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  • Writer's pictureChoice Recovery

The Recovery Plateau

The irony of life is that the harder we work at it, the easier it gets. The same is true for recovery. The more we put into our recovery, the less we hear from our addiction. While it may take us a while to realize this truth, as addicts, we never give-up the hope that someday we will reach a recovery plateau where the rewards of recovery are delivered even if our effort is diminished.

This hope causes us to create a vision of what our path in recovery will look like once we have completed the “no fun” stuff like treatment, the twelve steps, service work, meetings, etc. We falsely believe that if we complete these essential recovery steps, we will have reached our destination, we will be cured from addiction, and the life we have always known will return.

As our recovery continues, and the benefits of sobriety enter our lives, we allow ourselves to rationalize why we are different. Why we will ultimately be able to lessen our recovery efforts. Why we will be able to continue one or two central pieces of our recovery plan while abandoning the rest yet remain clean and sober. We will convince ourselves that the fear of relapse does not apply to us.

Anytime this attitude takes hold, there is reason for concern. At some point, because addiction is so powerful, we will be reminded that recovery is not a destination to achieve, it is a lifestyle to live. The routines and daily actions that have returned sanity to our lives should not be abandoned or given up. They are to be used as the foundation for greater growth. The ability to maintain sobriety comes from an awareness that any thoughts or actions to the contrary is the first step to relapse or us returning to who we once were.

How to Recognize Plateauing in Recovery:

If any of the thoughts below enter your mind, it is a sign that your addiction is gaining a louder voice than your recovery. It has been proven time and time again that nothing good happens when addiction gains a stronger voice in your decision making.

· When an attitude that “I got this” or a desire to find comfort in recovery appears, be aware that this is simply your addiction lulling you into a false sense of security and state of complacency. When complacent in recovery, you tend to have selective memory about the negative outcomes using produced and forget how bad things really were during active addiction.

· When we enter recovery the disease of addiction has humbled us, so we listen. We listen to what actions and behaviors are recommended by our new friends in AA, our therapist, and our sponsor. However, once we gain some stability and find success in our job, relationships, housing, and other things, our ego begins to return. When this confidence returns, we tend to stop listening to those that got us to this place and pay more attention to that “you got this” voice in our head.

· When the “I’m too busy” voice shows-up, this is a sign that our recovery has plateaued. Sustained recovery brings more responsibility and commitments to our lives. As our time commitments increase, the first thing to go is often the very stuff that delivered the success; our recovery routines. To make time for our new responsibilities, we mistakenly off-load the very routines responsible for our success.

All of us addicts are different, and our addiction attacks us in unique and creative ways. Part of furthering your recovery is about building awareness’s around how your addiction tries to influence you to use again. What tactics is it using to lull you into believing “I got this.” The unfortunate reality of addiction is it never goes away. Our addiction, as it did in early recovery, will continue to formulate ways to get us to use again and we will always need to prepare for its next method of attack.

Sustained sobriety comes from your continued efforts to build a recovery program that is as dynamic as the life you are living. As you gain stability in recovery and life advances in positive directions, the routines and efforts that keep you clean are bound to change, but they do not go away. It is important to continue your growth in recovery by transforming to meet the new demands of life. This transformation will always include those foundational pieces you created in early recovery. However, as time passes and freedom is achieved, a desire for personal growth and the courage to push yourself outside your comfort zone is key. The fact is, there is always something new to learn or someone new to meet who will inspire you to be better. This continued growth is our reminder that recovery does not have a plateau and that the power of addiction should never be marginalized.

About Choice Recovery

Choice Recovery is an opioid addiction and substance abuse treatment facility serving men and women looking to build a better life. More than simply an addiction treatment center, Choice Recovery's outpatient program is designed for individuals who wish to transform their lives.

Located in Mesa, Arizona, Choice Recovery offers IOP services and individual counseling for those struggling with drugs and alcohol. Choice Recovery takes AHCCCS insurance (including Mercy Care, United Healthcare, Banner and more) and offers morning or evening IOP. Group and individual counseling sessions are led by masters level clinicians and Choice Recovery offers a host of supportive services.

For more information about the Choice Recovery addiction treatment program, please call us at 480-527-0337 or email us at


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