The struggle, the habit, the priest and despair



First off, even though this initial post is sort of lengthy, I hope some of you actually take the time to read what I have to say

because I need someone to hear me.

I tell myself that God and this religion are the only things I truly care about. There’s nothing else I’d rather spend my time doing than being involved with my parish, the Church at large, and attempting to increase my own relationship to God. I am proud of what I have accomplished in this regard, but I continue to fail by continuing to allow myself to fall into mortal sin.

I’m struggling with lust to an unprecedented degree. After years and years of being nothing less than *an unfulfilled sex addict *(addicted to masturbation for 12 years, pornography for 6 years, and craving after women and sex since puberty), this really comes as no surprise. The struggle is immensely difficult, and *thanks be to God for giving me as much grace as he does *-- but there are times, like today, when I’m depressed for certain, concrete reasons, that my faith and hope give out so I give up and give in.

And I feel like dirt immediately afterwards.

Yesterday I went to confession to confess my lust. (Mind you, now that I sit here in mortal sin, I am awaiting my next opportunity for confession…) (Please, God, allow me the chance soon…)

There’s this priest who…well, who I just don’t like confessing to, as I’ll explain why below. Given his physical health and general inability to preside over any Masses, I think the other priests of my parish have made him the general go-to man for confession. He’s a very astute man. He’s very smart. I even heard that Pope John Paul II called upon this man personally when the child molestation cases started springing up.

Despite all these wonderful qualities, I must admit that I never leave the confessional after speaking with him feeling like a great burden has been lifted, as if things have been explained to me about what I can do to combat my sins, etc. He gives penances which cannot be completed easily, however, but are nonetheless fitting. Most of the time he tells me that I’m not living a holistic life or that I need to strive for better relationships with other people. While I cannot deny that this will indeed help me in some regards, I don’t quite understand how doing this will help me on my journey to ease my lust. For instance, I could form a great, outstanding relationship with some woman whom I might find exceptionally attractive – and recognizing her as attractive, I* might continue to lust in my heart*…or worse, physically through masturbation.

I’m not sure why I mention this priest except that I somehow feel that if someone was able to confront my “lesser” sin of lust upfront and directly, I might have avoided falling into mortal sin.

Then again, maybe not. I recognize that I did what I did because a deep part of me lost faith and hope. I was and am depressed because my job will likely be eliminated at the end of the year, and I’m anxious about the future. I tried praying, tried consoling myself to the fact that the future is in God’s hands, the Lord’s will be done, but no matter what I did or prayed, my mind and body yearned for pleasure. It’s a shame that I am so fickle and that I willingly jeopardize my eternal soul for something so fleeting as pleasure, but that, unfortunately, is who I have been for so long.

I tell myself that God and this religion are the only things I truly care about…but *I only need to wait until the worst of times *to find out that that’s not entirely true.

(If you read all of this – thank you.)


Well! I have just come out of a state of trial of strong sexual hype. It was so strong and I could not ever get out of the situation (even though it is with my wife), because the spirit is far too strong for any of us to concur. I put it that way because it is what it is, and no less than what you have been going through for years, although in different ways.

Yes, I read all of your note and there is only one answer to it all, if and I mean “if” you really want to do away with being controlled by that oh! so strong, over powering, under mining spirit of “lust” then you have to repeatedly get on your knees keep telling God “help me”.
You are not alone, and there are so many who cannot let go because the spirit is not only one. No it is many, and they come under the names of lust, greed, self inhalation (spiritually), self gratification.
I have heard the spirits speak and they ask you to do many things even though you would have heard them in your mind and thought that they were only you, but NO they weren’t. Yes you heard them in your mind telling you self gratifying things, and it all seems so nice and desirous at the time.

Remember how Judas Iscariot had thoughts of "well’ I’ll just… Jesus. that was satin.It all seemed so innocent, Judas was getting deeper and deeper into losing control, satin took every chance it could. Just like Judas climbing a hill, then when he had kissed Jesus Judas was at the top of the hill and then…what did satin do? he left Judas by himself he had been used as far as satin wanted. What could Judas do, there was no place to go satin had left him, and so he took his life. And the spirit that drove Judas laughed, as it does to all who copy what the spirit wants.

