Step One of Chronic Pain Anonymous – We admitted we were powerless over chronic pain and chronic illness—that our lives had become unmanageable.

 The word We moves newcomers out of isolation, enslaving them within obsessions intent upon fixing their chronic pain and or illness. Nothing worked. Their emotional, mental, and spiritual angst only compounds their physical disorders and renders them even more sour-tempered, frazzled, and difficult to get along with.

Such was my initial entry into this spiritual fellowship as a result of bone fractures I sustained in 2017. Daily conference calls and work with a sponsor helped ease my way into this new way of living. As my lung functioning worsened, however, my Twelve Step practice tipped my decision to request hospice’s palliative care in November 2019. So my terminal illness displaced my chronic illness, and still using the CPA Twelve Steps, I continue growing spiritually—that’s all that really matters.

Key to this process is the Ingredient, Surrender: I had to give up controlling my symptoms—shortening my life—over which I was powerless. I began to relax within the healing process and became teachable, another one of the Ingredients: its primary lesson—to let go and let things be as they are for this moment. Then, I heeded Step One’s imperative to cultivate an honest relationship with my body and to befriend it.

Still another Ingredient, Accepting the unacceptable, became the prayer with which I begin each day. At best, I hope this practice will ease my entrance into mortality, still a huge issue. Willingness also counters my denial and rationalization that block Higher Power’s transforming grace, without which this work is impossible.

Such psychic changes, of necessity, propel me toward Step Two. Reduced to my knees, I reach out for help. It is there.