There are those who would say that since the behavior is addictive the degree of culpability is questionable and one may receive Holy Communion so long as one confesses as soon as possible. I do not subscribe to such an opinion so readily. Addictions are not influenza or strep throat. Ordinarily one can control addictive behavior with the combination of personal honesty, God’s grace, proper motivation, and common sense. Certainly, there are severe cases where one’s culpability can be diminished partially or even completely. In such cases the confessor will inform the penitent that a sin has not been committed. Indeed, a regular confessor or spiritual director is a very real necessity in such extreme situations. But for most people addictive behavior is far less a threat to our freedom than our permissive, victim-oriented culture is inclined to have us believe.
Most of us are far freer than we think. The fact that one cannot receive the Eucharist in the state of mortal sin can be a further motivation to avoid the occasions where one is weak. It is also possible to ask a priest to hear one’s confession outside of the prescribed times.