Question about alcohol and confession

So I went and gave a really good confession today, or so I thought. But some things are nagging at me.

I used to drink A LOT, every other day or so, to excess.

I have cut back significantly. I no longer drink more than once or twice a week, and when I do, although the amount I drink may be more than many people can tolerate, I don’t drink past the point of a nice good buzz. If anything on tv starts to get that fuzzy little halo around it, I stop or slow down significantly :slight_smile: When I do drink (to relax and have fun with hubby) it’s always at home, and I never pass out or throw up or lose control or commit any other sins while drinking. Maybe one out of every 3-5 times that I drink, I’m a little fuzzy on some details the next day. Like “Oh yeah, we DID talk about that last night!” Very occasionally I will not remember a conversation at all, but hardly ever.

So my understanding is that this is not mortally sinful drinking…imprudent maybe at times.

So while I was saying the act of contrition, it says the part about “near occasion of sin”. Now alcohol is really my one real vice. I have 2 toddlers and about once a week I do like to unwind on the couch with hubby and have a few while the kids are asleep. But sometimes it can be a bit too much as I stated above, but not that often. So the thought popped into my head that maybe I’m not avoiding the near occasion of sin and that I don’t intend to. But this isn’t really “near occasion” is it? It’s not like I get trashed or anything. I also had the thought that at some point in my life, I probably WILL overdo it in a big way again, like on New Year’s or something…not intentionally drinking to the point of being sick or passing out or anything, but just that at some point in my life again I will probably be out with friends on a special occasion and have too much to drink. I’m not PLANNING on it of course, haha, but when you don’t go out more than once a year with friends you never see, sometimes the energy of the night gets the better of you and you go a little nuts :slight_smile:

My question is, do these thoughts, and the thought that I had about not wanting to avoid the near occasion of sin affect my absolution? Or am I just being overly-scrupulous about it because I had problems controlling myself in the past?

Thanks!

Read these. How many did you answer yes to? (Just a number like 0, 5, 7, 16…)

  1. Do you lose time from work due to your drinking?

  2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?

  3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?

  4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?

  5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?

  6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of your drinking?

  7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?

  8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?

  9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?

  10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?

  11. Do you want a drink the next morning?

  12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

  13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?

  14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?

  15. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?

  16. Do you drink alone?

  17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking?

  18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?

  19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?

  20. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution on account of drinking?

Your thoughts do not sound like a sin, they sound as though your conscience is warning you that sometimes you go close to the line of over drinking.

I answered yes to having felt remorse after drinking before and having lost some memory of the night before also. Everybody has done that right? :slight_smile:

I’m more concerned about my absolution not being effective because I was not intent on quitting drinking altogether and the possibility of it being a near occasion for sin even though most of the time I drink it certainly does not rise to the level of mortal sin if ever.

If I had had time to reason it out, I probably would have realized in the confessional that drinking doesn’t always or even almost always lead me into mortal sin, but I remember just having the thought even as I was confessing it that I wasn’t just going to “stop drinking” to a kid near occasion, even though technically after the fact I realized that drinking probably is t necessarily a near occasion for me. These thoughts just happened so fast and I really didn’t have time to reason it out in my head. Hope I’m still ok.

I do not think that these thoughts affect your absolution. I actually think the opposite, which is that God’s grace from your confession is already at work opening up your heart to see yourself more clearly in order to help you further remove the power this vice has over you.

My question is, what are you searching for in those additional drinks? What happens after about that 2nd or 3rd drink that makes you want more? Is it the daily anxieties and an attempt to de-stress? Is it habit-- you just always had that much? Is your tolerance built up and you can’t feel the first few drinks?

Once you name what it is that attracts you to excessive or borderline excessive drinking, see if you can find an alternate approach to fixing the problem, whether it be learning to cut yourself off and lowering your tolerance, or finding ways to make your daily life simpler to de-stress, something that may be as simple as planning ahead or spending 10-15 minutes in quiet time with God. If you feel you may go over the top at some point, I would recommend doing small disciplines now in order to control yourself in the future.

