How to Break Through a Recovery Plateau

In mental health, Recovery by Tree House Recovery

The early weeks and months of addiction recovery are challenging but also rewarding. It’s hard to get used to living without drugs and alcohol but you will also probably feel better physically and feel happier while connecting to others in treatment and working through issues in therapy. This early period is when you notice the most positive change. However, many people find when they’re out on their own and recovery becomes more or less routine that it’s easy to lose steam and get into a rut. They no longer see the rapid progress and they lose motivation. They may start cutting corners by skipping meetings or neglecting other aspects of their recovery plan. This is a dangerous time in recovery because if you’re not moving forward then you’re moving backward. Here are three ways to get out of a recovery rut and start moving forward again.


Talk to your therapist.

The first thing to do when you’re feeling stuck in recovery is to talk to your therapist or your sponsor. Often, feeling stuck is related to unresolved mental health issues so it’s important to discuss your problem with a therapist. The earliest stage of relapse, emotional relapse, is typically characterized by bottling up emotions and neglecting self-care. You probably aren’t even thinking of relapsing at this point but that might change if you aren’t careful. Talk to your therapist even if you aren’t quite sure what’s bothering you. Together, you can come up with a plan to get you moving in the right direction again.


Take on a new challenge.

As you progress in recovery, the things that worked well for you early on might not be enough. We need challenges to stay engaged and if you’ve just been doing the same things for 10 months, you might be a little bored. Instead of feeling dissatisfied with recovery, consider the possibility that you’ve mastered the basics and it’s time to add a new challenge. Maybe it’s time to take on more responsibility at work or start a new hobby. Maybe you need to change your orientation to what you’re already doing. For example, if you’re getting bored with 12-step meetings, maybe it’s time to take a more active role and start volunteering. Be more engaged with helping newer members.


Look for inspiration.

If you feel stuck or adrift, it might be because you need some inspiration. You may still be committed to staying sober but that’s an “away from” goal. It might help to have some “towards” goals as well. Look for role models to expand your sense of possibility. These might be people you know from treatment–or perhaps alumni–or they may be total strangers. There are now many excellent recovery memoirs by people who have escaped very deep holes to accomplish amazing things. Seek out these stories and let them guide your sense of what’s possible in recovery.


Recovery from addiction is a constantly evolving process. It’s also a very individual process. No two people are alike. At Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon, we work with you to create an individualized treatment program to build a strong mind, body, and spirit. Call us today at (503) 850-2474 to learn more about our unique addiction treatment program for men.