Is addiction always a sin?


I was listening to a mass online and baby was being baptised at the mass. So everyone renounced Satan and his acts. So priest started naming Satan’s acts that we must renounce and crowd answered “We renounce”. And priest said: “Do you renounce alchoholism, drug addiction and ALL OTHER ADDICTIONS?”
I was shocked. Does that mean all addictions are sinful? What about chocholate addictions Or ciggaretes? I mean, I know that we must love God beyond everything, but I don’t see why would all addictions be sinful… Is there any direct paragraph of Cathecisk or Bible verse?


By definition addictions are not a sin: sin requires free consent of the will.


I’m no expert, but addiction seems to me to result from intemperance in enjoying pleasures, either legitimate or not. If the pleasure is legitimate when used in moderation (e.g. alcohol, food, gambling, shopping), it becomes sinful when used in excess to the point where you lose your ability to say no. The compulsion itself is not a sin, but it is a “wound of sin” resulting from your intemperance, which is a sin. If the pleasure was illegitimate to begin with (e.g. illegal drugs, porn, extramarital sex), then the behavior was sinful from the start, and the addiction is simply a further complication of the first sin.

In either case, if the pleasure becomes an addiction, you have brought it upon yourself by the sin of intemperance (unless you have become instantly addicted through no fault of your own, if there is such a thing).


I don’t agree. I don’t think that there is something intemperate about drinking coup of coffee in the morning, but still, many people consider day that is not beggined by a cup of coffee bad. I think that people who smoke five ciggaretes a day would still feel bad witout them. I am not saying that it’s OK if you like addictive material more than God, but I don’t see anything evil in earthly addictions which make your earthly life worse if you don’t take addictive materials. Sorry for bad English!


I see what you mean, but I think the key is moderation. I agree that both caffeine and nicotine are addictive substances, but as long as a person uses them in moderation, they are not addicted to them (although in the case of nicotine, smoking 5 cigarettes a day is playing with fire!) I view addiction as the result of repeated overindulgence (intemperance) until you reach the point where you no longer can control yourself; you cannot refrain from using the substance (or engaging in the behavior) on a regular basis. Addiction is like being enslaved - you cater to your compulsion, no matter what, and you don’t care who you hurt, as long as your craving is satisfied. In a sense, whatever you are addicted to has become your “master.” It says in 2 Peter 2:19, “People are the slaves of whatever has mastered them.” Jesus came to set us free, and if we become enslaved to an addiction, it has become a “false god” to us and is contrary to the first commandment.

Although the addicted person can no longer control himself, and technically cannot “sin” since he has lost his free consent, he got in that condition by his own initial sinful intemperance. I view it as “living in a sinful condition,” rather than actually committing new sins each time he indulges his addiction. In either case, it is a pitiable condition to be in. God wants us to be free to serve Him, not forced to serve our addiction.


^ So how does one break free of his addictions? Because praying and going to church hasn’t totally helped me stop all my addictions


What worked for me was going on a pilgrimage, and confessing the addiction in the sacrament of Penance while there. I went with a parish group to Assisi and Rome for a 10-day period, so the temptation was removed for that length of time. Once I was away from the temptation, I was able to perceive that the Lord wanted me to kick the addiction out of my life, and that confession was the way to go. When I returned home, I found that the Lord had simply removed the desire from me. Free at last!

So, I think that a pilgrimage is the best option, but if you can’t manage that, maybe a retreat. And when you go to confession, you have to truly want to be set completely free. I had previously tried praying that I could manage my addiction better, want it less, indulge it less, etc. That didn’t work. With addiction, it’s an all-or-nothing deal, at least it was for me. But I can guarantee that all the pleasure I got from the addiction can’t begin to compare with the joy of freedom from it!

May God bless you on your journey. I will pray for you…


Counseling can be a big help. Addiction is not only a spiritual disease. There is a lot of really weird stuff that goes on with the brain, too. There are medications that can help during the withdrawal period if a person finds it difficult to abstain from whatever substance/behavior, but that would be something to discuss with one’s counselor and then a psychiatrist (who would determine if you were a good candidate for a prescription.)

I am in recovery and I have had to tackle my addiction from many, many angles. Prayer has been a big help, but I definitely needed more than just that. Counseling, a 12-step group for a while, a substitute healthy behavior instead of the addictive one, building a support network at home, increasing accountability and limiting my ability to engage in the addiction…

A really good counselor can help you figure out ways to get around what is holding you back. :thumbsup:


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