It sounds like you confessed it and received absolution. So you’re good.

The issue with drinking and why I posted the questions is that the amount one drinks is not so important as what happens when someone drinks. The short way to say it is: If you have to control your drinking it’s because it’s out of control.

Just from your posts you:
Drink to get drunk (or a buzz…)
Have felt remorse (that’s why you’re slowing down)
Have had blackouts (things getting fuzzy or not remembering conversations are a blackout)
My guess is it is causing trouble at home (sometimes it gets to be too much)
You may have drunk to get away from worries (I drink to relax)

If this is the case, and your drinking is causing problems in your life it would benefit you to find help. Here is the link to the answers.

While drinking itself is not a sin, Scripture does tell us not to get drunk. I want to applaud you for recognizing this while your children are young and hope you take care of things before it damages your family.

Good luck and may God bless you and your family.

Good going!

Your really doing a good job at discernment, and your obviously caring about the effects on your loved ones. You seem to be a no nonsense person and determined to get to the bottom of this problem. I think with that spunk you’ll come out all right.

If you slip up just try to do a better job next time. Eventually you will make gains. You will already have obtained graces just for trying. Don’t go to communion if you slip up before that. You absolutely need to go to communion for the needed graces, our life blood, but only in a pure state. Don’t worry, Christ knows your a work in progress. Best to go to communion right away after confession such as just before mass. You may want to wear a scapular too for protection against temptation.

I would say to do the penance as you are told. As well as sticking to the regime you have
given yourself, remember to not give up hope. Be also determined to set things straight with God who knows your troubles. He and his ministers are working with you. Prior to going to bed for the night, reflect on the days events and just make note of the things you said and did and what provoked the action. This will help you the next time to handle things correctly.

You know what comes to mind is another mother who’s been through a lot, and I mean real horror, and knows exactly how you feel. She gets top recognition in the celestial hierarchy and will put in a plug for you. Moms with kids get top priority with her. If you have the time, and I already know you are busy, perhaps you could take some spare time with the Rosary. Just do what you can for now until you can establish a time slot, and … stop worrying.

If your sincere with this devotion, you’ll be delighted with the change it will make in your life.

theholyrosary.org (see promises)

God Bless. :slight_smile:

Thanks guys :). I do like to get a nice buzz and it DOES help me to relax, but no, I don’t start wearing lampshades on my head and making out with the dog :slight_smile: it’s just a nice way to relax with hubby sometimes. I am planning on doing it less frequently (less than 2 times a week) but from what I understand, drunkenness is when you are passing out or blacking out or not knowing right from wrong, not occasionally getting a good buzz on the couch while watching tv with your husband.

I was just concerned about my thoughts of not avoiding near occasion of sin (which I confessed), because occasionally, when I drink, it’s a little too much (like fuzzy memory or memory gaps). But that’s not every time, so I’m not sure I would call it a “near occasion” or even a mortal sin. I just felt like I was thinking “We’ll on iously I’m not going to give that up entirely” and that maybe that meant lack of contrition or resolve that would affect absolution.

I suggest that no one answer any of these questions because the end result is…

Are you an alcoholic?

Are you not an alcoholic?

and then what is someone to do and invariably if the answer is yes…you are led by your nose to the 12 step religion of AA…

LaSainte,

If your goal is to relax, then there are better ways…you may not know that there are ways to relax that are healthy…

Exercise of any sort will cause you to relax
Yoga will cause you to relax
Meditation will cause you to relax
Jacuzzi will cause you to relax

Alcohol for relaxation may not be the healthiest mode of relaxation…

Alcohol makes you hungry
Alcohol makes you disoriented
Alcohol may cause you to be irresponsible
Alcohol impairs your judgement

If you have children, ask yourself…am I being the healthiest, most responsible parent by choosing to drink to relax when I could choose to do other things to relax…?

