Therapy, Confession, Scruples?

For Fapstronauts of the Catholic Christian Faith

  1. StrugglingPenitent

    StrugglingPenitent New Fapstronaut

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    I have been addicted to pornography since I was 13, and I have been struggling with cutting it out of my life for the last two years. I've had a number of relapses, but over time it seems to be getting easier, which I am grateful for, and I have been sure to go to Confession after relapses.

    But in the last two weeks I've really come to grips with how bad my addiction was, and it's weighing on me. I got hooked on hentai/drawn porn as well as erotic roleplay/cybersex very early on, and then hooked on very degrading/obscene/degenerate fetishes through that. I excused that to myself with the thought since it was just art and writing, it wasn't really that bad (not subjecting porn actresses to cruel and degrading acts, etc). But now all those excuses have fallen apart for me and I feel very ashamed that, regardless of it just being writing and drawings, I self-abused to depraved and fetishistic material, and I don't know where to move on from here.

    Is this something I should take to Confession, or do I just need to find a good Catholic or at least Christian therapist, or is this just a normal part of the rebooting process, or what? It doesn't seem rational to be worried that not being specific about abusing fetish material rather than vanilla pornography would make my confessions somehow invalid, but the worry is still on my mind and it's driving me crazy. I am also worried that over a decade of pornography use starting when I was just 13 may have also damaged my psyche and I'm not sure how to approach that either.
     
  2. CPilot

    CPilot Fapstronaut

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    Every help I have ever read on Confession begins with a recommendation to consult a Catholic Examination of Conscience and when I do so, I always find something I might have otherwise omitted. Nevertheless, I am sure that no honest and truly contrite Confession is invalid. Personally, I don't think I am called to humiliate myself in confession by recanting the specific details of each of my sins as long as I don't fail to reveal them at least in a general nature but that is my personal feeling. One of the many benefits of Confession is to wash away our guilt by honestly conveying our sins. Perhaps if you feel your confessions have not thoroughly assuaged your guilt, then you should reveal those things in your next confession. Freedom is worth any price.
     
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  3. CPilot

    CPilot Fapstronaut

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    Shortly after I typed these words, I was led by Mr. Eko to a free book online http://patrimoinechretien.com/Bibliothèque/Oeuvres/ScupoliSpiritualCombat2016en.pdf. I have only read chapter XIX so far but these words seem to speak directly to your question.

    " Therefore, in this temptation (when you are not clear as to whether you have consented or not) it will be sufficient to confess the whole as briefly as possible to your spiritual father, and then to rest satisfied with his opinion upon the matter, without thinking about it more. Be careful, however, that you lay bare before him every thought, and do not let human respect or shame hinder you from doing so. For if in all cases we need the virtue of humility in order to overcome our enemies, we must exercise it in this more than in any other ; [64] this vice being, as a rule, the punishment of pride."
     
  4. StrugglingPenitent

    StrugglingPenitent New Fapstronaut

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    So if I'm reading this right, if I had fully laid out the matter as honestly and bluntly as I could (which I believe I was at my last Confession, I was blunter than usual because I was angry at myself for relapsing again), I oughtn't feel the need to revisit the matter at my next Confession?
     
  5. CPilot

    CPilot Fapstronaut

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    Correct! I have committed some truly reprehensible sins in the past and memories of these horrible choices still return to me from time to time and when they do it is hard not to feel guilty. However, as Catholics we are privileged to have the sacraments and particularly Holy Communion and Reconciliation.

    Faith is a choice and our faith teaches us that once we confess our sins to an ordained priest and when He conveys the Lord's forgiveness to us, we are forgiven. This amazing grace is of such a divine and unconditional nature that it is hard for the cynical human mind to believe. However, it is very credible and it is important to our souls to believe in this miracle when it is given to us. Once you are forgiven through confession you must also forgive yourself. God does not want us to be burdened by feelings of guilt and thus the reason He gave these sacraments to us.

    Remember how the father came rushing out to greet the prodigal son in that parable. He saw him far off and came rushing to him to put a golden ring on his finger. The father's only thought was joy at the return of his son. No recriminations, no demand for recompense. God is faithfully represented by the father in this story. No matter what reprehensible and disgusting thing we might do, if we return to the Father and sincerely seek His forgiveness, He is there rushing to forgive us. Once He has forgiven you, forgive yourself and commit to sin no more and if you do sin again, rush back to the Father.
     
