I am proud of the review by Ruth McIntyre in February’s Anglican Messenger. Her comments are generous. Read them below.
SUFFERERS OF chronic pain, and those who care for them, will find great comfort in this short book. It does not recommend throwing away the prescribed medication, but offers carefully described ways to make the most of a life that must be lived as well as possible.
As Ted Witham writes: Pain disables us. Pain takes us out of circulation – it seems to erect barriers between us and our families, our friends and our work. Pain imprisons us. At its worst, pain claims our total attention, and we can do nothing else but react in anguish.
How then to cope? In twelve steps, each detailing ways of understanding, Ted Witham offers his own experiences of meditation with exercises that will challenge other sufferers.
Refreshingly honest in approach, Living Well discusses the accompanying depression of chronic pain and suggests ways that will help to overcome it. Spiritual responses are thoughtfully underpinned with practical methods of approach.
Practical and emotional support is highly desirable and the writer has produced a manual to accompany the text. Walking the 12 Spiritual Steps with those in Chronic Pain: The Manual for spouses, friends and pastoral carers (Spirit-Ed 2008 ) is carefully and thoughtfully presented to help people closely involved with the affected person to gain increased knowledge and understanding. How is it possible to be truly helpful and supportive without impinging on the dignity and privacy of the person with chronic pain? What inner struggles are likely to be standing in the way of accepting the burden of pain and probably affecting the relationship?
Ted Witham, though a priest himself, places no great restrictions on the views of God held by those who seek help. There is room to develop knowledge and grace on this journey of pain and he shares his experiences, both practical and spiritual. as guides to enrich the lives of others. Relevant readings from the Scriptures are suggested for each of the steps.
Pain Management Programmes have the capacity to improve the patient’s quality of life, reduce suffering and distress and provide a more satisfactory lifestyle. They are not designed to eliminate pain or provide the patient with a cure. (Australian Pain Society: http://www.apsoc.org)Ted Witham is equally realistic. His goal is abundant living – the best quality of life that is possible – and that will include taking part in some of the things patients want to do and activities that are important to them.
If chronic pain is a problem to you or someone you love, this book and its guide will prove invaluable.