An Intervention Letter Helps Maintain Focus on What’s Important
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans know someone who is addicted to opioids. Over half know someone who is addicted to alcohol. Addiction runs rampant in our country, and it affects more people than you’d think,
If you’ve noticed that a family member or a friend has been struggling with drug or alcohol abuse for some time, one of the best things that you can do is write an intervention letter. This is an easy way to approach someone about recovery.
Interventions are bound to get emotional. The intervention letter helps you stay focused. You are reminded of what is important at this very moment. This is why an intervention letter is so integral when approaching an addict about recovery.
If you have an intervention letter, you stay on topic as opposed to falling into an argument with the addict. Rest assured, the addict already feels ashamed. They have also felt alone in their sickness for a long time. They may just be too embarrassed to reach out for help.
If you can’t think of intervention things to say, speak through your heart. You just need to let them know that you love them and you’re there for them. Even though they behaved in ways that weren’t healthy or right, you love them. You have seen everything they’ve done.
An intervention can be a very intense experience. The addict is going to feel like they’re under attack and emotions could become heightened. This is why addiction specialists will recommend that you write an intervention letter that speaks from your heart.
When You Script the Intervention Letter, Keep This in Mind
Whether it’s a letter to dad, an intervention letter to a friend, or to your spouse, there are things to keep in mind. A set standard of intervention things to say will help the addict feel cared about as opposed to judged.
Writing an intervention letter properly allows you to express yourself. You have the time to process what you feel and how you want to let this person know that you love them. The letter you’re writing to the alcoholic or drug addict in your life should be loving and supportive.
Any attempts to blame or cause shame to the person will only drive them further from you. Don’t always expect a positive response to an intervention letter. It’s likely that the addict you love is going to feel betrayed and upset. Being exposed as an addict is extremely painful but a necessary part of making it through recovery.
How to Write an Impact Letter to an Addict
There are effective ways where you can get your feelings across without putting any blame on the addict. Here are some of the things to keep in mind as you write out an intervention letter to a husband, spouse, parent, or friend.
- Be sure to let the addict know that you love them very much.
- Speak from your heart center more than your mind.
- Keep the letter as short as possible.
- Emphasize that addiction is a disease.
- Be as positive as you can.
- Let them know that you’re feeling compassionate towards their situation.
- Let them know you just want to see them get better.
- Remember that this open letter to an alcoholic or drug addict is to help them realize how severe the situation is.
- A letter of intervention should mention that the addict’s private actions cause pain to you and to others around them.
- Express consequences you and others that are a part of the intervention will impose if the addict doesn’t accept offered treatment. This can be inpatient or outpatient treatment or attending family therapy.
Use these points as an intervention letter template. It can be a powerful way to bring segments together to give a powerful all-around message.
Example Intervention Letters
Picking up a pen and paper to write an intervention letter may seem like a daunting task. You may not always feel up for the job or you may have a difficult time putting everything down in black and white.
Below are some sample intervention letters that you can use as a guide when writing yours.
To An Alcoholic Father
I want you to know that I love you very much and I know that you love me too. You have allowed me to flourish as an adult. You gave me a sense of security throughout my childhood and I really appreciate you. You taught me many lessons in life that have made me a better person. You’ve done nothing but support me and this has helped me be the person I am today.
You were the shoulder I cried on when I miscarried during my first pregnancy. You are one of the people I trust most in my life.
Dad, your struggle with alcohol has also been a part of our life experience. We have been riding this wave with you for many years. We see that it runs your life. When you call us late at night, we know that you’re drunk. Your speech is slurred. That time we had to move out of the driveway because you were driving drunk was scary. There have been times when we wanted to talk about something you did but you didn’t even remember.
In the past, I avoid walking into the room in case you were pouring yourself a drink. I make a lot of noise to give you time to hide the bottle that it’s your hand, just in case. I have put a lot of effort into saving you from feeling embarrassed. When you go out into the garage, I know that you’re there drinking alone.
I love you very much and that is why I’ve written this letter. I see what your alcoholism is doing to you. We’re all here today because we need you to accept the help we’re offering. If you aren’t willing to get help with your addiction, I am going to have to stop visiting you with the kids. Will you accept our help, please?
