How to Write a Sample Intervention Letter

4 min read · 2 sections

It may not be obvious, but family dynamics can serve as a barrier to drug recovery treatment.

Though a family may want nothing more than for a loved one to overcome addiction, old patterns within the family dynamic can hinder that step. An intervention is a way to unite a family in the common goal of getting the loved one into treatment. The group can achieve what an individual may find too hard to do on their own – breaking the behavioral cycles that keep the addiction going and that hold everyone down in an unhealthy place. This article, through a series of questions and answers, focuses on the intervention letter. This letter is a key part of the intervention process, whether it is run by the family or a professional interventionist.

How Does an Intervention Letter Fit into an Intervention?

religion and recoveryTo best understand how an intervention letter fits into an intervention, it is necessary to have an understanding of the overall process. The television network A&E is currently in its 16th season of the show Intervention, which involves real-life professional interventionists. The show reflects the reality of many formal interventions.

First, a group of concerned individuals will plan an intervention. The person who is abusing drugs does not know about this plan. Second, the group will hold the intervention and offer the loved one treatment at a rehab center. Third, if treatment is accepted, the professional interventionist or a member of the intervention group will ensure that the person is promptly admitted to the rehab.

The intervention letter is relevant to the planning phase and the actual intervention. During the planning phase, each member of the group will write a letter that reflects their concerns and makes the offer for treatment. Each group member will read the letter to the loved one during the intervention meeting.

Tips for Writing an Intervention Letter

Author Jeff Jay also provides great guidance for writing an intervention letter. The following are some helpful tips:

  • Begin the letter with a heartfelt statement that is full of the love and concern that one truly feels.
  • Communicate gratitude to the person. For instance, if the loved one is a parent, share a memory about when they did something loving, like going to a school play.
  • Think about including a statement that reflects your understanding that substance abuse is a disease. By putting the issue into a medical context, the loved one may feel less guilty. This individual likely feels powerless in the face of the addiction, which is not a moral failing, though the person may feel this way at times. Addiction can make a great person do not such great things. But you can convey that you know the difference between who the person is and how addiction may compel them to behave.
  • Include statements of fact about the loved one’s behavior when on drugs. It’s a good idea to provide more than one specific example.
  • Remind the person of your positive feelings and concern. Then, state that the group is offering them treatment at a rehab center.
  • Ask the loved one to accept the offer of treatment.

aftercareAccording to Jay, in his experience, only about 5 percent of interventions will require an ultimatum. Some professional interventions may insist on including an ultimatum in the letter. If an ultimatum is included, it should be a clear “if … then” statement. For example, “If you do not accept treatment and enter rehab today then I am no longer going to give you any money.” It is thought that the ultimatum lets the loved one know each intervention member is serious and will no longer support or enable the addiction.

When writing your own letter, keep the goal in mind and remember that treatment can break the cycle of addiction. If you are in therapy, or start therapy, it can help to address this topic, as well as the addicted person’s impact on your life.

Focus on the positives. If you’re strong enough to provide help to your loved one, you are definitely strong enough to communicate your feelings and emphasize your support for the rehab offer.

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