This is my first post here. I’m not sure if this is the right forum or not so please forgive me if it isn’t. I also apologize because this is pretty long.
A little history.
I was raised Catholic pre Vatican II and attended Catholic school for 3 years during the period when nuns were the teachers and corporal punishment was practiced.
When I was a teenager, I became pretty wild and rejected Catholicism and in fact all of Christianity due to my pereception that most Christians were hypocrites. I dabbled in Eastern religions and the ideas of karma and reincarnation.
I finally did go back to the church when I got married and since my husband was Protestant went through RCIA with him so we could be married in the Church which we were. We have since been divorced. I was the one who left because I became infatuated with a married man and my husband didn’t measure up to him and I was just stupid.
I was advised by the priest at that time to get it annulled but refused because it was a sacrament and I didn’t see any reason that my sinfulness should render it null and void. I did try to reconcile with my husband but he wasn’t having it.
I continued to attend Mass but not confession or communion.
I also had some bad experiences besides the parhochial school ones that have bothered me a lot.
Our pastor was a pedophile. We never knew this until he molested some boys in our parish and committed suicide by blowing off his head with a shotgun he borrowed from a parishoner. Some of the parishoners refused to believe it even though a meeting was held and everything was disclosed to us.
I took a job as a secretary at a Catholic Church and the pastor there was horrible too. In fact just about everyone was. I was a lot different than them and not the best typist in the world.
I was not allowed to make one single typo in the bulletin which was 10 pages long. If I did the pastor flew into a rage. The nun in charge of the children’s program was always snidely telling me what a good secretary hers was. Insinuating that I wasn’t.
I was called in for counseling. At the time, I was taking medication for anxiety and I took two Xanax so I would numb myself out. I was put on probation for my job.
I went to my doctor and got a slip so I could collect my sick leave and never went back to that job.
Still I continued to go to Mass every Sunday.
Then I relocated to another state in the Bible Belt. I stopped going to church. I began drinking and developed substance abuse problems. I became addicted to opiates, got off them and was clean for 5 years.
In my job, I had access to medication. I began stealing narcotics and once again found myself addicted which only made me steal more and more.
I felt so guilty and horrible about what I was doing that I took a week off to detox at home. I was clean for two weeks and relapsed and went back to stealing the meds.
I was caught, terminated, will lose my license and am facing criminal charges.
During the two weeks that I was clean I felt a strong pull to contact the local Catholic Church and seek reconciliation. I found their website and sent an email. The priest called me and set up an appt.
So I did go to confession and received absolution. For present and past mortal sins. I couldn’t even get into the venial ones because they were so numerous at this point.
I thought I would feel better but I still feel full of remorse and guilt. Rationally, I know God has forgiven me but emotionally it’s not taking. Then I beat myself up because who am I to not accept God’s forgiveness? If He can forgive me, why can’t I forgive myself.
This may be partially due to Post Addiction Withdrawal Syndrome which does cause anxiety and depression for several months.
So do I just wait for my brain chemistry to return to normal? Does everyone feel relief when they receive absolution?
My penance was to read Luke 15 and reflect on it and pray about it which I’ve been doing.