Say good by to those spirits and get on your knees and do not give in praying, telling Jesus that you are not in any way strong enough to get away from this situation by your self. Ask God for help tell Him, plead with Him, “seek God while He is there to be found and He will come”.
Satin will not give up, do not think God will not help, do not think that God doesn’t care, keep on telling God you cannot do it on your own, because you can’t.

End product is that you can have the peace, tranquility, and freedom God promised, the same way I have and many others who were like you now have.
You are on my prayer chain from tonight on.



I am praying for you.

Some resources that may help:

Catholic Support Group for Sexual Addiction Recovery
The first Catholic support group of this type. It is an online forum-based support group.

Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance
I have been in a similar situation as you. I did these steps because nothing else had worked, and I was willing to try anything to overcome my problem. Two weeks into following the seven steps, I was freed from addiction to mortal sin. My results are not typical; generally the SPCDC recommends you work on those steps for two months. But my testimony shows that if you get serious and follow those steps, you can be freed from seemingly hopeless bondage to mortal sin.

Spiritual Warfare Prayers
Contains several prayers appropriate for your situation.


I read all of your post, and I understand your pain. I’ll pray for you during my Rosary today.
Remember: God loves you.


Read it all. Praying for you and this cross.


Have you looked into any resources on spirtual warefare. Here’s one resource from an excellent teacher…Rev. John H. Hampsch, CMF


well looks like there could be much help here for you so God bless and remember you are NEVER alone.



my only suggestion is the one many saints have offered before me, you seem to have found a good, even excellent confessor. follow his advice to the letter. don’t worry about “how is this going to help me” just do it.


I read your entire post and I see several things happening at once.

  1. You’re beating yourself up over this. The more you do this the more that you will feel stress. Stress increases our need for an outlet. The best approach is to find other outlets for stress. Take your dog for a walk, even if you don’t have a dog.

  2. Stay close to the Sacraments.

  3. Find a spiritual director, preferably someone whos is trained in the spiritual life. Not all priests are trained in the spiritual life. Mysticism is an optional area of study at most diocesan seminaries. It is usually taught under the Department of Religious Studies or the School of Theology as a separate degree.

  4. You may want to ask your conessor if he can suggest a good Christian counselor. You sound like persons whom I have met who have an addiction.

  5. If you do have an addiction to masturbation, culpability is significantly diminished and even non existent. Only a good spiritual director or pastoral counselor can tell you for sure how much culpability you’re responsible for.

  6. Try to see your life in big picture form. Sex is a part of the big picture. The Church and God look at the whole person. Don’t just look at your one weakness. That will only depress you. Try also to see the consolations that God puts in your path for the good that is part of who you are and the good that you do.

  7. Your confessor’s suggestion about a holistic life is correct. Every saint has his or her “non religious” activities. St. Teresa played the guitar and wrote. St. Fancis played the mandolin and enjoyed the company of good friends. Bl. Mother Teresa has a long list of friends with whom she corresponded. Of course she had her work among the poor and the formation of the sisters to take her mind to different places during the day. John Paul II played sports, wrote plays, hiked with youth and enjoyed skiing. Bl. Pier Giorgia Frasati had his friends, attended classes at the univesity and his poor friends for whom he cared. St. Teresa Benedicta had her circle of friends with whom she enjoyed engaging in philosophical debates and discussing women’s issues. As you can see, the devout life is a healthy comprehensive life. It’s not all spent in Church. Even cloistered nuns and monks play sports and have hobbies.

Taking care of the poor is one of the best cures for sin and guilt.

St. Francis taught his sons and daughters to accept responsibility for their actions and enjoy the beauty of life and joys of community at the same time. There was a balance that had to be maintained. Detachment from our sins is also part of the devout life. Those who become overly concerned with their sin, as to forget the graces that they have received are forgetting one very importanat thing. As the angel said to Mary, “Nothing is impossible for God.” Therefore, no sin is so big that God cannot understand it or forgive it. If you are truly sorry that you may have offended the Lord, then thank the Lord for the gift of contrition. You only feel contrition, because of grace that you have received.


