A common concern, and of course a very good one is “what if he or she hides or runs away from the intervention to avoid going to treatment. We know that by the time an interventionist has been called in to help a family, there have been at least a few attempts from that family or friends at getting them to stop using and to seek treatment. Running and hiding is a common way an addict will avoid the inevitable outcome of rehab. Usually when confronted, and addict will use a variety of manipulative tactics to push away anyone who presents getting sober including, anger, postponement, divide and conquer, pitting other family members at each other and of course running. Addicts are creative when quitting the drug is pushed upon them.

How to handle a runner during an intervention?

Intervention is all about preparation. We know that running and/or hiding is in the front of the addict’s mind when he or she is confronted. So we prepare for it. Every person’s situation, their environment, their demeanor and their response to pressure is particular to that person so we have to be prepared for the possibility that a person may try to run and hide. Truthfully, 90% of those being intervened on DO NOT run and hide. Most will stay to confront it, usually to deny the severity of the problem or to talk everyone out of it. Most addicts are curious and actually looking for a way out of the mess they created with their addiction. Most want to argue some at least but for the most part, they are looking to see what will happen next and usually underneath all of the denial they are relieved that you came to them with a solid plan that isn’t the monster they feared in their own minds.

I cant say that I’ve ever had a true “runner” in many hundreds of interventions over the years. They normally walk out if they leave at all and we are already positioned in the room to handle it with the right people in the right places, a person to go smoke with them, maybe a disabled vehicle, or their anticipated destination already prepared for their arrival, only to turn them back to their family and the intervention. Again, every person is unique and each will turn to their most convenient escape route when confronted but the one thing the addict never has is a plan. It’s always what we have because we prepare for what we know to expect and we always win.

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