Lost and Alone


#1

I’m a cradle Catholic and could never imagine ever leaving the Church. I have absolutely no problem with any of the Church’s teachings, except one. Unfortunately it’s the single most important tenet of Christian faith (of any denomination). I don’t trust God. I don’t believe He actually cares about me as an individual.

Ever since I was a teenager I have been addicted to a particular mortal sin (technically it’s a set of sequential mortal sins). I’ve tried many different ways to overcome my addiction, but they’ve all failed within 2-3 weeks.

I accepted the saying I learned in elementary school, “God helps those who help themselves.” So I spent years trying to simply stop on my own. I tried going cold turkey. I tried weaning myself off it. Both were utter failures.

Realizing I couldn’t do it on my own, I started praying for the strength to resist the temptation. Once again this worked for about 2 weeks and then the temptation consumed me and I failed. I believed the problem was my own weakness and had nothing to do with any infidelity on God’s part. So I tried praying for years, always with the same result: 2 weeks respite then utter failure. I tried changing the prayer so that I no longer asked for strength, but instead thanked and praised Jesus for making me weak so that I could learn to trust in His strength. I managed to hold out for 3 weeks, towards the end of which time I was exposed to the temptation multiple times a day, every day, to the point that the addiction consumed me and I gave in.

I tried getting more involved in the Church. I thought that if I combined serving others, not just myself, with prayer that had to work, right? I taught Religious Education for two years. I became an EMHC while I was in the Army. I got involved in the local pro-life groups. I started praying the rosary every Friday outside the local abortion clinic, and privately at lunch sometimes on other days. I went to Confession weekly. I listened exclusively to Catholic radio. I joined the Catholic Answers forums and participated multiple times a day. I joined the Knights of Columbus. I joined the local Catholic Professional and Business Group. I bought and read numerous books on Catholic theology and spirituality. Now, apart from a handful of CA forum posts in the last few years, I do none of these things because I’m too ashamed. Why? Because none of these things, alone or collectively, did anything to change the outcome: 2 weeks of resistance then dismal failure.

In my shame and feelings of being abandoned by God I gave up praying, going to the Sacraments, or even going to Mass entirely for two years. I believed that God had said, “no” to helping me resist a sin that condemned me to an eternity in Hell every time I committed it. Why should I praise and worship someone who’d tossed me aside? But my commitment to the Church wouldn’t let me give up for good.

So I went to my Parish Priest for help. He told me the problem was that I was trying to do it all myself. Even with prayer I was asking to be able to stop on my own. But, he said, most addictions cannot be conquered on your own. That’s why God calls people to be his arms and legs so He can act through them to help His children. The Priest gave me a pamphlet for a group that’s supposed to help people with my addiction. Feeling full of renewed hope I went to the meeting only find that they’re purpose wasn’t to help me stop altogether, only that I did it an “appropriate” amount to be determined by me. In other words, if gave up trying to quit and decided that every two weeks was good enough for me, then that was okay by them. Seeing that this was a perfect recipe for making no improvement whatsoever I gave up on it after that one meeting.

I stopped going to Mass again and gave up on the Sacraments. I figured what’s the point? I’m just going to fail in two weeks anyway. It’s not like giving up smoking, where failure only hurts your health. My failure entirely severs my relationship with God and condemns me to everlasting damnation. Besides, I still manage to hold out for 2 weeks even without asking God for help.

Every time I’ve tried prayer and start to feel less ashamed of myself because I begin to believe I might finally be overcoming the addiction, the temptation crops up and practically slaps me in the face when I’m least expecting it. I know it’s not God who’s tempting me to sin, but why does He keep leading me into temptations He knows I cannot resist, temptations I keep asking Him to help me avoid? Why does it seem like the Devil is fighting harder for my soul than God is?

I know that part of the current problem is my job, where I’m constantly exposed to temptation. Even though I’ve been fighting this for years, the real feelings of isolation and futility began when I started working here. Every day I feel like God wants me to leave this place. But I cannot afford to quit this job, especially in this bad economy. I know I should trust that God will see to my family’s well-being if I follow the direction I think he wants me to go. But how can I trust God with my family’s material needs when I can’t even trust Him to help me with my spiritual needs? I ask my Father for bread and he gives me a stone.

So now I’m left alone and lost. I have my wife and children, but the complete loneliness of which I speak is the kind which only those completely devoid of God in their lives can know. I’m torn because I have no hope for my own salvation, but I do hope that my wife and children have a chance, that God hasn’t given up on them. I want to go to Mass to set a good example for my kids. I want them to receive and value the Sacraments. I want them to lead good, devout, Catholic lives. But it’s too painful going into Mass, hearing the Good News, participating in the prayers and hymns, seeing others going to the Eucharist, and all the while knowing that none of it has any bearing on the fact that I’m going to Hell when I die.


