12 Steps for Living With Chronic Pain

I saw this posted by a chronic illness group I follow on Facebook, and I had to tuck it away for future personal reference. It really speaks to me at this moment in my life, as I'm struggling to make sense of my life and the possibility of chronic pain being a permanent, prominent fixture in it... and struggling with the knowledge that the chronic illnesses will be a permanent fixture. It also reminds me of my days in Celebrate Recovery, and the healing that came from working through those 12 steps with trusted fellow strugglers... so it's a good medium to speak to me and help me work through some of the issues I've got going on. (SO many of these steps smack me upside the head!)

So without further ado, I present the 12 Steps for Living With a Chronic Pain, by Susan L Gardner

1. I am powerless over chronic pain and it makes my life unmanageable. I do what I can and the rest will have to wait until I get to it.

2. I refuse to feel guilty about having a health condition that limits but does not stop my life. Chronic pain guilt will eat you up. Let it go…. Make the best of what you have and live.

3. I will do a fearless inventory on my losses and my emotions. I will explore my past, relationships with my family, friends, co-workers, and employers in an effort to gain perspective of how chronic pain has affected my past, and in order to be at peace with my present and gain hope for the future.

4. I am willing to make amends where necessary. I’m sure along the way I have made others angry, and for that I am sorry. However, I refuse to take on any un-necessary responsibility or guilt that does not belong to me.

5. I refuse to accept mislabeling in my life. I will no longer accept terms like lazy, crazy, mental, addicted, malingering, seeking secondary gain, hypochondriac or any other of the countless, thoughtless titles included in the stigma of chronic pain to be allowed in my life. I am a human being as well.

6. I will remember to pace myself. Take things one step at a time in my recovery process. I am not out of the race, I just have to run a little slower.

7. I am willing to take responsibility for my illness by use of research and advocacy in order to make the best decision for ME. After all, I am the one living this life.

8. I refuse to accept that I can no longer be a viable person and believe that my God has, in his infinite wisdom, a purpose designed, just for me.

9. I will seek out a healthy balance of life. These includes medical, spiritual, emotional, social, psychological and physical health. In addition, I will seek out joy, peace, love and laughter.

10. I know that chronic pain affects every aspect of my life, but it does not have to control my life. I must learn to look at life in a different light by finding new ways to do old things.

11. I will remember that living with chronic pain affects my family, as well as myself. And, in order to stay a healthy family, we must learn to communicate.

12. Most importantly, I want to share my journey, showing care, warmth, respect, encouragement and understanding to my chronic comrades in life.

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