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Chronic Illness and the Twelve Steps: A Practical Approach to Spiritual Resilience Paperback – August 31, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hazelden (August 31, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568383479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568383477
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 4.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #995,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Martha Cleveland's chronic illness proved to be one of the great gifts of her life. From it she has learned that none of us has ultimate control over our own body, but we do have control over how we respond to whatever situation life hands us. In her mid-thirties her symptoms forced her into panic and despair, but over time she learned to accept her condition and live in a rich, wonderfully rewarding way. She went to the University of Minnesota, gained a baccalaureate degree, a master's degree, and, in 1978, a Ph.D. She became a Licensed Consulting Psychologist, working in private practice, as adjunct staff with the Family Therapy Institute of St. Paul, and as consultant to various agencies. In her late sixties, she has retired and lives what she feels is the most satisfying part of her life. She and her husband, Walter, live in the suburban home they bought forty-eight years ago. She is deeply involved with her family, friends, gardening, and the rescue work she does with retired racing Greyhounds. She comes to this late part of her life knowing that it isn't circumstance that defines us; it is how we respond to that circumstance that will ultimately tell us who we are.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Wise on August 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am a chronic pain support group facilitator for the ACPA and I have spent months writing my own curriculum to use with my group. This summer I bought Chronic Illness and the Twelve Steps and was amazed at how well the author had grasped the most important aspect of living with chronic pain--Acceptance. Martha Cleveland in her own struggle to live life to the fullest has been able to tell others her secret in this easy to read, motivating book. I thought I knew everything there was to know about living in pain but after reading her book I realized that she has given me so much insight as to how to live even better. Who ever your higher power may be this book is a must for anyone who suffers with pain or cares for someone who is ill or in pain. I am so happy that I happen to stumble upon Martha Cleveland's book as it has given me a hope that I never knew I could have.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sally O. Lee on June 20, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I have had a chronic illness for most of
my life. I have not found a book yet which described with
honesty, compassion, and love, the truths that people with
chronic illness have to deal with daily. I felt validated
and reassured that my pain was real. I would recommend it to
anyone who feels there is no hope to be heard.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've found that reading this book has helped me so much over the years to deal with my chronic illnesses. Using the 12 Steps as a guide I am better able to face my fears and learn to use faith to see me through.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Witham on July 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chronic illness affects a significant minority. Figures for the United States on chronic pain, for example, show that at least one American in ten suffers from chronic pain with its considerable impacts on employment, social participation, finance and intimate relationships.

Books like Dr Martha Cleveland's Chronic Illness and the Twelve Steps, which offer practical help, have a large potential market. Millions of people have chronic illnesses, and those millions have people who care about them and stand alongside their loved ones seeking solutions.

This book outlines the Twelve Step journey and the way it develops emotional resilience to manage chronic illness. It describes, for example, the Steps asking the person to make a complete inventory and deal with the hurts of the past. Dr Cleveland is detailed in her analysis of emotional pain; how to identify it, how to remedy it, how to maintain a healthy emotional life.

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the AA program were founded by Episcopal priest Sam Shoemaker. Fr Shoemaker is credited with the idea of twelve steps as a way of making spiritual resources available to people addicted to alcohol. This book is one of several that AA World Services Inc. have approved that adapt the Twelve Steps for diseases and addictions other than alcoholism. The sub-title of this book promises a practical approach to spiritual resilience in the AA tradition. I, however, would disagree that this book is about spiritual resilience, as its emphasis on emotional pain and healthy emotions is more to do with emotional resilience.

The near reduction of the concept of a Higher Power to faith in one's own projections illustrates the change of emphasis.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Maybe I was expecting too much. The 12 steps used in recovery programs have helped millions of people in a variety of situations. This book doesn't quite make the transition from the 12 steps to chronic illness. Although the basic premise, that we can look at and heal emotional pain, and find spiritual serentity, is good; the path isn't laid out clearly. It's too sketchy, nebulous, and intangible.
Cleveland writes, "Ask your fear what it needs from you." If this works for you, great. I just found it frustrating. She has some good ideas. It was just hard for me to fish them out.
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By Sheila Foley on March 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an awesome book for anyone who suffers from chronic pain or a chronic illness. The book helps with the emotional pain that comes with dealing with chronic pain and illness.
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