16 May How to Write an Intervention Letter
If you are preparing to participate in an intervention for a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may be on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s hard to predict how your friend or family member might react to being confronted with the realities of their behaviors, and to hearing how they have caused you and others pain.
In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to come up with the right words to adequately convey your feelings. That’s why many professional interventionists suggest each participant write a letter they can read out loud at the meeting. Intervention letters can be a powerful tool in communicating how the addict’s actions have affected your life. You can also use the letter as a script to follow, which prevents you from becoming overwhelmed when it’s your turn to speak.
Four Steps to Writing Your Intervention Letter
There’s no one-size-fits-all way to write an intervention letter. Before you start writing, it can be helpful to organize your thoughts into a loose outline. As you are coming up with a list of things you want to include, it’s essential to have empathy for your addicted loved one. While their self-sabotaging tendencies may have disrupted your life, don’t forget they are in pain, too. With that in mind, remember that the goal of an intervention letter is to enable you to express your feelings – both positive and negative – as long as you do so in a non-confrontational way.
One thing you can do is to ask others who will be at the intervention to review your letter. A fresh pair of eyes might be able to pick out statements that seem as if you are blaming or shaming the addict. Any phrasing that suggests they are at fault for their addiction or that they haven’t done enough to help themselves can be hurtful. It’s also best to avoid empty phrases in favor of speaking directly from your heart.
There are four steps you can take to write the most effective intervention letter and get your message across loud and clear.
- Begin by expressing, with compassion, how much your loved one means to you.
- Next, bring up a specific example of a time when their drug or alcohol use negatively impacted you.
- Assure your loved one you understand addiction is a brain disease, and reiterate your concern and love.
- Urge them to get the help they need; outline the consequences they will face if they do not seek treatment.
A Message of Hope
It’s entirely possible the intervention letter you read aloud to your loved one will be the most impactful thing you ever write. Many people who have gotten clean and sober say their motivation to do so came from the day their family and friends gave them a wake-up call.
Everyone deserves a second chance at health and happiness. If you need help planning an intervention, contact our team at Intervention 911. We are nationally accredited, and have a high success rate with getting individuals living with addiction to seek help for their illness.