East Sussex Recovery Alliance Living Free From Addiction

Is WRAP the best kept secret in the recovery community?

I have been around the recovery block a few times. I have been to hundreds of meetings, I have paid for years of therapy and I have stayed on the wagon for 15 years. So, when my mandatory ‘staff member’ slot on the WRAP course rolled around last year, I wasn’t expecting anything new.

WRAP stands for Wellness in Recovery Action Planning. It's all about building resilience in recovery by better understanding our own triggers and responses. One of my first thoughts on day one of the course was 'why has no-one told me about all of this before now?' 

WRAP takeaways

WRAP has taught me that I am responsible for recognising and managing my own triggers going forward, and not just for the damage I caused in active addiction It has taught me to recognise how my own thinking and behaviour changes, and under what circumstances that is most likely to happen.

I am more aware than ever before that the consequences of not managing my triggers could very well derail the quiet life that I have come to value so much.

I have come up with my own personalised bundle of supporters and resources that I can use long before anything hits the fan. It's not my wife’s job to pick up on early warning signs and to let me know that ‘something is going on’.

Five principles

There are five principles that underpin WRAP. I know from my own experience, and more recently from clients at ESRA, that building up these areas increases the chances of a positive and sustained outcome. Once these things are part of our daily recovery, we become more able to handle adversity and to bounce back when life gets difficult.

Here are the principles of WRAP:

  1. hope
  2. personal responsibility
  3. education
  4. self-advocacy
  5. support

Self-advocacy is a big one. Learning to do this confidently is both life-changing and impossibly difficult for many people.

WRAP is the bit that sits between our willingness to recover, and our ability to stay abstinent.

The missing link

This is why I would love to see a future at ESRA where WRAP is part of the core offering. In an ideal world, WRAP training would be run in the recovery hubs, with facilitated refresher meetings once a week. Graduates will have the chance to let one another know what worked, and how challenges were resolved. It would also remind everyone why it is important to be able to spot the warning signs that are unique to us all, and to take responsibility for managing them. If nothing else, it will make for a more peaceful life for us, and the people with whom we live and work.

Personal bill of rights

All of this is made even more powerful with a Personal Bill of Rights. It tells us that we have the right to ask for what we want, and to change our minds.

The WRAP personal bill of rights tells us that we have the right to be uniquely ourselves.

Many of us in the recovery community have sacrificed our confidence along the way. Some of us are not always used to asserting what we want, and believing that what we think is a fundamental right.

I have secretly imagined myself printing off piles of copies of this Bill of Rights, and putting them in public places for people to pick up, read and take home. I think that if people in recovery could take even half of it on board, then their recovery trajectory would change in ways that they had previously not even imagined.

This is why I really do believe that WRAP training is a breath of fresh air in the recovery community.

For more information on WRAP, check out Coastal Wellbeing

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