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An intervention is a meeting between someone with an addiction and their loved ones, in which everyone present has a chance to express how the addiction has impacted their lives and provide the individual with the opportunity to seek treatment for a substance use disorder. This can be a lengthy process that involves a great deal of planning. Oftentimes, participants write a letter to the addicted individual and then read this letter aloud at the meeting. An intervention can be a highly emotional event, and having prepared comments in the form of a letter can help to maintain the focus of the event.
The goals of an intervention include explaining in detail how the individual’s substance use has impacted the lives of their loved ones, according to Mayo Clinic. Your letter should provide specific examples of how your life has been impacted, how you feel as a result, and what changes you would like to see in the person you love. It is also important to explain in detail exactly what consequences will arise if your loved one does not seek treatment; you may need to change your relationship with them or even limit future contact for your own safety and wellbeing. By explaining these results and future consequences in your intervention letter, the addicted individual will be better able to understand how substance abuse is detrimental not only to them, but to you and other loved ones.
The contents and structure of your letter may be influenced by what kind of intervention is being held. There are different models that an intervention can follow, including the Johnson Model, Motivational Interviewing, Love First, and the ARISE model, according to Psychology Today. Some interventions are more carefully structured than others. However, regardless of the model used, it is likely that you will need to prepare what you will say ahead of time. This preparation helps to accomplish the goal of the intervention and prevents sudden outbursts of anger or accusations that can be detrimental.
Dear loved one,
I came here today because I love you very much, and I can see how much you are suffering. You are such a kind, loving, intelligent person, and I am so proud of everything you have achieved over the years. You have a solid support system around you made up of friends and family, and all of us only want good things for you, which is why we are here today to talk about your substance use and urge you to get help.
Over the past year, your behavior has changed. You are using drugs more and more frequently, and it has damaged a lot of areas of your life. Your boss threatened to fire you last month after you missed work too many days in a row. You’ve even been arrested for drug possession. And last month, I felt so scared when I took you to the emergency room after an accidental overdose.
Your drug use has caused many difficulties in my life as well. When you spend hundreds of dollars on pills, I worry about making ends meet and having enough money to pay all of our expenses in the future. You got high the day of my sister’s wedding, and I had to go to the wedding alone. I wanted to enjoy the special day with you, but instead I had to leave you behind and worry about your safety while I was gone.
I miss the person you used to be, and I hope you’ll accept treatment for your drug use. I’ve researched two different treatment centers, and I hope you’ll choose to enter one today. I’m willing to drive you to the program right now if you will accept help. I’ll talk to your boss and get you the time off you need, and take care of things at home until you’re back. We’re ready to help you, as soon as you are ready to accept help.
I feel very strongly that entering treatment is necessary for you right now, and if you are unwilling to change your life, I will have to change mine. If you refuse treatment, I will open a separate bank account and prevent you from accessing my money, so you can’t spend it on drugs. I will also move into the guestroom and will not attend any public functions with you, including family gatherings. Please accept help today so that none of these things need to happen.
If you opt for treatment, you have my full support throughout the entire process. Please accept that help today.
You’ll notice that this sample letter begins on a positive note, reminding the individual how much you care about them and that you are holding the intervention out of love. The letter then moves into giving concrete examples of how the addiction has affected your loved one’s life, as well as your own. After explaining the problem, the letter then offers a solution, as well as the consequences that will happen if your loved one refuses treatment.
Carefully planning an intervention is an important step in ensuring that the meeting is successful and that steps are taken toward recovery. An intervention letter can be a powerful tool in moving toward healing for everyone involved.