What you say to your addicted loved one at an intervention can make a big impact on his or her choice to enter treatment. You have the opportunity to share your concerns as well as your hopes and fears for the future while asking him to get the help he needs to change his life. Ultimately, your goal is to help your loved one to recognize that he is living with a debilitating addiction, and that treatment is the best way to learn to live life free from the control of drugs or alcohol. Writing an intervention letter prior to the actual meeting gives you a chance to organize your thoughts so that you can share how your loved one’s addiction has affected his life and lives of his loved ones.
Intervention Letter Tips
The goal of any intervention is to get your loved one to agree to treatment.
You set the stage for your loved one to agree to get help, by:
- Pointing out specific example of destructive behaviors
- Offering prearranged treatment with clear steps and goals
- Letting him or her know what the consequences for refusing treatment will be
Using a pre-written letter during an intervention lets you think through what you want to communicate to your addicted love one before sharing it. The following is one example of an intervention letter:
Dear Loved One,
Thank you for listening to us today. I know this may not be easy for you, and I appreciate the fact that you are taking the time to hear us out.
I know you may not believe that you have a problem with alcohol and drugs, but it’s not always easy to see the changes as they are happening. I realized the seriousness of the issue at my wedding when you made a huge scene at the reception and later drove your car off the road. Since then, I’ve tried to help as you lost your wife, lost your job and had more and more health problems due to your drug use, but I can’t save you from your addiction. Every day I am scared that you are going to overdose or get into an accident.
I want you to know that I don’t blame you for the problems caused by your drug and alcohol abuse. Addiction is a medical disorder, and medical treatment can help. We have signed you up for a drug and alcohol rehab program, and we are asking that you agree to go right now, today. Please accept this offer of help. If you decide that it’s not the right choice for you, I understand and I will always love you, but I am unable to stand by and watch you continue to hurt yourself with drugs and alcohol.
Please choose treatment. I really want you to get better.
Staging an Intervention
Along with writing a letter prior to the intervention, it’s important that you and your intervention team do the following:
- Consult with a trained interventionist to help you plan and carry out your intervention. Professional interventionists have the experience and resources to help you reach your goal of getting your loved one into treatment.1
- Gather information and prepare your team members. Each person on the team should be someone that has influence in your loved one’s life. Each person on the team must be brought up to speed on the damage the addiction is doing.
- Decide on specific consequences if your loved one does not agree to treatment and follow through. If there are no consequences for refusing to get help, your loved one has little motivation to make a different choice.
- Approach the meeting as free from emotion and judgement as possible. Remember that addiction is a disease, and your loved one needs treatment to survive.2
Finding Help for Addiction
A formal conversation with your loved one about his drug use can be instrumental in helping him to agree to get treatment for addiction. Planning and carrying out an intervention can seem overwhelming, but it might be the thing that saves loved one’s life.
We can help. Contact Black Bear Lodge today to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day.
1 Wilcox, Stephen. “Intervention – Tips and Guidelines.” National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 25 July 2016.
2 “Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 July 2017.