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Before I describe my recovery in CPA’s worldwide spiritual fellowship, let me review its textbook, Recipe for Recovery – A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Chronic Pain Anonymous (2015). It has also become the manual for my terminal illness, Interstitial Lung Disease with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

With years of recovery in AA, I sensed I’d have some inkling of what I would find upon its pages, or so I thought. Thanks to daily study with my sponsor, its differences began to flower pinkness: there was recovery within my end time and I would have it. My practice of CPA’s 12 Steps gentled changes within my motives, thinking, and actions, slowly replacing ineffective ones that had kept me miserable in my diseases. It was about finding a new Higher Power.

To simplify this process, the anonymous authors of our text, also disabled, adopted a cookbook format, its words spare and succinct; only the essentials presented for its members, with low-to-no- energy. Like a succulent dish, each Step is presented with the following components: Ingredients list psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects that best go into working that Step; Description speaks of what that Step teaches; Directions reflect members’ spirited language with that Step; Working the Step contains questions pertinent to deepening the process; and What It Looks Like includes members’ stories related to working that Step. Like rungs on a ladder, each Step builds on preceding ones.

Since last November, Recipe for Recovery – A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Chronic Pain Anonymous has supported my one-day-at-a-time-living with terminal illness. Despite occasional setbacks—grist for more spiritual growth—I continue learning and I am content.



Since 1927, a band of men have been living in rural Ireland, their spirits disciplined by prayer, work, and respect for the harmony of nature. Unperturbed by wars and rumors of wars in whatever sector of society, they have quietly excelled in their unique gifts and became teachers in demand, the world over.


Mindful of sexual abuse scandals among their clergy and religious men and women heading up varied institutions, mindful of the acute shortage of priests, and mindful of the disaffection of believers, they devised a remedy in 2001. One of these spirited men enlisted the help of six others, including a woman, and they collated a prayer book from their own experience, flavored by their Celtic spirit and love for nature. It was hoped that those who’d purchase it would access their inner priest and again experience communion with the sacred through “prayer stops” throughout the day. This has happened and continues to happen with over 100,000 copies sold.


Consequently, their dwelling place has become a vortex of wholesome energies touching the depths of those who visit or to stay in one of their hermitages.


Who are these men of spirit? Where can we find them?


In two weeks, I will have the privilege of visiting their Benedictine monastery located in the rolling hills of Murroe, County Limerick, Ireland. With forty others, I will participate in a study group devoted to discovering and articulating how shadow components hiding out in our psyches play havoc with relationships to God, to others, and with ourselves. I will also experience their Mass, illumined with Gregorian chant.


Note: The Glenstal Book of Prayer: A Benedictine Prayer Book, is still available on Amazon.



Available on Amazon

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