Your loving daughter,
To a Drug Addicted Daughter
I know that we’ve been butting heads lately and haven’t been talking as much, but I want you to know that I love you very much. You are one of the biggest joys in my life, and I will never forget the day that you came into this world. From the moment that I looked into your beautiful, bright brown eyes, I knew that you were something special. You have, and always will be, the light of my life.
From the moment that you could crawl, I knew you’d be a big adventurer. Do you remember when you insisted on going backpacking through Europe the year after you graduated high school? I have always admired your ambition and your love for your adventure.
I know that you have been abusing prescription painkillers for some time now. I know you didn’t mean to, and it all started from that accident, but you’ve changed. You no longer want to explore the world and are always locked in your room. Last week, I came home to you passed out on the sofa. I was so worried about you. This isn’t the first time that this has happened. You no longer eat. You’re not as happy and cheerful as before.
I’m not the only person who has noticed these changes. Your dad and grandparents have also noticed the same changes that I have, and we’re all equally as worried. They love you. We all do, and that’s why we want you to get help. We want to see the passionate woman that you have always been.
It’s not your fault, and we get that. Addiction is a disease.
We’ve found a great place that offers the treatment that you need, and we’ve reserved a space for you. We’ve visited the facility already, and the people there are really nice. We’re confident that they’ll be able to help you get your life back on the right track, and we hope that you’ll be open to giving it a try.
Although it’s hard for me to say this next part, I have to. If you decide not to go to rehab, I won’t lie for you anymore. If your boss calls, I’ll tell her the truth about why you can’t make it work. I’m not going to bail you out of trouble anymore. It’s time for you to take responsibility for your own actions.
Although overcoming addiction may be difficult, it is possible. We want you to know that we — me, your dad and your grandparents — are all here to offer you the support that you need. We know that you can do this. So, will you please consider giving this a try?
As you see with this sample of a parent writing an intervention letter to a son, the structure is similar. It’s about mediating the problem of addiction that someone you love is facing. Here is the breakdown of what to consider as you write your intervention letter.
1. Be Mindful of the Things that You Say and Try to Be as Loving as Possible
Giving words of inspiration to the drug addicts or alcoholics in your life may motivate them to change. Communicate the love and compassion that you feel for them. Make sure that they know that you love them despite their actions and choices in life. Many addicts may refuse to get help because they don’t want to be judged. Let the addict in your life know that you are coming from a place of love.
The first paragraph of an intervention letter to a friend, spouse, or parent should remind them you love them. You want them to know you’re concerned and that’s why you’re here today.
The words are up to you. Be genuine and you’ll likely experience a positive response to the intervention letter you wrote. You can even add in some memories or experiences that you both share. Try to incite feelings of love.
2. Start With Love and Gratitude In An Open Letter to Alcoholic or Drug Addict
If you’re not sure how to write a letter to an alcoholic husband, parent, or child, just consider reminding them of who they are. If you look back to the example intervention letter, the daughter reminds her dad of a situation where he helped her. The mother reminds the daughter of how proud she was of her and her accomplishments.
This will hit the addict’s heart, reminding them of who they can be and what they’ve become. It gives them a sense of worth the drugs or alcohol may have taken away from them. It also personalizes the letter.
Letting the addict know how they’ve helped you in your life and what it meant to you may just be their lifeline. Being grateful to the addict will catch them off guard. They are prepared to derail this intervention in any way they can.
When you give them heartfelt thanks, it lowers their defenses. They may start to cry at this point as you’ve disarmed their ability to fight the truth.
3. Express Your Understanding of Addiction as Part of Your Intervention Script
As you write a letter to dad to stop drinking, you may want to let them know your understanding of the problem. Try to relate to them, and let them know that they’re not alone. You help the addict feel less isolated when part of your intervention script includes the knowledge that you have on alcoholism or drug abuse.
You can let them know you looked it up and you know it’s a disease. You realize the magnitude of the problem. Conclude your proposal by offering to help them find and get them help through a professional treatment program.
4. State the Facts in Your intervention letter
While it’s important to offer an encouraging letter to the drug addicts and alcoholics in your life, you have to get real too. This may feel really difficult because you have to open up about your own feelings. When you do this, you show the addicts just how severe their addiction has become.
During an intervention, the addict will argue that their life and their body is their own. This section of the intervention letter lets them know that they have affected you with their addiction.
List out specific examples of hurtful things that occurred because of their substance abuse problem. It’s important to make them understand that events hurt you and other people. This is the bottom line. A letter intervention must clearly make them understand their responsibilities.
