I’ve discovered that an addiction actually compromises your free will. Being medicated compromises it further. There is a term used in the confessional that escapes me at the moment. But this attitude toward falling into sin because of addiction, and then being excused by the Church because of the addiction I find, disturbing. To what extent does an addict then fight temptation? And finally what does love mandate as the response towards those that tempt an addict?
There are physical and psychological addictions which when recognized as such can minimize the culpability of the individual. Usually the addiction is not intended but starts minimally and then increases as the senses require more to satisfy the same needs as before. It is at this point whereby the individual looses rational control because the physical / psychological dependency outweighs the thought process. In the case of a physical dependence the body cannot function without the chemical that was introduced and maintained.
The Church does recognize that a habitual or addictive behavior can diminish the “full consent” required for a sin to be a mortal sin or even in some cases, a sin at all. Yes, the objective behaviour may be grave matter but the rational thought process is marginalized.
Where does temptation come into play? Well, even an addict is left with knowng that something is wrong. Many feel the enslavement of their addiction and would want nothing more than to strip themselves of this pain. So, IMHO, I would think that the effort that one makes in rehabilitation from the addiction is more of the firm purpose of amendment than the actual act itself. In other words, they need to work on the big picture. So as to say that a drug addict should be held accountable for the one fix he/she had today as opposed to he or she recognizing the addiction and seeking help is the real solution.
Pastoral care is very essential to an addict in order for them to know the love of God and that God is on their side. Most addicts cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel and fall into despair. There must be a great caution that this does not occur. God knows them better than they know themselves. Their compulsion cannot be dealt with by themselves or by anyone who condemns them with judgmental remarks.
Let us keep all of those who are addicts in our prayers as addiction is slavery. Jesus came to free us from our bondages and only He can walk with us in our times of need and bring us to the light…teachccd
There is a certain amount of guilt and shame the addicted feels… down to their very soul. I call these calls for help… while the uncontrolled urges remain creating more guilt and shame. Not all make it out of this quicksand. Those that do, with the help from many sources, do not want to return there, and will do what needs to be done to stay free and clear. Some return, against their new free-will, like the compulsion was greater then their will to fight it. But, there is guilt and shame again. I see the guilt as needing Christ’s help with this, and shame as needing societies help (and those close to one)… which it usually comes down to before sobriety is had.
There is the fact that one can say they did not know this would happen… but they saw it happen to a relative, or friend, or heard of it from others… but thought it would not happen to them, like they are stronger then it is (HaHa). The shame and guilt comes from knowing that weakness deep down. And that one should of known better to began with, even before the addition started. But, when did it start? After the troubles started, or well before that… even at the first try of the substance. So, one is not totally not at fault due to the ‘knowing’ what it does, and not heading that knowledge.
Some cannot have peanuts; some are allergic to dairy products; some are allergic to alcohol and/or drugs; some puff-up with shellfish; Once known, how would that be excused if one took the killer substance???