Only you know…

People, I don’t drink that much and was not looking for a referral to a rehab center or anything, but thanks for the concern. Yes, I like to drink to relax and chat with my hubby. I’m an adult. Nothing wrong with that. It “gladdens the heart” as the Bible says.

The question was about the validity of my confession. Thanks though :slight_smile:

LaSainte,

I never suggested rehab or anything like that. In fact if you ever have a problem do not go to rehab unless you verify that it is not 12 step oriented.

Maybe one out of every 3-5 times that I drink, I’m a little fuzzy on some details the next day. Like “Oh yeah, we DID talk about that last night!” Very occasionally I will not remember a conversation at all, but hardly ever

If you drink and this happens then it is time to consider if drinking weekly is worth drinking at all. Yes you are an adult. You also have children that observe your behavior and will learn to accept the consequences of your drinking as normal even if it is occasional.

Believe me, I get this. This only happens well after the kids are asleep and we stay up late, and like I said, far from every time we have a few. This is really the only symptom that I have had too much. Anybody observing me might not even know I was drinking or maybe think I had a 2 or 3 glasses of wine at the very most.

LaSainte,

I understand. I am observing and suggesting only as a health minded person suggesting a healthier life. Drink away.

Cheers :slight_smile:

Well, I am by no means a teetotaller, and there are at most half a dozen occasions in my entire 20 plus years of drinking that my memory or anything else has been affected by alcohol, and that it has not happened at all for about 5 years. So no, it doesn’t happen to everybody, at least not regularly. More importantly, it shouldn’t happen to anybody - ever.

I’m more concerned about my absolution not being effective because I was not intent on quitting drinking altogether and the possibility of it being a near occasion for sin even though most of the time I drink it certainly does not rise to the level of mortal sin if ever.

If I had had time to reason it out, I probably would have realized in the confessional that drinking doesn’t always or even almost always lead me into mortal sin, but I remember just having the thought even as I was confessing it that I wasn’t just going to “stop drinking” to a kid near occasion, even though technically after the fact I realized that drinking probably is t necessarily a near occasion for me. These thoughts just happened so fast and I really didn’t have time to reason it out in my head. Hope I’m still ok.

You’re not expected to quit drinking altogether, just follow health guidelines, which is no more than two standard size measures of alcohol on no more than five days each week for women. Above all don’t drive within about two hours even if you’ve only had those two. Depending on your size, how much you’ve eaten and other things that can be enough to put you over the limit.

And no you cannot expect to drink more than that and not have it affect your health. Nor can you save the drinks up for the weekend or anything.

You owe it to God and your family to keep the body He gave you in good condition.

I don’t want to comment at all on your confession and possible lack of contrition. I think when we are scrupulous (which I think you’ve mentioned suffering with scrupulosity in the past) we do tend to second guess ourselves. I don’t think you went into the confessional intending to not be contrite.

I hope it’s ok to touch on this – I think that your description of drunkenness is a bit subjective. :o

Maybe this website might be able to give you objective parameters?

niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption

You firmly resolve with the help of God’s grace.

It doesn’t affect the absolution but you are obviously feeling guilt.

I went through the same thing as you.

Give alcohol up for lent.

Thank you all for the health advice. I do NOT drink more than 10 drinks in a week. More than 2 at a sitting though! Sheesh!

Anyway, the whole POINT of this thread was to ask about my absolution, not about my drinking habits. Thanks.

What an interesting thread. We understand you don’t have a drinking problem and don’t want to suggest you do.

I think what people are speaking to is a few of the things you mentioned are similar to characteristics of people with drinking problems and may have caused undue concern.

So we applaud you for taking notice something might bring you towards sin and being aware of it in your actions. Should it become a problem in the future you have a lot of good information and resources.

Back to the original point of your thoughts bringing you to a near occasion. If you were to have a drinking problem, and felt your drinking was effecting your life negatively to such a degree that you needed to confess it, and yet knowing this was a problem planned to continue it anyway; then yes, it might effect the absolution because it would be planning to continue something sinful.

But since it’s not a problem. You’re good!

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