Blog Pieces & News

According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the definition of recovery is “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” By definition, we could surmise that recovery is for everyone.

Sadly, the stigma surrounding the concept of recovery is often first thought of in relation to those with mental health conditions and substance use disorders, with the false belief that recovery is not possible for some. This thought process places limits on who can recover and what someone is able to recover from. 

Research shows that social stigma may often prevent individuals from seeking treatment or supportive services due to feelings such as shame, guilt, or unworthiness, which further perpetuates stigma, discrimination, and decreased wellness not only on an individual level, but a community level.  Often, those whose voice and choice have been taken from them experience isolation and disregard. To combat stigma, discrimination, and isolation, it is important that we recognize recovery is for all people and recovery is possible. Everyone in the world has experienced prolonged trauma due to COVID, which has led to countless people experiencing continued depression, mental health issues, physical health conditions, and anxiety. We are a world of people who are hurting.   

Knowing that recovery has multiple pathways, we also recognize that an individual’s wellness is personal and having an action plan is key to enhancing overall wellbeing. 

Twenty-five years ago, Mary Ellen Copeland and a group of peers with lived experience developed a self-directed process for getting well, staying well, and returning to wellness after a crisis. This process is called WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan), and it is used by thousands of people around the world to recover from all types of life challenges, including addictions, mental health challenges, physical illness, relationship issues, and losses. WRAP is evidence-based and is shown to reduce psychiatric symptoms, especially depression and anxiety; and to increase hopefulness, quality of life, recovery, empowerment, and self-advocacy.

One way we can stand together in community is to recognize that each one of us has inherent worth and there is value when we hold people with unconditional regard. When we use our voice and share our recovery story, we are able to find connection with others, while at the same time learn more about ourselves. 

Shortly before I was introduced to WRAP, I was in a barren land. It was dry and dusty, which left me feeling parched and empty. Walking in withered to my first facilitator training session, I sat in my seat expecting to become more depleted. As the facilitator started sharing his introduction, he captivated me with his personal sharing and it was then that a seed was planted in the desert place. Over the course of the 6-week training, I experienced more planted seeds and multiple showers of hope. On the final day of training, I looked around at the wasteland and noticed that there was growth in the middle of a crack and the most beautiful flower was emerging. Feeling hopeful, I left that training knowing that WRAP was now a way of life for me. That was four years ago, and now I’m sitting in a field of flowers. Can you smell them? Are you able to see the multiple magnificent colors? I will not forget that the beauty of this growth came as a result of others planting seeds and caring for them, making sure to cultivate them in a warm and safe environment. 

Without a shadow of a doubt, I knew that the blooming occurred because others met me right where I was at and these connections were helping me get well and stay well. And it was during those four years that I grew more and more blooms, enhancing my wellness through self-discovery and understanding that I had choices and options. This autonomy was like Miracle-Grow! 

Emily Dickinson once said, “Hope is the thing with feathers-That perches in the soul-And sings the tune without the words- And never stops-at all.  

How about you? What ground are you walking on? What is working for you on your wellness journey? What would you like to improve on your wellness journey?  

If you are interested in learning more about WRAP and how this world-wide wellness process can be implemented on an individual basis, a group setting, or throughout your agency, organization, or business, please reach out to us at 309.827.5351 x206. We are committed to growing the garden of recovery and wellness from which all can benefit.