JR :slight_smile:


This is excellent advice. Taking your faith seriously, as you wish to do, does NOT mean shutting out everything but that which refers to God and your faith life. For everyone, but for lay people especially, the important thing is to live your broad, interesting life for the glory of God.

If I tell you not to think about elephants, you won’t be able to get the thought of elephants out of your mind. If, however, I instead distract you with other wholesome ideas, the thoughts of elephants will fade away on their own.

Your priest was so right. Go find something interesting to do that’s not about your faith or avoiding sin. Do it for the glory of God and with gratitude for the enjoyment you derive from it. Live a balanced life. You’ll do much better, if only from the good effects of obedience.



The liturgy of the hours can be a big help. Try geting into it a little bit at a time or else it can become overwellming. You do not need to pray all of the hours. You may want to keep a copy with you when you feel most temped open it up and pray the office of readings. another pry that can help is The Chaplet of Saint Michael the Archangel.


Hi could you help me with the full “liturgy of the hour” please my one seems to be morning and night prayers only.




I recommend meditating on Jesus scourged, pray often the stations of the cross, pray often the Jesus prayer, " Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner" or the shorter version, "Lord, have mercy on me a sinner". And **trust Jesus’ words that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over 99 who have no need of repentence. ** “Jesus I trust in You.”


Fantastic post! Good advice.


Hello friend :hug1: There is so much good advice already I don’t know what to add.

Though I can relate, I have a similar problem with lust. I find when I’m strongly focusing on God lust is easily avoided, but the slightest depression or drop, then I falI and give into my lust.

We have to trust God, if possible, seek help. Maybe find a hobbie?

I am currently writing a fantasy novel and find that that sometimes keeps me away from falling, I dunno.

Blessings and peace my brother in the Lord!


Rest assured that many (if not all) of us wrestle with temptations that seem overwhelming. When we succumb we all feel worthless and despair our sinfulness. I have read this post of yours (and some others you have left) and be sure that we are praying deeply for you.

I fear your level of despair! My suggestion (to go along with the Spiritual one offered) is to find a good, trained therapist to assist you in your journey. Many are Catholics who can combine the Spirituality and the Psychological aspects of healing for your benefit.

Peace be with you!


A therapist???

Nice to know people 'round here think I a nutcase.


I did not mean to offend you! My sincere apology! I was trying to make a suggestion. I, too must be a “nutcase” in your opinion because I have used a therapist , a Catholic, with fantastic results, for me.

I will keep my mouth shut.

Peace be with you and I it doesn’t offend you, I will continue to pray for you.



First of all, here is a glimpse of your problem. In order to overcome a problem one has to admit that there is one. If you have an addiction, then you need a therapist or a support group. There is no shame in this. It certainly does not make one a “nutcase”.

Second, to help you feel more comfortable with the idea. There are not such things as nutcases or insane people. Those were terms that lawyers invented to get people out of jail free. Each condition and problem has a specific name, just like in any other branch of healthcare. Addictions are common and they do come under the expertise of healthcare and self-help groups such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, a spn-off AA. They do awesome work. In case you did not know it, the twelve-step programme is a Catholic method. It began in Sacred Heart Hospital in Aakron, OH with a Catholic Dr, a patient and an Augustinian nun, Sister Ignatia. The method will never lead you astray.

Third, many lay people, religious and secular priests are trained in spiritual direction. Those who are are also very well versed in developmental psychology. They can easily help you navigate the spiritual journey according to your current stage of development. I know, because I do this for my ministry.

You cannot solve this issue on the internet. You can’t solve it at home. God does not use miracles on everyone. In most cases he helps us to reach the perfection that we’re striving for using normal human means. He promises that he will provide the grace to make them work.

Only twice in the Gospel did Jesus use the word “always”.

  1. The poor will always be with you.

  2. I will always be with you.

God is with you. You have to be pro-active and get out there to get help so you can feel happier and closer to him and more whole within you.


JR :slight_smile:

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