Married Catholic Dad in distress


#1

I don't know why I'm making this my first thread here, but what the heck.

I am a happily married father of, well, let's just say "many". More than my wife and I can readily handle. We relied on NFP. We studied, we were diligent. It didn't work for us. At all.

I am at a very bad place in my life right now. I am still relatively young (mid 30s), and I am a pornography/masturbation addict. I recieve the Sacrament of Pennance once a week, sometimes more often. I am terrified of dying in a state of mortal sin, but with temptatiuon, my resolve falls apart over and again. I just can't seem to quit and make it stick. I have always had this struggle, but it is worse now that the sexual relationship my wife and I once shared is a think of the past. She is unwilling to give NFP another go and I am unwilling to compromise and use basrrier means of contraception (whicjh in stark contrast to NFP, have been reliable for us in the past).

Please pray for me. I fell again today. Please save any non-helpful comments like "try harder!" (I am!) or "have you looked into X method of NFP (The answer is "yes".) The cycle of sin, confess - sin, confess in making me wearing and is reducing my faith to a dice game - with me just hoping I'm lucky enough to die on the way home from Confession. Living this way is truly miserable. I have a solid prayer life, I go to Addoration, I read Scripture, I pray to Mary and Joseph, I pray the Chaplet of Devine Mercy with some regularity. I volunteer when I can, I give to charity, I'm a good, involved Father, a succesful breadwinner, a loyal husband, and honest with my wife about my struggles......I just can't seem to beat this and I'm a little bitter lately that although I'm trying in most areas, this thing just might have me burning for eternity anyway.

Sorry for the rant - I just needed to, well, rant.


#2

I'm sorry, I will most definitely keep you in my prayers. But I also can recommend enough that you talk to your priest. Have you discussed any of these problems with your priest during confession? Whatever the case may be, I'd set up an appointment with your priest and speak with him.


#3

Thatnk for the recomendation. I have a great relationship with my Priest, he knows what's up (and basically says "You're a good man, the good you do outweighs any bad habits, don't sweat it". I have a half-dozen other confessors I see semi-regularily. I am pretty honest and I don't hessitate to tell it as it is in or out of the Confessional. One Priest told me "just stop". not helpfull. Most others say, "well, try harder" or recomend a Bible passage - equally unhelpful. Their hearts are in the righ place, no doubt - but nothing seems to help. I have everything that a man in the secualr world could want (minus a current mistress, natch) - and yet I am miserable. I almost wish I were an athiest - then I could live as I pleased and at least be happy today, instead of being miserable today and in the afterlife.

Thank you very, very much for your prayers.


#4

Prayers for you - life for all of us is a constant struggle against temptation and sin, equally so for the Saints. And those two are particularly difficult to get rid of. As someone who by the grace of God is more-or-less clear of them, I am here to reassure you it can be done. These things do take some time, however, and I don't know how long you've been working on this for.

All the things you're doing are very good. As long as you're continuing, in spite of your slip ups it will get a lot easier in time. Each and every conscious decision you make against using porn when you're tempted, or masturbating when you're tempted, is a step along that path to victory. I'm certainly not going to say you're not trying hard enough because you very likely are.

How are you doing on eliminating things that you know are occasions of sin for you? That's something you haven't mentioned. Putting the computer in the family room, blocking problematic websites or TV channels, turning off the tv or walking out of the room if a love scene comes on, avoiding suggestive music, trying to avoid newsagents or anywhere else that you know sells smut, that sort of thing.

I read a quote somewhere (unfortunately I don't remember who said it) that a saint isn't someone who never sins, a saint is someone who sins 100 times and picks themselves up again each and every single one of those 100 times. So you're well and truly on the right path to sainthood. It'd be much more of a concern if you gave up and decided not to go to confession or pray or make efforts to avoid sin.


#5

[quote="micahmike, post:1, topic:197421"]
I don't know why I'm making this my first thread here, but what the heck.

I am a happily married father of, well, let's just say "many". More than my wife and I can readily handle. We relied on NFP. We studied, we were diligent. It didn't work for us. At all.

I am at a very bad place in my life right now. I am still relatively young (mid 30s), and I am a pornography/masturbation addict. I recieve the Sacrament of Pennance once a week, sometimes more often. I am terrified of dying in a state of mortal sin, but with temptatiuon, my resolve falls apart over and again. I just can't seem to quit and make it stick. I have always had this struggle, but it is worse now that the sexual relationship my wife and I once shared is a think of the past. She is unwilling to give NFP another go and I am unwilling to compromise and use basrrier means of contraception (whicjh in stark contrast to NFP, have been reliable for us in the past).

Please pray for me. I fell again today. Please save any non-helpful comments like "try harder!" (I am!) or "have you looked into X method of NFP (The answer is "yes".) The cycle of sin, confess - sin, confess in making me weary and is reducing my faith to a dice game - with me just hoping I'm lucky enough to die on the way home from Confession. Living this way is truly miserable. I have a solid prayer life, I go to Addoration, I read Scripture, I pray to Mary and Joseph, I pray the Chaplet of Devine Mercy with some regularity. I volunteer when I can, I give to charity, I'm a good, involved Father, a succesful breadwinner, a loyal husband, and honest with my wife about my struggles......I just can't seem to beat this and I'm a little bitter lately that although I'm trying in most areas, this thing just might have me burning for eternity anyway.

Sorry for the rant - I just needed to, well, rant.

[/quote]


#6

Great question - I am doing well - until I become tempted and elect to remove any restrictions I’ve placed upon myself. One does not have to work hard to find external sexual stimulii when they seek it. Internet filters, computer in a public place, so on and so forth. Those are well and good and they do help some - but I am an accomplished addict, and I’m no fool. When I want it, I can find it. Even immages of Jesus himself have failed to detur me as I’d hoped:(

Thank you for your prayers.


