aristotle - 3:28 pm on Oct 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
I've done a lot to recover and didn't give up - cleaned the link profile, disavowed links and even got a manual penalty lifted.
If you disavowed a lot of backlinks (or got them removed), then your site is no longer getting any PR "juice" (rankings boost) from those backlinks. So without the boost from those backlinks, your rankings most likely won't return to their previous high levels even if the site has been fully released from Penguin. In order to completely regain your previous rankings, the site will need to acquire enough new backlinks to make up for those that were disavowed or removed.