If you know a loved one who is going through drug or alcohol addiction you may feel helpless. Some people turn to the emotion of anger as they realize their family member, friend, or spouse is abusing illegal substances in their free time. Some people turn to enablement and allow their loved on to continue their substance abuse in fear of losing their close relationship. Some turn to stonewalling and completely cut out the addict from their lives to prevent further damage. Some encourage the addict and tune into the addiction so they can maintain a feeling of love and intimacy with the person. No matter what a person decides to do, an addict will not stop their addiction until they are faced with the hard facts about their behavior and what consequences have been caused by it. Since talking about addiction and explaining your feelings can be hard during a face to face conversation, experts recommend writing an in depth intervention letter to communicate. Letters are great because they can be edited, rewritten, and peer reviewed before the final presentation to the addict. You’ll want to show battle proof evidence that the addict is being destructive and provide a realistic plan for them to follow so they can get treatment. Let’s walk through the best tips for writing an intervention letter so you don’t make any mistakes!
Writing An Intervention Letter
Thinking back to high school days I was always stressed about writing essays and letters for assignments. If you didn’t have concrete directions and tips from someone who did it well, you could easily find yourself at a loss for words. Some of the best methods to follow when writing an intervention letter to a loved one includes:
- Being clear and concise. Explain what your feelings are, what instances make you angry from their substance abuse, and why you believe that they need to get treatment. Get the quotes from people who are also affected by the addict and provided a clear plan for him or her to follow to get help. If your letter is all over the place, sounds too controversial or puts down the addict, your plan for them to change will backfire. We all like having straight to the point opinions and directions when we are going through a new process so make it as easy as possible for the addict to understand your words. Be honest and don’t sugarcoat things if you truly want them to stop abusing drugs or alcohol.
- Coming from a place of love. You want the addict to change and still believe that they are a good person besides the fact that they’re abusing drugs or alcohol. Make it known in your letter that you deeply care about them, their health, and their future. State that you are trying to understand their perspective and don’t want them to continue getting hurt. If you knew the person for a long time, take time to talk about some of the favorite memories you had together before they began their addiction. Thinking back to the good days may help the addict to remember your relationship and why you care so much about their wellbeing.
- Include treatment plans and a variety of choices. Make sure that the addict knows that treatment is not what the movies show anymore. There is no asylum type treatment for addicts that confines you in a room for days. Mention that there’s now group therapy that helps the addict meet a variety of people and gain emotional support. Tell them that recovery companions can be assigned to clients who want one on one interactions and personal advice about getting through tough withdrawal symptoms. Explain what natural remedies are available like art therapy, equine therapy, music therapy, and more that help people progress through their triggers. Let the addict know that all these treatment methods are meant to treat the person as a whole and doesn’t just rely on another medical prescribing that could cause other problems. The world is much more caught up on treating physical and mental addictions than it was even a decade ago.
- Signing them up beforehand. If you want to force the addict to go to an initial appointment with a treatment expert, mention the date and center that they can go to. If you make an appointment for them beforehand, the addict is less likely to have an excuse to give about being busy and fading out of thin air. They may be more encouraged to be open about what treatment options are available, talk about their struggles, and start an actual plan if you do the busy work for them. It does sound like a lot of amends to make on your end but if you truly care about them you’ll do whatever it takes to boost your chances!
- Being optimistic and encouraging. Tying back to our theme of being loving to the addict, make sure you end your letter with a sign of positivity and motivation. Talking about their world ending and saying that all will be lost throughout the entire letter will be very draining for them to read. After you talk about their addiction risks, your treatment plan, and what they need to do to get help, mention that they are strong human beings and are loved by many. Tell them that they have the power to chance and only need to stay consistent with making good decisions to get out of their addiction. Many people fall into addiction without even realizing it, so breaking that mental barrier of defeat is crucial.
Anyone who has a drug or alcohol addiction can be moved to change with the right intervention letter. If you want them to do extra research, get them to fill out an intervention quiz or do it yourself to see what the next steps are. You’ll learn a lot more about timing an intervention and how to best conduct one with an addict you know well. We all can benefit from extra knowledge in communicating with others so check out your resources!