Purpose. This study aimed to explore factors which predicated successful long-term pain management for people who had attended a cognitive-behavioural-based pain management program (PMP) in regional Australia. Method. This study used qualitative methods based on analysis of narratives. Fifteen people (11 women and four men), who attended the PMP in 2002 and 2003, agreed to participate in two in-depth interviews with a narrative focus in 2005. Their ages ranged from 30–65 years. Interview transcripts were analysed thematically. Findings. Themes that emerged from the interviews were the meanings and beliefs participants had attributed to their pain at the time of the program and after program completion (i.e. being ready to do the program and acceptance or non-acceptance of the long term nature of their pain). It also identified the strategies that some participants used and continued to apply in their daily lives (i.e. using pacing strategies and reengaging in valued routines and tasks). Conclusion. The findings suggested that the ability to adopt positive meaning attributes and use a variety of strategies was related to those participants who were successful in their ongoing pain management. The importance of these factors should be considered for those attending chronic pain programs.