Convincing a loved one that they have a substance abuse problem and they need help is hard enough to do on its own. However, sometimes the situation can become even more complicated because your loved one keeps finding out when you’re planning an intervention and they leave town.
It’s not easy when you finally come to the conclusion that someone you love has a problem. However, once you do, it’s important to do whatever you can to help them understand that they need help.
For many people, the best way to proceed is with an intervention.
This entails talking to many people to get their support for the intervention. This may also involve some training so that you know the most effective way to talk to your loved one.
Then you have to figure out a time and place for the intervention and then start planning to make sure everyone is there, on time and ready to go.
Then… your loved one never shows up.
How Did They Find Out?
First, you have to determine whether the loved one simply had something else come up so that they weren’t at the location you expected, or whether they found out about the intervention and purposely stayed away.
Sometimes, you’re simply not as sneaky as you think. It can be difficult to gather several people for a surprise without attracting unwanted attention from people who you don’t want to know about it. You may just have to try and keep a tighter lid on your plans for the next one.
However, another common reason for these types of problems is that someone involved in the intervention actually told the loved one what was planned.
Everyone knows that people suffering from substance abuse problems are frequently ambivalent about facing their problems. What people don’t understand is that sometimes the very people who agreed to be part of the intervention end up with mixed feelings about it as well.
People get caught up between understanding that the loved one is in danger and needs help and being afraid about how they will react. Thinking that the loved one will be angry with them for being involved in the intervention is a powerful deterrent for some people and it might lead them to tip off the person with the substance abuse problem.
Sometimes this is a conscious decision, but other times it is completely unconscious.
Regardless of who is helping the person avoid the intervention, you still have to consider how you are going to handle the situation. The person still needs to understand that their friends and family all think they need help.
What To Do Next
If you find yourself in this situation, you just need to get better educated and adjust your strategy a bit.
Many people feel the surprise nature of an intervention is the reason that they are effective. However, this isn’t the most important part of the process.
An intervention works because of the combination of influence and leverage. If your loved one knows that you won’t quit, talk to them about showing up anyway. You may be able to convince them to just show up and “get it over with”.
You can also convert to other methods – the ARISE model has worked for many people and the motivational intervention written about by Ed Storti has worked for many people as well.
The key is to not give up. Although your loved one may not know it, they are depending on you to help them understand that they need help.