MBA lessons in recovery – Building Social Capital

I often wonder why 12 step programs take for some and others it doesn’t work.  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”.  But 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. 

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. 

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. 

Adam Banks is a certified recovery coach and interventionist at Suntra Modern Recovery.  He received an MBA from the University of Chicago and built a company which United Health Care acquired. He learned his rigor and attention to detail from his career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Suntra Modern Recovery provides medical treatment for alcohol and opiate addictions via video visit with medical doctors. Suntra’s alcohol and drug intervention services are available in New York, Long Island, and the Hamptons. Treatment for opiate and heroin addiction, including Suboxone treatment, can start today.

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