Addiction and Traditional Prayer

This evening five men gathered with me to discuss the Catholic sacraments, prayer, a life of holiness and charity to others as the means to overcome addiction.  We have been meeting for a couple of months now.

IMG_9977We had a lively discussions about their belief in Alcoholics Anonymous and my belief in a Catholic way of regaining sobriety.  Most of them believe that A A is good for getting you sober and that then you start being a good Catholic.  They claim that you have to become sober before you can begin to do anything correctly.

My good friends Fr. Shannon Collins and Fr. Sean gave me the book “Alcoholics Anonymous and The Diabolical Twelve Step Programs” by Michelle Fleming.  This booklet is from Canisius Books Scarborough Ontario Canada.  Phone # (416) 321-0637 or E-mail

Michelle Fleming claims that the New Age is behind the A A and N A.  She believes we need a Catholic way to freedom from addiction through prayer and the sacraments.  Then we no longer need to identify ourselves as Alcoholics or have to keep going to meetings to stay sober.  She uses the example of venerable Matt Talbot who used the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Scripture, the Holy Rosary, prayer, the Sacraments (especially confession) and penance to over come the sin of addiction (it is not a disease).

lamb-panisI will write another time in more detail what she explains.  I know that many of you who read this are supporters of A A and N A.  I would invite you to google Canisius Books and buy one of the booklets and let me know what you think.  I know a great deal about the New Age Movement, LSD and A A meetings.  I know that the programs have helped many people become sober.  But I contend there is a better Catholic way.

What we discussed this evening was becoming healed spiritually, mentally and physically through the Catholic Sacraments, prayer, holy friends, sacrifices and charity to others.  This is my desire as a Catholic priest, to help everyone become whole in Jesus Christ.  We also discussed that we will always be wounded (except for a supernatural miracle) from the sins we have freely committed in our past or are presently committing.
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 But God’s mercy and healing does give us a new life.

Let us pray and help one another to be free of our disordinate passions.  Let us develop our God given passions for truth, the Holy Latin Mass, happy families and selfless love.  Our passions need to be directed toward what is good.  St. Thomas of Aquinas said that all sin is caused by our will being directed to the wrong pleasures.  The soul wants pleasure too, but it is heavenly Godly pleasures, not selfish worldly pleasures.
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 When we sin we are looking for some good, but it is a disordered good rather than eternal goodness found in God.

Vice is caused by continual acts of sin that become a bad habit.  Virtue is caused by continual acts of goodness that become a good habit.  Like going to Holy Mass every Sunday becomes a good habit that becomes easy to do.  You even feel bad when you do not do go.  Using drugs starts with recreation and end up being a bad habit get you hate after you are addicted and now find it terribly difficult to stop even when you life is out of control.

stanthony2Teach your children self discipline now.  The repetition of good things become a good habit or virtue.  The repetition of bad things become a bad habit or vice.  Let us take the example of cussing.  You start out saying a few bad words and before you know it you have bad habit of cussing when you do not want to and it is hard to stop.  Or say smoking.  You just start smoking to be cool and before you know it you have a stinky expensive habit.  Or say you start praying and reading the Bible a little each day, before you know it, it is easy to do and you enjoy it.

But we all need God’s grace, discipline and good friends to live a free life of virtue.  May we all help each other get closer to God and be free to Love Him and Love others.