  6. StrugglingPenitent

    StrugglingPenitent New Fapstronaut

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    So this sudden sharp feeling that I didn't confess hard enough because I didn't enumerate every detail of my pornography & hentai abuse, might just be a manifestation of my general anxiety/OCD issues, then? That would be such a huge relief for me, so I hope I'm hearing you right.

    The story of the prodigal son (and other similar Biblical accounts, and the lives of saints in similar situations such as Augustine) is simultaneously one of my favorite parables and also perhaps the hardest one for me to grasp, yes. It always awes me to consider that the Lord would be willing to forgive me any number of times, and would never withdraw His mercy; I don't really ever feel worthy of forgiveness when I keep falling back into sin (especially PMO, it feels absurdly shameful that I've relapsed a half dozen times at least since I started trying to quit). I know His forgiveness is unending; just hard for me to wrap my mind around and internalize it.
     
  7. Hero25

    Hero25 Fapstronaut

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    Therapy? absolutely yes (don't be a purist Catholic who denies the good and just help of medicine and psychology).
    Confession? absolutely yes, especially if you are in mortal sin.
    Scupules, fight them because scruple is bad for both the spiritual life (virtue is in the high middle between laxity and scruple) and are bad for your physical and psychological life (it really harms your psychological part a lot, which will consequently your spiritual life too, no one can pray well with a disordered head).
    Both, you need both to go to confession and the psychiatrist/psychologist for therapy. Remember, you are body and soul, you need to take care of both.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
  8. jarvyjarvison

    jarvyjarvison Fapstronaut

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    I too suffer from scrupulosity. It's really hard. I've read it's associated with OCD. I've had other symptoms of OCD throughout my life but I don't fit the mold of your typical OCD sufferer (I'm a bit of a slob). Look into Pure O OCD.

    Also, my church teaches that one should "sum up with specific wording, not details, so as to protect the innocence of the priest. God already knows the story." This will save you the embarrassment of confessing the gory details of your sin and it preserves the innocence of the priest. It's win-win. Think of the priest, man. He doesn't want to hear the ins and outs of the horrifying world of pornography. Of course, you could always ask the priest how detailed you should be. You can't go wrong with that, right? Tell the priest you have some sexual sins that are really shameful and embarrassing and ask him. What could go wrong?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
  9. StrugglingPenitent

    StrugglingPenitent New Fapstronaut

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    Okay, I think that seals it, I'm probably just being scrupulous with a side of OCD. I don't think I fit the mold of your Pure O OCD, though, I have to check my locks many times (frequently 10+, some very horrible days 20+) times before leaving my apartment, and my stove gives me so much grief I sometimes just pull the burners out to try and stave off the compulsions. It really makes trying to assess what I need to confess in a given week, very difficult, since I know I can't trust my own thoughts and instincts.

    I will be hoping to get health insurance when my place of employment opens up enrollment for health insurance this fall, it's driving me batty trying to deal with the side-effects of porn recovery on top of OCD and everything else. I know I can't do it alone and I'm quite sure it's dragging my spiritual health down along with my mental health.

    Thank you for your responses, guys, it's very helpful and I really appreciate it.
     
  10. CPilot

    CPilot Fapstronaut

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    I read this recently from Fulton J. Sheen's "Life of Christ" Ch. 27. I hope it is helpful to us all.

    “It is by endurance that you will secure Possession of your souls.

    LUKE 21:18


    The possession of a soul means the undisturbed mastery of oneself, which is the secret of inner peace, as distinguished from a thousand agitations which make it fearful, unhappy, and disappointed. Only when the soul is possessed can anything else be enjoyed. Our Lord here meant patience in adversity, trial, and persecution."
     
  11. Anywherewithyou

    Anywherewithyou Fapstronaut

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    May I also add, (sorry if I missed this in anyone else's comments) but the devil will use your guilt against you. Once he knows our weaknesses, he will try to crush us with guilt.

    I've heard it said this way: the devil convinces us that sin is harmless before we commit the act and then he convinces us that it's unforgivable after the act. You needn't be thoroughly detailed in content, only explaining the portion that makes it sinful. It is no more sinful to watch hentai pornography than it is to watch a different genre. But if you want to explain it to a priest, that is alright as well.
     
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