What is the secret to success in recovery?

As I observe people in recovery meetings, I have observed that the people that jump into the program and “work it” seem to have the best success.  An adage is “meeting makers make it.” Why is it that meeting makers make it?

I reflect back on a class that I had at the University of Chicago about social capital and network effects. Social capital is value that we create when we connect with other people. There is an intangible value to our relationships with others.  Further, social capital is built though network effects. The more people we connect to, the lager our network is and the more social capital that we have.

To understand a network effect and social capital in a business setting, think of the accountant that doesn’t ever get promoted out of the accounting department. Due to the technical language that he speaks, he has lunch with accountants and he plans social outings with others in the accounting department, he exists in a small network. 

Building social capital with sober friends

Now think of the person that seems to get promoted quickly, likely they are connecting to many different departments, everyone seems to know this person, they say hi to the janitors, meet the accountants for a drink, and attend all of the office events. This person builds social capital; they have a large network that branch off in many tangents.

As I observe people in the beginning of their 12-step journey, people that come into the program and dive in, have a greater chance of enjoying the program and having a successful program.  

A common recommendation to new people into a 12 step programs is to go to 90 meetings in 90 days. This is a way to turbo charge building social capital and a network. After attending a few meetings, people start to build kinship with other people; they begin building a new sober network rapidly. 

Sober friends can help you stay on track with your recovery

Before long, friendships can build across a broad-spectrum of people; we call each other and text each other to check in. We teach each other about the program. This new sober social capital helps to keep someone on track, shepherd them though the program. As we make new friends they help us to recover.  

The people that I have seen with long-term sobriety often say that their best friends are friends that they met in the program. They dive into the program and do the work of meeting new people; they build strong support networks in recovery. 


About Suntra Modern Recovery and Adam Banks

Adam Banks is a certified interventionist at Suntra Modern Recovery. After receiving an MBA from the University of Chicago, Adam built a company that was later acquired by United Health Care. His discipline and attention to detail comes from his former career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Adam recently co-authored Navigating Recovery Ground School: 12 Lessons to Help Families Navigate Recovery. In this lesson book Adam and John Roesch walk families through the entire intervention process. Suntra also offers a free video course for families considering hosting an intervention for a family member. 

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