5. Ask Your Loved One to Get Help
The reason why you’re writing an intervention letter is likely because you want the addict to get help. This is the definition of an intervention. Part of the intervention letter should include asking your loved one to get help. Ask them to accept the treatment help that you’re offering them.
An effective intervention letter should offer the substance abuser a solution. Everyone who is involved in the intervention should speak up and include their thoughts. Before you write an intervention letter, it’s a good idea to check out several drug and addiction treatment facilities. Inquire about their admissions process and whether they accept your loved one’s insurance. If you do all of the leg work, they’ll have fewer reasons to refuse to get help.
You may even want to learn the differences between an inpatient and an outpatient treatment program. Give the addict some insight on what you think that they need. You might even want to consider saving them a spot at the addiction treatment facility if possible. The key is to make getting help as simple and easy as possible.
Don’t be scared to repeat your request for getting help or remind them of the type of solutions that you’ve found several times in the letter.
6. Execute Some Tough Love
The definition of an intervention is action taken to improve a situation. It might not be pretty but if it gets your loved one into treatment, it’s worth the effort. Although executing some tough love may feel a bit unnatural, it is often a necessary part of writing a compelling intervention letter to alcoholics or drug addicts.
Executing tough love within your intervention script can be difficult. You may be worried that your words are too harsh or that you may just push them away. However, if you don’t outline the consequences of refusing help, you won’t get anywhere.
Love and compassion are necessary but you can’t let the addict think they aren’t being held accountable. Be really clear on what the consequences are in the intervention letter. For example, you may decide that you will no longer lie to their boss when he or she calls. Or, you may decide that you’re not going to offer financial support anymore if he or she doesn’t get help.
7. Things You Should Not Say In an Intervention Letter
As important as it is to know how to write a letter to an alcoholic spouse or friend, you also have to know what to avoid. You don’t want to push the person further into their addiction. You shouldn’t attack them in any way.
It may be hard to express your anger but if you don’t repress it during the intervention, it can be fatal. There are no statistics on intervention deaths but it’s possible that if the person is already depressed, they are suicidal.
Don’t place blame on the person for the way your own life has gone. This intervention is not about you, it’s about saving them.
Try not to label the individual as an addict, and try to be as compassionate as possible. It’s important to note that you should also refrain from saying anything derogatory. Don’t try to guilt trip the individual. If you have anything negative to say, make sure that you stick to the facts. The last thing that you want is for the alcohol or drug abuser to feel as if he or she is getting ganged up on. This will only cause him or her to clam up and prevent him or her from seeking help or getting the addiction treatment that’s needed.
Importance of Sending Letters to Addicts in Recovery
If you’ve ever watched the Intervention TV show, you’re probably familiar with some of the addicts on the show. You saw them suffering and feeling all sorts of scary emotions. You saw some of them overcome those challenges and make great strides in recovery.
Not all the stories were happy endings, there were Intervention deaths that occurred after the people left the show. Every little bit counts and that includes sending letters to addicts in recovery.
If a person is in outpatient treatment, you can visit them. This isn’t always the case during inpatient treatment programs. Writing a letter can do a lot for an addict overcoming their demons during recovery.
Some addicts may actually take the intervention letters with them while they seek treatment. They may reread the letters whenever they’re feeling down or whenever they want to give up. Make sure that your intervention letter is a source of motivation and encouragement and not a source of sorrow and despair.
You Can Stage an Intervention, the Rest is Up to the Addict
Intervention deaths due to overdose show that even if you try to help someone overcome addiction, it may not be possible. Addicts that were on the Intervention T.V. show had all the opportunity in the world to recover. They tried but relapsed. When it comes down to it, recovery will be successful if the addicts want it.
You only have so many tools at your disposal. One of the most powerful of those is the intervention letter. Getting your loved one to become aware of their problem is a courageous step. This is what you have control over so make it count.
If you’re interested in writing an intervention letter, try to follow the tips that we’ve mentioned above. If you need any further help, contact us and one of our addiction specialists can guide you through the process. Our experts can also provide you with some professional insight on the type of addiction treatment programs and plans that may benefit your addicted loved ones the most.
Let us help you get your message across, and give us a call today.
If you have experience writing an intervention letter, please don’t hesitate to share your experiences and stories below.