#2

My friend
I’m not sure what to say. Expect God never wants people to go to hell. Heaven is filled with people who should be in hell, just take St Paul as an example he persecuted the Church, St Augustine, a terrible sinner. For what these people did they deserve to be in hell, but through God’s infinate mercy and grace he saved them he is always there for the sinner. I firmly believe that God is with every single sinner throughout their life begging for their conversion.

I’m not sure why you are unable to overcome this sin. If you really struggle with this two weeks is a big achievment, some alcoholics measure their sobriety in minutes, not days or weeks. For that two weeks God was there helping you. If we fall we have only to go to the father of mercies and ask his forgivness and start again.

I think the difference between a saint and a sinner is not that the saint never falls over. The saint falls over many many times but they get up, even if they have failed 1000 times, they get up and try again.
I will be praying for you


#3

:hug1: I’m so sorry. I sense so much pain in your post. You must have been through a lot with this. But I can also see that the devil has been telling you certain lies. Wait just hear me out here :slight_smile:

Im 100% certain that God not only didn’t abandon you as you think, but that He actually **couldn’t. ** it’s not even a part of His nature.

think of Jesus on the Cross. Think of how He could have escaped at ANY moment. He could have performed a miracle, gone back to Heaven, He could have even converted the people who were crucifying Him and made them worship Him instead. He is God, He could have done anything. But…He chose to stay there, to hang there on the Cross in utter agony.

the people who saw Him on the Cross…some of them lost faith. They said, if He’s God, He would have saved Himself! and they decided, since He’s not saving Himself, that means He can’t. However, He endured this humiliation.

Think of why He did this… go back to the Cross. Look if you were the ONLY person in the world… the only person that God ever created… Christ would still have died for you. If He went through such a death for love of you, yes for love of YOU, not just “the human race” in general, - why would He leave you now?

He didn’t turn away from those who beat Him, spit on Him, mocked Him… why would He turn away from those who want to love Him?

there is NO sin that can stand in the way of His Mercy.

you wonder why God didn’t take away that temptation you’re struggling with. I think we learn how to have real strong faith in God, not when it’s easy, but when it’s difficult. When nothing seems to make sense, but we still believe, we still trust. Maybe God allowed this temptation to teach you such faith. He knew and saw that you were trying to not sin… so the intention in your heart was right. You were just enslaved. Maybe He meant - and still means to - rescue you from it a little later, but teach you something else meanwhile.

But don’t let that destroy your faith. See how the people who saw Christ crucified…they lost faith because He wasn’t saving Himself. So they decided, He’s not God. We’re a lot like them sometimes, when we lose trust because we don’t see God ‘in action’. But try to think…maybe there is a reason.

I’ll try to share a bit of my own story with you.

I struggled with a sin for many years. It was habitual, and so very difficult to break. Sounds like it’s habitual for you, too. God knows that’s difficult to deal with. Well I was alreayd a Christian, but I was still tempted, and still sinned. I couldn’t break free of it. I begged God, so many times, to help me. Nothing happened.!

this lasted for a LONG time.

but then eventually, I asked Our Lady to help me. I just said a simple prayer…just a one line prayer. Ever since then, I haven’t been tempted in this way! She helped me. Have you ever thought of asking her? her intercession is really powerful.

but I think there’s also another lesson in this story. I think that God allowed me to struggle for so long, so that one day, when the time is right, the prayer would be answered in the best way. If God had rid me of this temptation before that point… I would never have learned about our Blessed Mother. I used to have no devotion to her whatsoever. It was her helping me, through many things, that brought me closer to her. If God had answered in another way, less good would have come out of the situation. But this way, I not only got freed from the sin, but I also gained a loving Mother in Heaven.

YOu might say, doesn’t sin offend God, so why would He allow it? yes, it offends God. But EVERY TIME we come to Him for mercy, He grants us mercy. Of course He knows that your culpability is lessened because it’s an addiction. He also saw how hard you were trying. The fact that you hate that sin, and tried to stop doing it, that pleased Him. Perhaps He was just waiting for the right time to answer your prayer in the best way.

or, perhaps, this was your cross to bear. Sometimes, God wants us to learn virtue the hard way: by striving for it, by persevering, against all odds. I know it seems harsh, but He does this because He knows what’s best for us. He wants us to be so strong in faith, that nothing can shake it. The devil can’t do anything with a person who looks at a world from which God seems to have vanished…asks why he has been abandoned**…yet still obeys**. (CS Lewis). We learn to have trust when it’s difficult to trust, not when it’s easy.