#7

If it is truly to the level of an addiction, you should seek professional help. Addiction is beyond sin. It is an illness. It requires treatment by professionals. Not seeking treatment by professionals is compounding the sin. If you honestly believe that you are suffering from an addiction, seek professional help.


#8

Yes, excellent advice!


#9

When we pluck a leaf of a weedlike plant, the leaf grows back. We have to get down to the root of it all to get the hole thing out.

Confessing the sin itself is important, but more important is to find the distortion, ache, and whole that you are trying to fill with the sin. Ultimately its an ache for God gone awry, but explore past traumas, hurts, damage in your life, relationship with parents and family, etc.

If you are serious about curing this, stop at nothing. There is a theology of the body psychologist in Tallahasee that does healing retreats of this very thing. He is under the direction of his Bishop…very Catholic. I went to the TOB institute where he (Dr. Bob) taught a week long class on “healing and redemption” …it was incredible. I know many people that took another week to travel down there for a retreat.

www.tobhealing.com.


#10

That’s good advice.
Just be sure to continue with spiritual advice/help too.
After all, we are fighting principalities and powers in the spiritual realm. Keep up your prayer life and always return to the Sacrament of Penance.

For Mike’s addiction:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee
Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.


#11

I used to have an addiction to masturbation and sexual fantasies. I went to confession at least once a week for 5 years. I also was doing charitable works, adoration, daily mass and the rosary. Nothing seemed to work. The more I tried to stop the more I obsessed about trying to stop. I would start worrying (right after I sinned) about being in mortal sin and dying in a car accident before I could get to confession.

Then my dear father got very sick and died. It turned my life upside down! I missed my dad so much! and I needed to be there for my mother and take care of her. I think that I had been so preoccupied with this sin (OCD) that I couldn't stop until my focus was elsewhere. I have only fallen once since and it has been over a year.

Now I think that I should not have worried so much about dying before I could get to confession because I was truly sorry for my sin and I had the intent to get to confession.

I don't know if this will help your situation at all but I just wanted to share this with you. I am going to pray for you too. I think that seeing a Catholic Psychologist might help you too.

God bless you!


#12

I just came across this in my Marian Missal.
I don't know if it will help you right now, but since it relates to what you're going through I thought I'd share it:

*

MY DAILY THOUGHT FROM THE FOLLOWING OF CHRIST:
A man must have a great and long conflict within himself before he can fully learn to overcome himself, and to direct his whole affection towards God.

*
:gopray:


#13

It is a very difficult habit to break, I was there once. Our Lady of Grace saved me through her intercession. My prayers are with you.


#14

Thanks gang:)


#15

I can't offer any advice but I will keep you in my prayers!


#16

I will keep you in my prayers. You are doing all the right things. Keep praying, going to Mass, confession, and all the other good things you are doing. If you don`t exercise already, I recommend some cardio each day. Cycling, running, or even taking a spin class at a local gym might help. I know you are probably swamped with work and family responsibilities but maybe you could try biking to work or to Mass etc.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#17

Mike,
My little ones and I will pray for you every night. I promise to be your "Simon" in prayer until the Lord relieves the anguish in my soul. Stand Firm Brother!
In Christ,
FatherOfTwelve


#18

I've been listening to Steve Wood's weekly progarm on EWTN, and he has mentioned this problem a few times, and reccommends that you start by going to his website, and actually spend about an hour exploring it to begin with. Haven't been to it myself, but it is: www.dads.org His site has apparently helped many with this issue.


#19

First of all I think you are a very good man OP. In this day to admit one has that type of a problem takes a lot of courage. And although I never had a sexual addictions I have been in places where 'try hard' was the most painful thing to have to hear.

At times, when we try too hard we are guaranteeing we will fail. Take a deep breath, remember you are a child of God and think of your good points.

Now, I am probably getting into the advice giving but please understand it is simply putting another idea for you to consider. (You don't need to do it if I am off base). I have been around Christian (non-Catholic) groups. A lot of the women dare tell me there husbands had great success in sexual addicts support groups and by reading a book by Stephen Auterburn (I could have the name wrong). Not sure if this is an anvenue you have considered yet or not

God Bless

CM


#20

Hang in there buddy. I’ve been there myself. A few things that helped me:

  1. I just fought through one day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. If I got into a situation of temptation, I would fight and fight and fight. But before it goes too far - that is you actually start looking at the smut, step away from the situation. Pray. Go for a walk something.
  2. Along those same lines, find something that keeps you busy online. If you have a habit of chewing your nails, people will tell you to keep your hands busy. If your habit occurs while you are on the computer idly, find an interest of yours (not smut) and throw yourself at it. I had trouble at nights when I would struggle to sleep until I had sinned. I found a way to use building and woodworking to get tired and then would read until I fell asleep.
  3. I found through some research that the four strongest desires of the human body are thirst, hunger, sleep, and sex - in that order. Making sure that your body is struggling with one of the first ones will help with the last one.
  4. The final tip I can give is trying to improve the filter. Have a friend set the password for you. See if your ISP provides filtering. Finally, use programs that don’t allow internet access after a certain time and have a friend set those up so you don’t know how to disable them.

Know that the struggle will probably never end, but after a few months, it gets easier. I’m 22 months free now and still have to take it day by day. Some are harder than others, but know that you have our prayers.

Finally, do everything in your power to keep it away from your kids. If your kids get exposed, they will have this same struggle. As much as you don’t want them to know, you should tell them about this and that it is something you don’t want them to fall into.

Good luck, brother and keep up the good fight!


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