Sample Intervention Letter

Around 70 percent of families that plan an intervention based on the Johnson Model – one of the most commonly used interventions in the treatment world – fail to move forward with actually confronting their loved one, the American Psychological Association reports.

Unfortunately, many families don’t follow through with interventions, and it’s often because they weren’t fully prepared. Thus, their letters are never read.

Many times, friends and family members are the ones who motivate individuals to seek the help needed to overcome a drug or alcohol abuse issue. Many struggling with addiction don’t believe they have a problem. Around 95 percent of people who engage in substance abuse are in denial that their behavior is at all problematic, Healthy People reports. Oftentimes, an interventionist can help people to see the reality of the situation.

During an intervention, family and friends may opt to read letters they have written to the individual struggling with substance abuse. These letters may outline issues that have arisen as a result of the substance abuse and encourage the person to get help. The following is an example of an intervention letter:

Dear Mark,

I’m here today because I love you and want to see you get better. I am grateful that you are giving us the opportunity to talk to you. I know you might not believe there is a problem, but the fact is that your drug and alcohol abuse has gotten out of hand and is causing a lot of problems for our family. I’ve lent you money to pay bills that you should have been able to cover, but you keep missing work and losing jobs. As a result, I’ve struggled to pay my own bills.

Bailing you out of jail was one of the saddest events in my life. I felt for you that day and wondered what happened to the person I used to know so well. It really hurt when you missed my wedding because you passed out early from drinking all morning.

We have a great place picked out for you to seek the help you need. You can leave right now, and we can push the reset button on everything that’s happened. I hope you will come to terms with what has been said here today and accept the help we are offering. I miss you and the relationship we used to have before drugs and alcohol damaged things.

If you do seek help today, I will be there to hold your hand through this process and support you the whole way through it and beyond. However, if you still can’t see the error of your ways, I will be forced to remove myself from this situation. That means I can’t lend you money anymore, let you stay here, or carry on a relationship with you. I love you, and it would mean so much to me to see you get help.


Writing the Letter

The Fix reports interventions, when performed the right way, are successful at getting the targeted loved one into treatment 98 percent of the time. Writing an intervention letter might come easily to some people, but others really struggle with finding the right words. They don’t want to come off too harsh, especially if they aren’t going to be reading their own letters. Sometimes they just can’t convey their feelings without endless rambling. Sometimes they’re very angry, too, and this comes across in both their wording choice and tone of voice.

While it might be effortless for some people to sit down and pour out their feelings onto a piece of paper with little apprehension, others need guidance.

Here are some crucial tips to remember when writing an intervention letter:

  • Remain as unbiased as possible, and refrain from casting judgment.
  • Request that the targeted loved one seek help for the problem right away.
  • Resist the urge to place blame.
  • Recognize that addiction is a medical issue and not a matter of willpower.
  • Appeal to your loved one by focusing on something sentimental that has been damaged or destroyed because of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Avoid harsh you statements. Instead, focus on statements.
About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Greenhouse Treatment Center is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed... Read More
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