“Whether it’s physical or emotional,” says LVRC Medical Director, Dr. Mel Pohl, “all pain is real and needs to be treated. But finding the appropriate treatment can take time, and a person in pain often just wants to be ‘fixed.’ Now. And feeling that way is completely understandable and acceptable.” What’s not acceptable, to Dr. Pohl, and many chronic pain sufferers (of whom, by the way, he is one himself), is to simply treat pain with increasing dosages of opiate pain medications. “Especially not when effective alternatives exist.” These complimentary and alternative therapies, advocated by Dr. Pohl, form the basis of the Pain Recovery Program at LVRC and include such techniques as mindfulness/meditation, distraction, stretching, yoga, Pilates, Reiki, acupuncture, Chi Kung, physical therapy and attitude adjustment. And according to Pohl, that lattermost might be the most effective. The attitude that we must be completely free of pain is both unrealistic and counter-productive; however, if we adjust our attitude to accept that we may always function with some level of pain, not only is this more realistic, but allows the pain we do have to become more tolerable. CRP Senior Staff Writer Dan Mager has a chronic pain condition and once used opiate pain medications every day—for more than eight years He completed the Pain Recovery Program at LVRC in 2006, and hasn’t taken opiates since. “I never would have thought it possible for me to experience significantly less pain while being opiate-free. Prior to treatment, if anyone had suggested that to me, I would have asked them what drugs they were on. Through my experience at LVRC, I’ve learned to accept and live with my chronic pain with as much grace as I can mobilize.” Ironically, Mager worked as a highly placed and well regarded behavioral health professional involved in direct clinical practice during the last twenty years of a three-decades-long active addiction. During treatment and early recovery, he became aware that his professional knowledge and skills—which previously had helped enable him to rationalize and deny his addiction—had the potential to be a valuable resource in his process of recovery from both addiction and chronic pain. Mager’s own recently published book, Some Assembly Required: A Balanced Approach to Recovery from Addiction and Chronic Pain, (Central Recovery Press, 2013) details the real-life application of Dr. Pohl’s model of pain recovery.