And in the struggle for virtue, we learn humility, and we see how little we can do by ourselves!

I wish I had something really good to tell you… just don’t give up. There IS hope. As long as you’re on earth there is always hope for salvation, no matter how many sins you have. Even the worst sinner on earth still has hope for salvation, if he’s alive.

I’d encourage you also not to leave the Sacraments. Our strength comes from the Eucharist… maybe the reason why you’re losing your trust is because you’ve been away from Communion. Don’t let your sins stop you!! that’s why there’s confession. *I confess the same sins over and over and over and over again! * God still forgives…and eventually, they go away. Temptation never lasts forever. The devil knows he’s fighting a losing battle, so he’s fighting VERY hard. But if you have the desire to be free of sin, and if you try your best, God WILL answer, even if for a while you’ll have to endure in darkness. This darkness would make you stronger, trials would make you stronger, if you let them.

prayers for you…


#4

I wanted to share this story that someone once shared with me.

God is Merciful to the Good Fighter
George Kalpouzos

A monk, as Saint Amphilochios relates, fell into fornication. From then on, he committed the same sin every day. Each time after the sin, he prayed with tears in his eyes for Jesus Christ to have mercy on him. Blinded by this bad habit, he committed the sin repeatedly. Immediately he rushed to the church, knelt in front of the icon of Christ and said with tears in his eyes, “Have mercy on me, oh Lord, and take away from me this temptation that makes me suffer and wounds my soul. I can’t see your face so that my soul can find peace.” After he said these words and left the church, he committed the same sin again. He didn’t lose hope for his salvation and he came back to the church praying the same way to the merciful God: “You are my witness, oh Lord, that from now on I will never commit this sin again. Oh loving God, forgive me for my past up to this moment for I have hurt You.” He committed “his lovely” sin again. His spiritual struggle lasted ten years.

Behold, the endless mercy of our Master and Lord Jesus Christ!

Finally, one day this monk committed the same sin. He rushed to the church weeping, crying and praying with tears in his eyes to the merciful God.

When the devil saw the persistent repentance of the monk, he appeared bodily in front of the monk and with wrath questioned God saying:

“Why do You accept this licentious and prodigal man who lies to You every day? Why don’t You cast him into fire? You are merciful to put up with him. You are not a righteous judge, but a one-sided one. You threw me down from heaven for just one sin of arrogance, but You forgive this perpetual lying, licentious and prodigal man because he cries before You. Where is Your righteousness?”

Then the voice of the Lord was heard from the altar saying:

“Evil and unclean spirit, aren’t you yet satisfied to lead the world into perdition? Do you want to grasp also him who bows before My mercy? Can you hold so many sins against him that they counter My Holy Blood that I have shed on the Cross for him? When he commits a sin, you don’t send him away but accept him happily. And you don’t discourage him for YOU wish to gain him. As I am merciful and have befriended man, how can you expect Me not to show mercy on him who draws near Me in repentance? I will never reject him until he becomes My heir. I was crucified for sinners and to save everyone who comes to Me.”

As soon as the devil heard the voice of the Lord, he started trembling, unable to move or say a word.

“Listen carefully, devilish spirit, who calls Me unjust. I am all righteous. I will judge each one under the circumstances he is in. Behold, I will save his soul and accept him who recently returned to me in repentance and contrition because he didn’t despair, but rather struggled for his salvation.”

At that time, the monk gave up his soul.

My beloved readers, do you understand how ineffable is God’s love and immeasurable is His mercy? Let us not neglect our salvation. Watch out not to fall into despair.

"Nothing can so terrify us, as much as Jesus Christ can reassure us. Let my sins surround me, let my fears of the future accuse me, let the demons lay their snares for me. As long as I beg mercy of Jesus Christ, who is all kindness, who has loved me even until death, I cannot lose confidence; for I see myself so highly prized that a God gave Himself for me. My Jesus, safe haven for those who seek you out in the storm; my vigilant shepherd, those who do not trust You are deceiving themselves, if only they have the will to amend their lives. That is why You said: Here I am, don’t be afraid: I am He who troubles and who consoles. Sometimes I put persons in scenes of desolation that seem like hell; but then I pull them out and console them. I am your advocate; I have made your cause My own. I am your guarantor; I have come to pay your debts. I am your Lord, who redeemed you with My blood, not to abandon you, but to enrich you, having ransomed you at a great price. How shall I flee from those who seek Me, when I went forth to meet those who sought to outrage Me? I did not turn away My face from those who struck Me; and shall I turn it from those who would adore Me? How can My children doubt that I love them, seeing Me in the hands of My enemies out of love for them? Whom have I ever despised that loved Me? Whom have I ever abandoned that sought my help? I go out in search even of those who do not seek Me."
John of Avila


