The Wellness Recovery Action Plan® or WRAP®, is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be. It was developed in 1997 by a group of people who were searching for ways to overcome their own mental health issues and move on to fulfilling their life dreams and goals. It is now used extensively by people in all kinds of circumstances, and by health care and mental health systems all over the world to address all kinds of physical, mental health and life issues.WRAP has been studied extensively in rigorous research projects and is listed in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
WRAP Will Help You:
- Discover your own simple, safe wellness tools
- Develop a list of things to do every day to stay as well as possible
- Identify upsetting events, early warning signs and signs that things have gotten much worse and, using wellness tools, develop action plans for responding at these times
- Create a crisis plan
- Create a post-crisis plan
WRAP is for anyone, any time. It will support you in being the way you want to be and doing the things you want to do.
“When the group developed WRAP, I was so impressed that I went home and wrote one for myself. As I began to live WRAP, my life changed dramatically. Over time I felt better and better and better. WRAP is a way of life for me—a great life.”
— Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, author of the original Wellness Recovery Action Plan
Wellness Toolbox – A list of resources used to develop your WRAP. It includes things like: contacting friends and supporters, peer counselling, focusing exercises, relaxation and stress reduction techniques, journaling, affirming activities, exercise, diet, light, and getting a good night’s sleep.
Daily Plan – Describe yourself when you are well, and list things you need to do every day to maintain wellness.
Stressors– External events or circumstances that, if they happen, may make you feel uncomfortable. These are normal reactions, but if we don’t deal with them in some way, they may actually cause us to feel worse.
Early Warning Signs – Internal, subtle signs that let you know you are beginning to feel worse. Reviewing Early Warning Signs regularly helps us to become more aware of them and allow us to take action before they worsen.
When Things are Breaking Down – List signs that let you know you are feeling much worse, like feeling sad all the time, or are hearing voices. Using your Wellness Toolbox, develop a powerful action plan to help you feel better as quickly as possible and prevent an even more difficult time.
Crisis Plan – Identify signs that let others know they need to take over responsibility for your care and decision making. Outline a plan for who you want to take over and support you through this time, healthcare, staying home, things others can do to help and things they might choose to do that would not be helpful. This kind of proactive advanced planning keeps you in control even when it seems like things are out of control.
Post-Crisis Plan – You may want to think about this part of the plan in advance and write some things to do post crisis. However, you may want to write most of it as you are beginning to recover from the crisis—when you have a clearer picture of what you need to do for yourself to get well. If you have just been through a crisis, let your Post Crisis Plan guide you as you heal.
Key Recovery Concepts
Five key recovery concepts provide the foundation of effective recovery work.
Hope – People who experience mental health difficulties get well, stay well and go on to meet their life dreams and goals.
Personal Responsibility – It’s up to you, with the assistance of others, to take action and do what needs to be done to keep yourself well.
Education – Learning all you can about what you are experiencing so you can make good decisions about all aspects of you life.
Self-Advocacy – Effectively reaching out to others so that you can get what it is that you need, want and deserve to support your wellness and recovery.
Support – While working toward your wellness is up to you, receiving support from others, and giving support to others will help you feel better and enhance the quality of your life.
There are a lot of different books about WRAP and aimed at different types of problems, including this one:
WRAP for Addictions: Finding Freedom from Unwanted Patterns
WRAP for Addictions: Finding Freedom from Unwanted Patterns is an adaptation of the flagship WRAP: Wellness Recovery Action Plan explicitly designed for adults and older teens who want to gain control over powerful urges and unwanted, compulsive behaviour patterns such as drug or alcohol use, gambling, sex, eating disorders, self-injury, gaming, pornography, lying, and more. This edition of WRAP for Addictions: Finding Freedom from Unwanted Patterns is the first significant revision to this book since the 2012 update of the original WRAP for Addictions.
WRAP for Addictions presents a proven method based on the evidence-based WRAP program to support individuals to improve the quality of their lives by incorporating wellness strategies into daily life—both in general and specifically around reducing or eliminating unwanted, compulsive behaviour patterns. WRAP for Addictions is a personalised approach to addressing addictions. Each person decides for themself what “wellness” and “recovery” look like. As stated in the introduction:
WRAP doesn’t tell you what to do. The goal of WRAP is to build a toolkit of things that work for you. The WRAP process invites you to think about what you want in your life and decide how to make it happen.
- Practical steps and concepts
- Ongoing recovery management tools
The WRAP book’s aim is to help you follow your plan and achieve your goals.
Abstinence is not required in WRAP. The WRAP program supports you to define your wellness in your way. You are not required to abstain from substances or behaviours to be able to use WRAP. In fact, there are no “readiness” requirements for the WRAP program at all. If you want to use WRAP, that means you’re ready. In this book, when we talk about “staying clean,” we use that term to mean following through with whatever level of use or engagement works for you—not necessarily abstinence. It’s up to each of us to determine what recovery looks like in our own lives. You can use whatever term and whatever guidelines you feel comfortable with.
If you choose to use WRAP, this book can help you:
- Decrease and prevent unwanted or troubling feelings and behaviours
- Increase the sense of personal choice you have about how you live your life
- Improve your quality of life
- Help you achieve your life goals and dreams
With WRAP, you can:
- Discover your own simple, safe wellness tools
- Develop a daily plan to help you stay as well as possible
- Identify upsetting events or circumstances and develop action plans for responding to them without using substances or engaging in other unwanted behaviours
- Create a strategy to gain support and stay in control of your wellness during and after a crisis
WRAP for Addictions is a foundational book for any WRAP program. Use it on your own or with an evidence-based WRAP group focused on general wellness or addictions. Like all other WRAP materials, WRAP for Addictions is compatible with other health and wellness strategies, supports, and treatment programs, including 12-step programs.
Who this book is for:
This book is specifically designed to support wellness for those who are actively dealing with or in recovery from addiction. It was written with guidance from individuals who have experienced all types of addiction and used WRAP to:
- Help support the recovery process
- Stay well
- And rebuild their lives.
This may have involved:
- Recovering from a drug, alcohol, gambling, nicotine, self-injury, or other addiction
- Finding and living in decent, safe housing
- Getting a good job and having steady employment
- Finding job training opportunities
- Going back to school
- Healing relationships with children, family, and friends
- Addressing and paying off financial debts
- Going to a counsellor
- Seeking mental health or substance use treatment
- Learning to use community resources that support recovery
- Seeing a doctor or dentist for regular check-ups or concerns
- Meeting new people and trying new activities
If you have struggled with addiction or unwanted patterns or are currently in that struggle, you are not alone. Sometimes, though, the journey can feel lonely. Family members and friends who don’t understand may not know how to respond or provide support. They may be dealing with their own addiction or other challenges that put a wedge in relationships. This can be discouraging. But WRAP has helped many find hope even when things are tough. We invite you to try out the WRAP process and experience that hope and empowerment for yourself.