Relapse is part of recovery. Be prepared. Have a plan.
The Wellness Recovery Action Plan, developed by Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, is a structured system for monitoring uncomfortable and distressing signs and symptoms, and through planned responses, reducing, modifying or eliminating those signs and symptoms. It also includes plans for responses from others when your symptoms have made it impossible for you to continue to make decisions, take care of yourself and keep yourself safe.
The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) approved program that Skyland Trail offers to clients. Clients approaching their graduation date typically start to develop a WRAP plan with a certified peer counselor. The WRAP model encourages the individual who will use the plan to also write it, identifying how he or she wants help before a crisis as part of the planning process.
Wellness Tools and Resources
The Wellness Recovery Action Plan is made up of five sections. In the first section of WRAP, individuals identify what wellness looks like for them – how do they know that they are doing well.
Identifying Triggers & Early Warning Signs
In the second and third sections of WRAP, individuals identify triggers and situations that can lead up to a crisis. During these stages, individuals recognize their own early warning signs and decide how best to deal with these signs. For example, if an individual is having a bad day, a coping skill might be watching his or her favorite movie or going on a long walk with his or her dog.
When Things are Breaking Down
Section four of WRAP outlines signs that the individual may be beginning to relapse. In this stage, the individual identifies signs and symptoms pre-crisis and forms a plan of what to do. For example, when a situation worsens, an individual may decide that instead of using the coping skills in stage two, he or she may need to talk to his or her doctor about whether or not medications are working effectively.
Section five, entails forming a crisis plan. This plan answers questions like, who do we call, where do we go, what do we do, how do I know that I need someone else to make decisions for me, etc. WRAP empowers people in the individual’s support network to take action and provide appropriate help in a time of crises, guided by the crisis plan. WRAP also allows the person in crisis feel more confident that their voice and values are represented in the decision-making process when they are not able to care for or make decisions for themselves.
Click here for more information about the Wellness Recovery Action Plan.