When a family member or friend is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it can prompt people to take action to get them the help they need. While some individuals recognize their problems and seek help on their own, others do not. Sometimes an intervention is necessary to show concern and help them to see that their addiction is not only hurting them, but others as well. The goal is to get them to accept the offer for help and attend a treatment program.

Interventions are delicate situations. They must be handled with care so as not to create more problems and escalate the situation. Intervention specialists can help families to strategize and plan for the meeting and what each person will say. One technique that is commonly used is having each participant write a letter to the person expressing their concern and letting the person know how their addiction has impacted the participant. This helps to keep things structured and reduce the risk of having emotionally charged outbursts.

Letters should be carefully constructed so as not to place blame but instead show compassion and concern while being honest about the problem and encouraging treatment. Each letter should be personal and encompass a few main points:

  • Start by showing compassion and concern

Open the letter by expressing your love for the person and how much they mean in your life. Share some positive memories about good times you had together and how they have helped you. Discuss inspiration or motivation that they provided that changed your life. Let them know that they are appreciated, valued, and loved, and that is what is prompting your concern.

  • Address specific examples of how their addiction has become a problem

Many people struggling with addiction are in denial that they have a problem. They come up with excuses for their actions and behaviors. Instead of placing blame or providing subjective statements, give solid facts and examples. Pick out specific times when their addiction has interfered with a commitment they made or their ability to follow through. Explain how this made you feel. Using “I” statements can help remove blame from the situation and make it more personal. It is hard for the person to argue with how a family member or friend feels.

The person may not even remember these events occurring depending on the state they were in at the time. Or, they may not have realized the impact that their actions or words had. Pointing out the differences you notice in their life and how it has affected your own can show the severity of the situation. You want to make the person realize that they are harming themselves and others without being cruel about it. Remain honest yet compassionate.

  • Ask them to accept the help that you are offering

Close out your letter by asking the person to accept the help that you are offering. Reiterate your love and concern for their well-being. Be supportive yet firm. Oftentimes hearing what everyone has to say can be enough to help the person see that their addiction is a problem. If they do not accept the offer for treatment, outlining the consequences of their refusal may be necessary. In either case, the intervention specialist can then help to facilitate the next steps.

Intervention letters are not meant to place blame or make the person feel shameful about their situation. It is to convey concern about their well-being and the desire to help them achieve a healthier lifestyle. A well-planned and executed intervention can have a powerful impact.

Chapters Capistrano can help you to learn more about addiction and the treatment process. If you are ready to take the next step and get yourself or your loved one the help they need, contact us today to find out more. We are prepared to guide you along each step of the way and help you start a new chapter in your life.

Medical disclaimer:

Chapters Capistrano strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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