#5

Have you ever read the book “Divine Mercy in My Soul” by St Faustina? it’s really helped me to better trust in God. When we trust in Him, that opens us up to receiving His graces. The more we trust, the more we receive. Try to trust at least a little bit, and He will be pleased with your effort. He knows it’s difficult… just remember HIs mercy, and how He didn’t abandon us even though it meant being killed by His own creation. When we suffer, in any way, whether it’s from sin or anything else, that is when God seems the furthest, but that’s actually when He is the nearest…that is when we’re sharing in the Cross.

**The Goodness of God. **
The mercy of God, hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, the voice of the Lord who speaks to us from the throne of mercy: Come to Me, all of you.

*Conversation of the Merciful God with a Sinful Soul. *
Jesus: Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful soul. I make the first move to come to you, for I know that by yourself you are unable to lift yourself to me. Child, do not run away from your Father; be willing to talk openly with Your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish his graces on you. How dear your soul is to Me! I have inscribed your name upon My hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart.

Soul: Lord I hear Your voice calling me to turn back from the path of sin, but I have neither the strength nor the courage to do so.

Jesus: I am your strength, I will help you in the struggle.

Soul: Lord I recognize Your holiness and I fear You.

Jesus: My child, do you fear the God of mercy? My holiness does not prevent Me from being merciful. Behold. for you I have established a throne of mercy on earth - the tabernacle - and from this throne I desire to enter into your heart. I am not surrounded by a retinue of guards. You can come to Me at any moment, at any time; I want to speak to you and desire to grant you grace.

Soul: Lord, I doubt that You will pardon my numerous sins; my misery fills me with fright.

Jesus: My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire World. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed Myself to be nailed to the Cross; for you I let My Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.

Soul: You have conquered, O Lord, my stony heart with Your goodness. In trust and humility I approach the tribunal of Your mercy, where You yourself absolve me by the hand of your representative. O Lord, I feel Your grace and Your peace filling my poor soul. I feel overwhelmed by Your mercy, O Lord. You forgive me, which is more than I dared to hope for or could imagine. Your goodness surpasses all my desires. And now, filled with gratitude for so many graces, I invite You to my heart. I wandered, like a prodigal child gone astray; but You did not cease to be my Father. Increase Your mercy toward me, for You see how weak I am.

Jesus: Child, speak no more of your misery; it is already forgotten. Listen, My child, to what I desire to tell you. Come close to My wounds and draw from the Fountain of Life whatever your heart desires. Drink copiously from the Fountain of Life and you will not weary on your journey. Look at the splendors of My mercy and do not fear the enemies of your salvation. Glorify My mercy.

*Conversation of the Merciful God with a Soul Striving after Perfection. *

Jesus: I am pleased with your efforts, O soul aspiring for perfection, but why do I see you so often sad and depressed? Tell Me, My child, what is the meaning of this sadness, and what is its cause?

Soul: Lord, the reason for my sadness is that, in spite of my sincere resolutions, I fall again into the same faults. I make resolutions in the morning, but in the evening I see how much I have departed from them.

Jesus: You see what you are of yourself. The cause of your falls is that you rely too much upon yourself and too little on Me. But let this not sadden you so much. You are dealing with the God of mercy, which your misery cannot exhaust. Remember, I did not allot only a certain number of pardons.

Soul: Yes, I know all that but the great temptations assail me, and various doubts waken within me and moreover, everything irritates and discourages me.

Jesus: My child, know that the greatest obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. These will deprive you of the ability to practice virtue. All temptations united together ought not disturb your interior peace, not even momentarily. Sensitiveness and discouragement are fruits of self love. You should not become discouraged, but strive to make My love reign in place of your self love. Have confidence, My child. Do not lose heart in coming for pardon, for I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it, you glorify My mercy.

Soul: I understand what is the better thing to do, what pleases You more, but I encounter great obstacles in acting on this understanding.

Jesus: My child, life on earth is a struggle indeed; a great struggle for My kingdom. But fear not, because you are not alone. I am always supporting you, so lean on Me as you struggle, fearing nothing. Take the vessel of trust and draw from the fountain of life - for yourself, but also for other souls, especially such as are distrustful of My goodness.

