My life before WRAP, while I was learning WRAP, and now as I live WRAP has been amazing. I have traveled the world, met many fascinating people, and learned the gift of living life in wellness and recovery.
Many years ago, I felt very hopeless, lost in the grips of pain both physically and emotionally. I grew up with my four sisters and a brother in Tennessee. I left home at 16. I’ve had many jobs—from cook, forest ranger, and community organizer to drug and alcohol counselor and coach. Life was living me: work, home, family, school, and no real time for much else. It was wearing me down.
I had adopted a son who needed special care and attention. I was told he would need special care his whole life and that I wouldn’t be able to care for him at home. It was becoming difficult to go to work. The environment there was causing me to have headaches and pain, and I wasn’t sleeping. I was becoming very unwell. I was even hospitalized at one point due to my inability to cope with work, the loss of my mother, and the daily focus on supporting my son. Life was living me.
I had an opportunity to attend a WRAP workshop that was being offered at work. It was presented as a tool for staff to use while supporting the individuals who were seeking services from our program. At the time, I was part of the community organizers program. We supported individuals to find the tools they needed to live successfully in the community.
Taking Back My Life
The WRAP process showed me that I needed to take back my life and not let others live it for me. Learning to have hope again and supporting others to have hope was a big part of my wellness. I decided to attend as many WRAP classes as I could; I followed Mary Ellen Copeland to many of her trainings. She became a mentor, a supporter, and a friend.
I began to take on WRAP as a new way of life: to hold hope, to take personal responsibility, and to learn all I could about myself and what I wanted in my life. I began to advocate for my son and for myself. I got support from friends, family, and other WRAP facilitators. I learned wellness tools; I planted a garden; I started walking every day. I began journaling with supporters and even began a women’s support group that continues to meet regularly.
Eventually, I decided to leave my job and pursue WRAP as a career. I started my own company and began facilitating WRAP trainings. I would invite new WRAP facilitators to follow me just like Mary Ellen did for me. I began meeting with other mentors who supported me to build my own company, and I built a program for mentoring.
Since then, I have traveled the world mentoring and supporting others in their journeys toward wellness and well-being. I stay connected with the Copeland Center as a consultant and friend. I have given talks and presentations at several workshops, conferences, and meetings. I have consulted with large organizations and county and state agencies to mentor them toward a well workforce. WRAP can support a business, organization, school, or community to focus on well-being and provide a structure for a healthy business and the wellness of individuals working there.
Living a WRAP-filled Life
WRAP has given me and countless others a structure to use as we plan our wellness.
It can be adopted for many life events and challenges. Life is worth living, and living it with WRAP allows us to be uniquely ourselves, without blame, shame, or guilt. There is no room for criticism, judgment, or hate.
Now my life is WRAP filled. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share, encourage, and invite others into the process of wellness. My son is now a beautiful young man with a high school diploma and two jobs. He has a driver’s license and many supporters. We have a family WRAP. Mary Ellen taught me a lot about myself, and I’m grateful to have met her and to call her my friend. I can’t imagine my life without WRAP. Thank you, Mary Ellen, for this incredible gift!
Life is amazing—go live it!
BJ North is an Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator and Owner of Conscious Educators, Santa Cruz, CA.