How Does Addiction and Recovery Compare?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

recovery road

Addiction and recovery can be viewed as opposing cyclical systems. There are a number of parallels between these transformative experiences, but the two are also in constant conflict. Whereas addictive behavior spirals a person’s life into distress and turmoil, beginning a recovery program gradually rebuilds a needed sense of stability. Understanding how these mirrored processes are related can help people reduce destructive behaviors and transform them into productive ones.


Both addiction and recovery are focused on the concept of control. When individuals are diagnosed with a substance use disorder, their behavior is ruled by cravings and compulsions. Essentially, those who fall into an addicted mindset will begin to perceive actions, events, and circumstances as factors that cannot be actively influenced. As a condition worsens, the ability to manage activities outside the scope of using drugs or alcohol becomes impossible.

In contrast, clinicians and other health professionals work to empower those in recovery. People gradually regain control of their actions over the course of receiving treatment. As this progress continues, individuals will begin to see the authority they have over their own outcomes and situations.


Selfish characteristics can be the most noticeable symptoms when loved ones are stricken by addiction. They may begin to shy away from social events or hide their behaviors from others. In fact, they may even react defensively when questioned about their behavior. All priorities begin to swell around substance use. This need to satisfy personal cravings is what fuels abusive activities.

While recovery can also promote a powerful ego, this selfishness becomes a positive force for those seeking self-improvement. Instead of focusing solely one’s desire for instantaneous reward, treatment programs advocate the wholeness of an individual. In order to maintain this continual healing process, members of recovering communities must be increasingly attentive to their limitations and available resources.

A chronic and progressive nature

Oftentimes, drug or alcohol use begins as experimentation. Unfortunately, consuming chemically rewarding substances can quickly manipulate a person’s life path with an escalating series of bad decisions. If left unchecked, an addictive disorder can last a lifetime. Once this harmful habit rewires the brain to a certain extent, a cycle of abuse can become especially difficult to break.

Unlike addiction, recovery requires consistent effort to build and maintain. For some, making the initial decision to change is a major obstacle. For others, committing to the many challenges that follow is even more difficult. Although the amount of time and effort are much longer and larger than the process of addiction, those in treatment have nothing more to lose and everything to gain.






Hidden within the seclusion of a lush estate, the residential homes of Avalon Malibu sit, offering the privacy and premiere clinical treatment you want for your loved one. Our treatment programs offer both mental health and substance use disorder care. As one of California’s only primary certified treatment centers, our ability to provide holistic, personalized, co-occurring care is unparalleled. Call us today for information: 888-958-7511

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