Soul: O Lord, I feel my heart being filled with Your love and the rays of Your mercy and love piercing my soul. I go, Lord, at Your command. I go to conquer souls. Sustained by Your grace, I am ready to follow You Lord, not only to Tabor, but also to Calvary. I desire to lead souls to the fount of Your mercy so that the splendor of Your mercy may be reflected in all souls, and the home of our Father be filled to overflowing. And when the enemy begins to attack me, I shall take refuge behind the shield of Your mercy.


#6

Think of St Paul and his thorn in the flesh. His weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). God will not abandon you. As long as you come back for forgiveness every time. This is the meaning of hope. Seek after him, no matter how many times you fall. This is the perseverance he is teaching you. The saints have commented that sometimes we are given over to a certain sin until we conquer a worse sin. Like pride or despair. Chase after God with every waking moment. Think of how you love your wife and children, chose to love God with the same passion. You will fall and it will be hard, but his love will sustain you.


#7

You write so well, one can feel your pain.

Don’t despair. Yes, you have an addiction but don’t add to it with despair. Everyone is trying to be perfect and yet, in the the whole history of the world, we only know of two who were: Jesus and Mary.

If the people here on this board want to embrace you, you can be sure that is what God wants. He knows you are struggling. And He knows you do very well for those two weeks.

Think of all those who never examine their consciences. Who have sinned and don’t know it, don’t even think about anything they’ve done.

Just don’t give up trying. He does love you very much.


#8

Great advice from 4EverHis and everyone else. I’d just like to add: Ask help of another priest, tell him what happened and ask for direction to some other group, a group that has hope for a permanent recovery.


#9

You might give the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance a try. Even if there is not a demonic element (often with addictive sins, there is), your relationship with God will improve when you complete the steps. We recommend that people work on these steps for at least 2 months.

By the way, Hokie, I was in a similar situation as you when I first did the steps, and I found freedom after completing them. I did the steps because nothing else had worked, and was amazed by the results.

May God bless and heal you.


#10

I have to confirm what Michael has said about alcoholics measuring success on a daily basis. All we get is a daily reprieve. In order to overcome an addiction you have to surrender. I would also like to say that there are people who do not suffer from alcoholism that attend open AA meetings, practice the program & it is a great help to them. You may want to try this. Every morning I ask God for help. I offer myself to Him and ask Him to show me His will for today. To direct & guide my thoughts, words, & actions…I surrender my will to His and I ask Him for the grace of willingness to accept His will for me today and the strength & courage to carry it out. My affliction, alcoholism is much bigger than I and only a Power greater than myself can take that away…and that Power is God. Only God can restore me to sanity and He can & He will if He is sought.
I love that story about the monk…he also suffered from his addictive behavior. You are not alone. You may want to attend some open AA meetings, not just one. Try it for a month all of us who have addictive behaviors can identify with each other. The object of addiction may be different, but it is an affliction of the mind. Learn the 12-steps…that’s an essential key of recovery. I’m going to post the 12-steps next and as you read them you will see how much surrender is involved. We have a saying…Surrender to win.


#11

http://www.serenityfound.org/logo1_final.gif
AA Steps
[LEFT]

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

[/LEFT]
Reprinted from the book Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book)
with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
[LEFT]

[/LEFT]
Back To Top

http://www.serenityfound.org/t.gif
http://www.serenityfound.org/Ocean_Scene.gif
Intro-pageHomeStoriesPrayersHumor • Message Board • Recovery StuffComputer Tools
Official Recovery LinksUnoffical and Personal Recovery Links • The 12 Steps • Contact E-mailPuzzles
The 12 TraditionsThe A.A. PreambleThe A.A. Promises (Plus)A.A. Contacts Across The USA
Daily Spiritual ThoughtReadings for Online and Face to Face MeetingsImagesAwards12 Step History

http://www.serenityfound.org/t.gif
BODY {margin-left:0; margin-right:0; margin-top:0;} .Lucida-Handwriting-16px800000b {font:bold 16px Lucida Handwriting, sans-serif; color:#800000} .Arial-16px0000FFb {font:bold 16px Arial, sans-serif; color:#0000FF} .Arial-11pxb {font:bold 11px Arial, sans-serif} .Arial-16pxn {font:normal 16px Arial, sans-serif} —Serenity Found. Your online recovery resource—
[LEFT]
[/LEFT]
Copyright © Serenity Found 2002-2004
All Rights Reserved

/

Copyright
Privacy


closed #12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.