with you – that is not the voice of the Holy Spirit. That is the voice of the Evil One.”
“[God] wants nothing more than for you to have a fresh start,” he continued. “Even if it means you’ll fall again and have to make another fresh start. This is true of so many things that we find ourselves sinning in, and this is why the Lord established the sacrament of Confession. For you, in this very situation. To help you get back up and get back going. That’s what He does for you in the sacrament.”
Patrick assured Jason that it is enough to have a desire to quit, even though this is an ingrained habit and it’s likely he’ll fall back into sin.
“When you go to Confession don’t be worried about what will happen tomorrow, or next week, or the week after that,” Patrick advised. “Just have that sense of commitment to stopping this sin. And this is, from a sacramental standpoint, the only way this is going to stop and the only way you are going to begin healing, in the sacramental sense. Staying away from Confession is the wrong thing to do, it’s counter-productive.”
Patrick also encouraged Jason to seek help and accountability for his alcohol abuse by attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and he recommended a book called Dying for a Drink: What You Should Know About Alcoholism by Anderson Spickard, Jr.
Patrick offered some final encouragement to Jason, saying, “My advice, just to reiterate, is to go to Confession, trust in the Lord’s mercy and His help even though you know you’re weak. If you fall, go back to Confession. Keep going back to Confession, and don’t stop going back to Confession. Resist that voice that tells you you are not worthy, because that’s not the voice of God, that’s from the Evil One.”
“Then, check in to Alcoholics Anonymous, if you want to find a meeting near you call (844)334-6862. And then the third thing would be to get this book Dying for a Drink and it will explain to you what’s happening to you. It will give you a clinical analysis of what you’re experiencing, and the AA people are going to help you move forward. You can do it, Jason. You can do this.”